Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry Handbook
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“There are different gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord.” 1 Cor. 12:4
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry presents this handbook to the women and men in the Diocese of San Diego who have so generously answered the call to serve as leaders in the ministries of evangelization and catechesis. In our diocese, we have been blessed with a virtual “ministry explosion” as increasing numbers of persons accept the call to lead and serve in lay ecclesial ministry as Directors of Catechetical Ministry and Coordinators of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Evangelization, Adult Faith Formation, Small Church Communities, Youth Ministry, Preschool, Special Religious Education, Infant Baptism, Sacraments, Children’s Initiation, etc. It is our hope that this handbook will be a useful tool and resource to these leaders as they carry out their respective ministries.
The chapters of the handbook are divided and tabbed for quick reference. The posting of this handbook on our webpage allows for easy access and ease in updating. When pages are updated, an indicator will be placed on the handbook link to advise which items have been updated. A click on a heading in the table of contents will bring the reader directly to that page. Pages also contain links to policies, guidelines and practical helps.
The handbook has been revised to be consistent with the National Directory for Catechesis, published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2005.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The early Church clearly understood that this missionary mandate of Jesus Christ gave the Church its reason for being. The Holy Spirit propelled those who knew Jesus to go out, to teach, to preach, to baptize, to make disciples; in short, to spread the Good News of Salvation to the ends of the known world.
The Church, today, continues to respond to this missionary call given in Matthew 28 and has reconfirmed, in many recent Church documents, that evangelization is the very heart of the Church’s mission.
“The task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize” (EN, 14).
Evangelization is not the task of a few persons, called to a specific ministry of evangelization; it is the responsibility of the whole Church. The Second Vatican Council clearly states that
“…the whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of the People of God” (AGD, 35).
Evangelization is not another subject to be taught, committee or office to be established, or program to be designed. Evangelization is a dynamic reality. It is a
“process by which the Church, moved by the Spirit, proclaims and spreads the Gospel throughout the entire world” (GDC, 48)
Evangelization is not AN agenda item for every parish; evangelization is THE agenda. An evangelizing spirit needs to be integrated into the life and ministry of each believer and into the vision and direction of every parish community.
In 1992, in an effort to make American Catholics aware of the need for evangelization and their responsibility in the process of evangelization, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Go and Make Disciples, a National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States. The goals for Evangelization as set out in this National Plan are:
Go and Make Disciples proceeds to outline several objectives and suggested strategies for meeting each goal. Many dioceses and parishes use this document as a tool to determine how the Bishops’ goals for Evangelization can be integrated in the lives of Catholic Christians. Parishes implementing the goals of this document will form disciples who will, in turn, go out and make more disciples.
In the Diocese of San Diego, parishes are challenged, in policy form, [See Policy 400 and Policy 402] to promote a process of evangelization which is sensitive to persons of various cultures, races, language groups, ages, abilities and disabilities. For example, when there is a significant Hispanic community present in the parish, programs in English and in Spanish should be provided. Parishes are encouraged to review each aspect of parish life and ministry through the “lens of evangelization.” It is highly recommended that parish leadership study Go and Make Disciples and determine how an evangelizing spirit can be integrated into all parish activities so that the goals of this important document can be achieved. [See Practical Help 19: Evangelizing Parish] It is not necessary for parishes to create a myriad of new programs, but rather to see how each liturgy, each program, each gathering can become more of a “moment” for evangelization. A study of the document provides an opportunity to review how even a seemingly insignificant event such as a phone call, an appointment, or a parent registering a child for a sacrament, can become an “evangelizing moment.”
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry provides resources, leadership inservices, periodic workshops and training sessions to assist parishes in becoming evangelizing communities. Representatives of parish evangelizing ministries are invited to be members of the Commission for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry, advising the OECM Staff on ways to integrate evangelization into policies and programs and strengthen the commitment to evangelize.
While the evangelizing spirit is evident in many persons, programs and parishes, we are still far from having our parish communities filled with the enthusiastic evangelists called for in Go and Make Disciples. In the Foreword to the Tenth Anniversary Edition of this document, it is noted that while we have made some strides in evangelization,
“we are still only beginning to implement [the plan] in our parishes and dioceses” (GMD, 2002, ix).
When the General Directory for Catechesis was promulgated in 1997, it formed a cohesive unity with On Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi), the apostolic exhortation on evangelization issued by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and On Catechesis in Our Time (Catechesi Tradendae), the apostolic exhortation on catechesis issued by Pope John Paul II in 1979. The General Directory, a document for the entire Church, fully situates catechesis within the context of evangelization and notes that catechesis is an “essential moment” in evangelization. The Directory states that catechesis
“receives from evangelization a missionary dynamic which deeply enriches it and defines its own identity. The ministry of catechesis appears…as a fundamental ecclesial service for the realization of the missionary mandate of Jesus” (GDC, 59).
The General Directory for Catechesis begins with the
“Parable of the Sower” (Mark 4:3-8)
, which it calls the “inspiration” for evangelization. The Sower, casting seeds with broad strokes, sows the seed allowing it to fall where it will. All of the seeds do not yield results, but some of them produce abundant results. The seeds of faith today need to be sown no less broadly. The General Directory states three specific situations in which the seeds of the Gospel need to be planted:
Following the publication of the General Directory, each Conference of Bishops was invited to prepare a directory which would be based on the General Directory and be sensitive to the needs and cultural makeup of their own countries. In 2005, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published the National Directory for Catechesis (NDC). This document, intended to be a “source of inspiration for catechesis” (NDC, p. 17), has three basic purposes:
This important resource for the American Church provides vision and direction for catechesis and places great emphasis on the importance of the outward orientation of the Church. It reinforces the dynamic nature of the evangelizing mission of the Church, noting that the mission entrusted to the Church by Christ is “urgent, determined, and led by the Holy Spirit” (NDC, p. 3).
Catechesis, as an essential moment in evangelization, shares in the central characteristics of evangelization, but expresses them in a particular manner. The intent of catechesis is to make a person’s faith become “living, conscious and active through the light of instruction” (AGD, 14). Our National Directory, quoting Catechesi Tradendae makes it clear that all our evangelizing, catechizing activity has one object or “definitive” aim—“to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (CT, 5; NDC p. 55).
Catechesis must form informed disciples (GDC, 56) in a systematic way to carry out the Church’s missionary call to transform the world. For the disciple, faith must be “known, celebrated, lived and expressed in prayer” (NDC, p. 60). Catechesis carries out six fundamental tasks and “all efforts in evangelization and catechesis should incorporate these tasks” (NDC, p. 60):
Catechesis strives to lead all persons to a deep and mature faith. In Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, a Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States, the Bishops note that “maturity of faith is the intent of all catechesis from the earliest years” (OHWB, p. 13). Adult formation is the “principal form of catechesis because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form” (CT, 43). While the Bishops emphasize that they in no way wish to weaken the commitment to catechetical formation for children, they also make it abundantly clear that adult faith formation is a priority and that “catechesis needs to give more attention to adults than it has been accustomed to do” (OHWB, p. 14). This priority of adult formation is reinforced in the National Directory when it notes that “the catechetical formation of adults is essential for the Church to carry out the commission given the apostles by Christ” (NDC, p. 187) and that formation needs to be addressed to adults in “different stages in the development of their faith” (NDC, p. 187). The Directory also delineates the goals, tasks, content and methodology for adult catechesis (see NDC, pp. 188-193).
Parish leaders are challenged to view catechesis as a lifelong task beginning at birth and extending throughout the entire life cycle.
“…It means calling and equipping all Christians of every age and stage of life to fulfill their baptismal call to holiness in family, Church, and society—their mission is to evangelize and transform the world into a more caring and just society. Ongoing faith formation is essential to accomplish this mission; it does not end at Confirmation or Graduation but continues until one’s death” (OHWB, p. 14).
Catechesis for all levels and for all ages is a continuous process of being formed and informed by the Word of God, by the sacramental life of the Church, by the Church’s rich tradition and by the Catholic value system. It is “an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted…in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life” (CCC, 5).
In Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, the Bishops pledged their support for adult faith formation and promised a “renewed commitment to adult faith formation, positioning it at the heart of …catechetical vision and practice” (OHWB, 2). Parishes in the Diocese of San Diego are encouraged to use this important document as a tool to examine their own “vision and practice” in terms of catechetical formation and to determine if adult formation is at the heart of their formational efforts. The goals for adult faith formation, as put forth in this document, do not mean that parishes necessarily need to initiate many new programs. The document encourages parishes to examine existing programs to determine how their programs meet the goals for adult formation to:
Many parishes in the diocese have programs of sustained Scripture study, in-depth adult formation classes on specific topics, seasonal offerings during Advent and Lent, parish missions and retreats. Several parishes are strengthening their “womb to tomb” approach to catechesis using an assembly model which brings together the whole community for catechesis. It is the responsibility of each parish to provide for the formation of their parishioners. This is affirmed in Canon Law (CCL, 773, 776, 777) and Diocesan Policy. [See Policy 200]
In addition, some parishes in the diocese have responded to the challenge of providing systematic formation for adults by forming small church communities which provide adult parishioners with an ongoing opportunity to pray, to study Scripture and apply the Sunday readings, to deepen their commitment to Christ and to carry out their discipleship through service and apostolic ministries. These groups of approximately eight to twelve persons build families of faith which provide a sense of community and an opportunity for ongoing conversion. Diocesan policy affirms the development of these small communities [See Policy 402], but cautions that these groups should not become isolated or self-serving and must remain in union with the local and universal Church.
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry (OECM) assists parishes in providing adult faith formation for their parishes by providing courses, workshops, inservices and resources for parish leadership on topics pertinent to adult faith formation; by offering periodic study days on documents which affect adult faith formation; and by providing consultation to develop adult faith formation programs. When OECM programs are developed, the goals for adult catechesis— “a living faith, an explicit faith, a fruitful faith” (OHWB, pp. 16-20)—provide a vision and structure. OECM courses and workshops use current adult learning techniques and take into consideration the various learning styles and needs of adults. [See OECM Website for current Staff Listing]
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry also provides an extensive Video/DVD Library for use in adult faith formation programs. A catalog of Video/DVD acquisitions is available on the OECM Website. [See OECM Website for Media Catalog/ Policies] Materials can be reserved by email, by fax, or by phone. Representatives of adult faith formation ministries are members of the Commission for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and advise the office on matters pertaining to adult faith formation. While the OECM does not maintain a “speakers list” of persons who provide adult faith formation, the staff will work individually with parishes to suggest speakers for specific topics or needs.
In addition to the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry, many other diocesan offices offer opportunities for adult ministers to grow in the understanding of their respective ministries through regular training programs, in-services and courses. The San Diego Diocesan Institute provides theology formation for adults seeking diocesan certification for ministry, enrichment of their faith life and continuing education in theology and pastoral ministry. Visit the Diocesan Website for information regarding program offerings and certificates. [See Guideline 5: San Diego Diocesan Institute Programs]
“The gift you have received, give as a gift” – (Matthew 10:8)
Since the Second Vatican Council there has been a remarkable increase in the number of people who exercise ministry in the Catholic Church. In 1995, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reflecting on the thirtieth anniversary of the “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity” issued “Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium.” This document affirmed the gifts of the laity and used the term “lay ecclesial minister” to describe laypersons who hold positions of pastoral leadership in Church. Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, a resource prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to guide the development of lay ecclesial ministry, notes that they are not trying to establish “a new rank or order among the laity” but that the term is “generic” and “meant to encompass several possible roles” (CW, p. 11). Some possibilities are the parish pastoral associate, the parish catechetical leader, the youth ministry leader, the school principal and the director of liturgy. The term “lay ecclesial minister” does however reflect certain “key realities:”
Lay ecclesial ministry in our country continues to grow and flourish. In 2005, there were close to 31,000 lay ecclesial ministers who held paid positions in parishes and nearly half of those ministers work in catechetical ministry (See CW, p. 13).
According to Canon Law, “the Christian faithful, since they are called by baptism to lead a life in conformity with the teaching of the gospel, have the right to a Christian education by which they will be properly instructed so as to develop the maturity of a human person and at the same time come to know and live the mystery of salvation” (CCL, 217). In 1990, the International Council on Catechesis reaffirmed and augmented this Canon noting “all Christians…have a right and an obligation to be catechized” (ACCC, 21). The National Directory for Catechesis notes that “the parish organizes its catechetical priorities to ensure that all segments of the parish have a realistic opportunity to grow in their understanding and practice of the Catholic faith. A comprehensive parish-based catechesis harmonizes the catechesis of adults, families, parents, youth, children in the parish catechetical program and Catholic school, children in the parish baptismal catechumenate, and small Christian communities” (NDC, p. 256).
Diocesan Policy asserts that it is the responsibility of every parish to provide for the catechetical formation of its parishioners—adults, young people and children, including persons of particular ethnic or cultural groups and persons with disabilities. [See Policy 100, Policy 200, Policy 220] This formation should be systematic and formal and should be of sufficient length to ensure effective faith and sacramental formation. It is also the responsibility of the parish to engage sufficiently trained ministers, compensated and/or non-compensated, to meet the catechetical needs of the parish. Parishes with three hundred or more families should hire a qualified Director of Catechetical Ministry (DCM) and in parishes of five hundred or more families, the Director of Catechetical Ministry should be a full time employee.
In the Diocese of San Diego, the parish Director of Catechetical Ministry (DCM) is the professional staff person who, under the supervision of the pastor, ensures the catechetical formation of the total parish community. This lay ecclesial minister strives to fulfill the goals and tasks of catechesis by leading persons to mature faith within the context of the faith community. The National Directory for Catechesis notes that the “single most critical factor in an effective parish catechetical program is the leadership of a professionally trained parish catechetical leader” (NDC, p. 224). While there are various job descriptions for this catechetical leader, the main responsibilities include the overall direction of the parish catechetical program and implementation of policy.
In naming a Director of Catechetical Ministry, a parish community entrusts a person who possesses the necessary gifts, qualities and competencies with responsibility for the development, coordination, administration, and evaluation of various programs in order to meet the catechetical needs of the parish community. The DCM ensures the development of catechetical programs which assist various age groups, cultural groups and those with special needs in the continuous process of being formed and informed by the Word of God, the sacramental life of the Church, the Church’s rich tradition and Catholic moral teaching.
The focus of the work of the Director of Catechetical Ministry goes well beyond the formation of children and the coordination of the elementary catechetical programs. The DCM views adult formation as a priority in the parish community since “adults have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form” (CT, 43). She or he understands that effective adult formation will assist the Church in fulfilling its mission to evangelize and that “every Church ministry will be energized through a dynamic ministry of adult catechesis” (OHWB, p. 13).
The role of the DCM should be clearly outlined in a job description. [See Guideline 1 and Guideline 2: Sample Job Descriptions] “A job description that sufficiently details the responsibilities of the position and can be used in both performance evaluations and decisions about continuing employment/assignment is essential” (Department of Education, p. 42). The National Directory notes that “…pastors who employ parish catechetical leaders should formulate a clear and specific agreement with them that lists the responsibilities of the position and elements of equitable compensation. Parish catechetical leaders should be full members of the parish pastoral staff and attend all its meetings” (NDC, p. 225).
The Director of Catechetical Ministry needs a clear sense of her/his ministry. The function of the DCM is to ensure that the catechetical needs of the parish are met. The DCM is not all things to all people. She/He is not a counselor, spiritual director, priest, prayer group leader, maintenance person or secretary. While ministries may overlap and intertwine, if the DCM does not understand her/his primary function and responsibility, the catechetical work of the DCM will be diluted. If the DCM loses sight of the specifically catechetical nature and purpose of her/his ministry, the ministry may become so diffused and so demanding that dissatisfaction, frustration and burnout may be experienced. The chief focus of the DCM’s ministry is the intentional, systematic formation of informed disciples (See GDC, p. 56).
This task is therefore primarily catechetical, educational, formational—understood in the widest and most contemporary interpretation of these words. In this light, the [DCM’s] service in the Ministry of the Word in the Church is very direct and explicit. He/She occasionally may be called upon to engage in allied activities (e.g. liturgical celebration, social ministry) but the focus of his/her service is catechetical—oriented toward the strengthening of the content of the faith in a mature manner adapted to the needs and stages of development of individuals and the local community.
There are other legitimate pastoral roles in the local community to which men and women are called. The service of a parish total catechetical program, however, is so vital and so demanding that it is important that roles and functions not be confused and that those who seek a position as [Director of Catechetical Ministry] do so with full commitment to their important and specifically catechetical task (NCEA, 10).
In ensuring that the catechetical needs of the parish are met, the DCM may collaborate with other staff persons or coordinators who are responsible for given areas of evangelization and catechetical ministry, such as the RCIA Coordinator, the Evangelization Coordinator, the Adult Faith Formation Coordinator, the Hispanic Coordinator, the Preschool Coordinator, the Special Religious Education Coordinator, etc. The size of the parish community, the number of programs which the parish provides, the cultural and ethnic makeup of the parish, the age distribution, the competencies and experience of the leadership, and the financial situation of the parish are just some of the factors which are considered in structuring the parish catechetical and evangelization ministry.
In addition, the DCM also works closely with other professional staff persons of the parish community, such as the clergy, the Coordinator of Youth Ministry, the School Principal, the Director of Liturgy, etc. to provide effective programming. Collaboration is key. “…The Church’s pastoral ministry can be more effective if ministers become true collaborators, mindful of their weaknesses, but grateful for their gifts. Collaboration challenges ministers to understand that “we are, in reality, joined in Christ’s body, that we are not separate but interdependent” (CG, p. 24).
The Catechetical or Evangelization leader strives for delicate balance as both minister and professional: “a call to ministry and being a professional are not incompatible. The former puts the emphasis on service, the latter on competence and skills” (NCEA, p. 7). As a catechist, the minister receives and responds “to an interior call, the voice of the Holy Spirit” (NDC, p. 228). The General Directory for Catechesis notes that the call to the ministry of catechesis “springs from the sacrament of Baptism” and that “the Church awakens and discerns this divine vocation and confers the mission to catechize” (GDC, 231). The catechetical leader is sent with “a mission or a purpose to be for others, to hear the call of one’s faith so penetratingly that the natural response is to be for others, enabling that same faith to happen over and over again” (LL:19, 243). The Catechetical or Evangelization minister is a professional by virtue of training, expertise and experience in ministry. They are well-formed, skilled and competent to complete their work.
The leader who discerns a call to minister in evangelization and catechesis must be both a model and a witness. “Only fully initiated, practicing Catholics who fully adhere to the Church’s teaching in faith and morals and who are models of Christian virtue and courageous witness to the Catholic faith should be designated as parish catechetical leaders” (NDC, p. 225). As a person intimately involved in the evangelizing, catechizing mission of the Church, the minister must first and foremost be a person whose life is centered on Jesus Christ—a person compelled to share the message of Jesus in word and action. In addition to the dispositions mentioned above, the leader possesses certain personal qualities and catechetical and administrative competencies. [See also Guideline 3: Core Competencies]
In short, catechetical or evangelization leaders have responded to the call to discipleship and freely share the gift of faith, taking to heart the Gospel imperative “the gift you have received, give as a gift” (Matthew 10:7-8). They are patient and understanding, gently leading and inviting persons to grow toward mature faith, yet fully aware that the gift may not be accepted, or that they may not see the fruits of their labor. With a spirit of true humility, these leaders realize that they are the Lord’s instruments and have a healthy appreciation of their own limitations. As persons of mature faith, catechetical and evangelization leaders are open to change yet hold deep Christian convictions. The Church calls forth leaders who are “deeply committed to the fullness of the Christian proclamation in the Roman Catholic tradition, and who are at the same time committed to the process of change” (Department of Education, p. 3).
The catechetical activity of the Church is a “prime aspect of [the Church’s] mission” (CT, 15). The catechetical leader has a firm grasp on the teachings of the Church as put forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, applicable ecclesial documents and pastoral letters. The DCM understands that “at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus…” (CCC, 426; CT, 5). She or he is able to articulate and promote a vision for catechesis which is Christocentric and Trinitarian (See GDC 82).
Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one’s own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that he communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that he is….Whatever be the level of his [or her] responsibility in the Church, every catechist must constantly endeavor to transmit by his [or her] teaching and behavior the teaching and life of Jesus (CT, 6).
Since the work of evangelization and catechesis is person-centered, the catechetical or evangelization leader must be able to relate well and work effectively with others. She or he holds a healthy respect for individual growth and differences, is aware of individual and community needs and is capable of adapting to various situations. The leader is sensitive to differing personality types, a variety of leadership styles and varying views of Church and ministry. She or he is skilled in communication techniques and the dynamics of working with various ages and groups. The effective leader can creatively dwell within tension, bringing a sense of balance which prizes unity and appreciates diversity.
Organizational ability is a definite requirement for all catechetical and evangelization leaders, but especially for the Director of Catechetical Ministry. The ability to successfully manage an office, schedule activities, plan and carry out programming, conduct meetings, prepare budgets, and keep adequate records are necessary competencies. A well-organized leader ensures the optimum use of time, money, materials, space and personnel. [See Practical Helps 3-5: Scheduling and Planning]
Organization, however, does not imply rigidity. Well-organized procedures and programs will free the catechetical or evangelization leader to tend to the inevitable “unplanned for” events that creep into the daily routine. The leader must be gracious and approachable, with a spirit of hospitality and invitation which welcomes people. The catechetical or evangelization minister understands that numerous persons whom one encounters, the phone calls and emails, and the written communications to which she or he must attend each day are not interruptions in one’s planned events but rather are opportunities for evangelization and ministry. The attentive leader is aware that she or he is often a person’s initial contact with the Church when they inquire about neglected sacramental preparation for their children, or how to become “Catholic” or how to “come back” to the Church.
The recruitment, formation and empowerment of numerous persons necessary for various programs are key responsibilities of the catechetical or evangelization leader. The leader should possess a dynamism and spirit which invites, encourages and motivates others. All of the catechetical and evangelization leadership of a parish should view recruitment and empowerment of persons as a major task, always seeking to put the correct person, with the corresponding gifts, in the correct position. While the DCM may have major responsibility for recruiting catechists, and the RCIA Coordinator may have major responsibility for recruiting team members and sponsors and the Evangelization Coordinator may have major responsibility for home visitors, all catechetical and evangelization leadership should consistently seek out people who can serve in any of the ministries of the parish. The effective leader cultivates the skill needed to work with other professional staff persons, volunteers, parents, parish boards and other members of the parish community. [See Practical Helps 1-2: Recruiting for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and Nurturing Those who Serve]
These qualities and competencies provide both an ideal and a challenge to the leader. It is unlikely that any one person embodies all the qualities and competencies, but the effective minister strives for the ideal with a constant awareness of the need for on-going growth and continued conversion and commitment.
The National Directory for Catechesis notes that “preparation for service as a parish catechetical leader should include advanced studies in theology, Scripture, Liturgy, catechesis and catechetical methodology, educational psychology and theory, and administration, as well as practical catechetical experience with adults, youth, and children” (NDC p. 225). This background will provide the DCM with the theological and catechetical expertise necessary to fulfill the requirements of the position.
In the Diocese of San Diego, it is highly desirable that the professional Director of Catechetical Ministry hold a Masters Degree in the area of Religious Education, Theology or Catechetics. It is strongly recommended that the person who does not hold a degree and wishes to minister as a DCM or Program Coordinator in evangelization or catechetical ministry deepen and complete their theological formation by obtaining a Certificate in Catechetical Ministry offered by the San Diego Diocesan Institute. [See Guideline 4: Recommended Qualifications and Guideline 6: Job Classifications] It is commendable that many parishes offer financial support to their ministers who are completing their formation.
While academic degrees are highly valued, it must also be noted that the experience which one brings to his or her position is of great importance. All Directors of Catechetical Ministry should have successful experience in catechetical programming and experience in teaching religion at various levels. Program Coordinators should have experience in their area of ministry, such as RCIA, Special Religious Education, Adult Faith Formation, etc. All catechetical and evangelization leadership should have experience in working with adults and be sensitive to the various people and cultures that comprise the Church of San Diego.
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry accepts resumes of persons seeking positions as a DCM or Program Coordinator and will forward resumes to pastors seeking to employ ministers. Pastors interview candidates and hire the person best suited to the needs of the parish community. Compensated leadership are parish employees. The parishes of the Diocese are Equal Opportunity Employers and do not unlawfully discriminate.
All new personnel (compensated and non-compensated) receive and understand the Diocesan Policies on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Abuse by Church Ministers, and Safe Environment Programs and agree to comply with these policies. All adults who work with children or young people on a regular basis are screened and acknowledge in writing that they understand and will abide by the Diocesan Code of Ethical Standards for Church Ministers.
While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, she recognizes that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes…Those who serve the Church by their labor, including priests and religious, should receive a sufficient livelihood and enjoy that social security which is customary in their region. Lay people should be given fair wages and a system for promotion (JW, section III).
The ministry of the Director of Catechetical Ministry provides the parish community with a much needed service in order for the parish community to effectively and systematically fulfill its teaching mission. The question of adequate salary and benefits for the DCM is one which presents concern on the part of both the parish community and the DCM. The Director of Catechetical Ministry has a right to expect a living wage. The National Directory for Catechesis notes that “depending on the size and scope of the parish catechetical program, parishes should allocate their resources so that they are able to acquire the services of a competent and qualified catechetical leader (or someone in the process of becoming qualified and competent) or to share those services with another parish” (NDC, p. 224). The parish may need to examine its priorities in order to provide a just salary for the DCM. “It may be that some individual [DCM’s], in addition to their gift of catechesis, have a special charism of poverty; but it is wrong for clergy and parishioners—especially those who themselves have relative financial security—to demand extraordinary sacrifices of the [DCM]” (NCEA, 54).
In order to assist parishes in determining an appropriate salary for the DCM or other Program Coordinators, the Diocese of San Diego, Office for Human Resources provides sample job classifications and pay ranges for parish-based positions in the Diocese. [See Guideline 6: Job Classifications]
In addition to salary and benefits, the parish should provide the Director of Catechetical Ministry with appropriate office space and adequate secretarial assistance in order to carry out her/his ministry.
… The Church is bidden by God and by events—each of them a call from him—to renew her trust in catechetical activity as a prime aspect of her mission. She is bidden to offer catechesis her best resources in people and energy, without sparing effort, toil or material means, in order to organize it better and to train qualified personnel. This is no mere human calculation; it is an attitude of faith. And an attitude of faith always has reference to the faithfulness of God, who never fails to respond (CT, 15).
The leader is accountable for her/his work and views giving responsible account of time, program, personnel, budget, successes and failures, not as a lack of trust, but rather as a means of assuring the parish community that the catechetical and evangelization needs are being met in the best possible manner. The Director of Catechetical Ministry or Program Coordinator, whether compensated or non-compensated, is accountable for his or her work and welcomes evaluation. The parish community has a right to expect and be assured that a competent job is being accomplished.
Regular reports of programs, statistics and finances should be considered routine. The maintenance of adequate records of students, catechists, personnel, programs, income and expenditures, etc. is normative. [See Policy 240] Catechetical and Evangelization leadership understand that money, materials and space belong to the parish community and they have a responsibility to be accountable and use these parish resources wisely. [See Practical Helps 11-12: Budget Preparation]
In addition to regular reports to the pastor, pastoral council and parish community, the leader should conduct periodic self-evaluations and on-going evaluation of programs. The pastor or immediate supervisor of the DCM should conduct periodic appraisals of the DCM; DCM’s should conduct periodic appraisals of those under their supervision. The performance appraisal should be based on the job description. It should include identification of strengths and weaknesses of the leader and realistic goals and objectives for future improvement. If open communication, regular reporting and on-going program evaluation is occurring, the performance appraisal should not be overly time-consuming, threatening or traumatic. [See Guideline 8: Sample Evaluation Form]
Upon assuming responsibilities at the parish, the new catechetical or evangelization leader should contact the Diocesan Director for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. New leaders are asked to complete a Leadership Profile and are also encouraged to attend orientation meetings for new personnel and initiatory interviews, if they desire. It is suggested that the leader forward a copy of her/his job description to the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry when it is agreed upon with the Pastor.
The Diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry maintains a personnel file on each DCM and Program Coordinator who submits a profile. All Catechetical and Evangelization leaders are invited and encouraged to attend leadership inservices and other programs designed for their specific ministry and to keep in close contact with the Diocesan Office to maintain open communication and foster a spirit of collaboration.
The Catechetical or Evangelization leader is aware of the need for continual growth and learning. In the Diocese of San Diego, opportunities for professional growth are offered on an on-going basis. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry provides regular inservice days for Catechetical and Evangelization Leaders which enhance their ministry. The varied program offers workshops, lectures and roundtables in the areas of theology, catechetics, sacraments, evangelization, administration and spiritual growth. An orientation program for new DCM’s and Program Coordinators is scheduled yearly in the fall. The office offers an Advent morning of reflection and end-of-year retreat.
The Diocesan Office sponsors conferences, workshops and renewal days given by persons of national or local prominence, providing opportunities for growth in knowledge and expertise in specific areas. Program offerings are listed in the Program Brochure issued at the beginning of each year, on the diocesan website, in the diocesan newspaper and in periodic mailings. The San Diego Diocesan Institute provides courses in the areas of theology, scripture, liturgy and ministry. Other diocesan offices also provide workshops and courses in their areas of responsibility.
The National Directory notes that these catechetical leaders should not simply be viewed as administrators. “The need for systematic training and study should not be minimized. They are catechists first. They should continue their personal, spiritual, and professional development and participate in diocesan programs of inservice, training and formation, catechetical institutes, conventions, retreats and accredited programs” (NDC, p. 226). Attendance at these events should be considered a normal part of the work schedule for the catechetical or evangelization leader and should be negotiated with the pastor and included in the job description.
It is recommended that DCM’s and Coordinators keep a record of the renewal and professional growth activities which they have completed. The Office will maintain a current file on each DCM, but it is the responsibility of the DCM to inform the Office of completed renewal hours. Forms for this purpose are sent to DCM’s and Coordinators in the spring of each year.
Taking into account all that has been said, it is easy to understand why many Church leaders are candidates for stress, exhaustion or burnout. The catechetical or evangelization leader will strive to achieve the delicate balance of burning with zeal and enthusiasm without burning out. Certainly prayer, spiritual direction, discernment, and support of others involved in the ministry of catechesis will provide strength to meet the many challenges. Use of allotted vacation benefit will provide refreshment and renewal each year.
Catechetical and evangelization leadership will need to eliminate certain stress causing behaviors, such as the tendency to over plan each day, the inability to relax without feeling guilty, the compulsion to overwork, impatience with interruptions, or the tendency to think about all the projects one is involved in at the same time. Stress is not necessarily bad, but the effective leader learns how to deal with stress creatively. Leaders will need to discern which stresses actually energize and allow them to perform optimally, and which stresses make them “stressed out.”
[See Practical Help 13: Stress and Burnout]
The leader can be easily overwhelmed and caught in a dichotomy familiar to all Church ministers—the better the person is in the ministry, the more people will be drawn to the leader and the easier it is to be consumed in the process. The minister wants to touch as many people as possible and yet must remain in personal, physical and spiritual health so that she/he has something to offer. It is important for Catechetical and Evangelization leaders to know themselves, to set attainable goals and to use common sense in planning programs and activities.
Professional counseling service is available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to employees and their family members who are experiencing problems of a personal nature.
DCM’s, Program Coordinators and other employees of parishes within the Diocese of San Diego, and any members of their family living in their households, are eligible to use the EAP counseling services free of charge (up to eight sessions per year) and in complete confidentiality. To make an appointment, call the EAP directly at 1-800-342-8111. [See Guideline 9: Employee Assistance Program]
In accord with our respect for the dignity of each individual, the Diocese of San Diego maintains a strict policy prohibiting harassment in any form, including sexual harassment. Harassment is any form of conduct that is not welcome, is personally offensive, and undermines the integrity of employment and professional relationships. The Church takes particular offense to this type of behavior.
Any employee who is found to harass or to discriminate against another employee on any unlawful or inappropriate basis will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
The diocese encourages individuals who believe they are being harassed to promptly notify the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome. However, if this is either ineffective in stopping the behavior or, for whatever reason, employees are not comfortable with this direct communication, they should immediately contact their supervisor. If the supervisor is the source of the prohibited harassment, or is unwilling or unable to assist the employee, the matter should be reported to the Office for Human Resources as soon as possible.
The Diocese of San Diego has implemented a formal Policy on Sexual Misconduct which provides reporting requirements and procedures for the investigation and remedy of harassment incidents. If a person believes that they have been the object of sexual misconduct, or have witnessed such behavior, they should notify their immediate supervisor or the Director of Human Resources, Diocese of San Diego. Any such notification will be kept confidential. [See Diocesan Personnel Policies: Harassment ]
In accordance with civil law and within the context of the social teaching of the Church, absent individual employment contracts, personnel are employed for an indefinite period and are subject to termination at any time, for any legal reason, with or without cause or notice. [See Guideline 10: Code of Conduct] In like manner, employees may terminate their employment at any time for any reason.
When employees are contemplating termination of their employment, it is recommended that ample notice be given so that catechetical and evangelization programming will not suffer and appropriate replacements can be found. It is good practice to give as much notice as possible, but at least two weeks notice is recommended.
When employment is terminated, all records of students and personnel are the property of the parish. [See Policy 240]
“Let us make it our aim to work for peace and to strengthen one another” – (Romans 14:19)
The call to evangelize and to catechize is not the work of one parish leader, but is rather a collaborative effort calling for a partnership between the diocese, clergy, catechetical and evangelization leadership and the entire parish community. “All members of the community of believers in Jesus Christ participate in the Church’s catechetical mission” (NDC, p. 217). Because ministry by its very nature is relational, the catechetical or evangelization leader is one for whom mutuality is key. “The Church is the communion of those called by Christ to be his disciples. Discipleship is the fundamental vocation in which the Church’s mission and ministry find full meaning” (CW, p. 19). There can be no “lone rangers” when it comes to ecclesial ministry. The leader must foster relationships with others in parish ministry, with members of the parish community and with those beyond parish boundaries in the deanery, the diocese, the larger Church. The relationship which the leader fosters with each person she/he encounters can easily help or hinder the mission. The often quoted statement “the medium is the message” rings true.
As lay ecclesial ministers, certain key relationships must be understood, cultivated and maintained by the Director of Catechetical Ministry as well as other evangelization and catechetical leadership.
The proclamation and transmission of the Gospel have priority in the ministry of every Bishop: “by the power of the Holy Spirit, ‘bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers” (CD, no. 2 quoted in NDC, p. 219). While catechesis is the “responsibility of the entire Christian community” and every Christian has a “duty to bear witness to the faith” (see NDC, p. 218), bishops are, beyond all others, “the ones primarily responsible for catechesis, the catechists par excellence” (CT, 63). The bishop has a specific responsibility for “the transmission of the Faith in the particular Church entrusted to him” (NDC, p. 218). [See Guideline 27: Handing on the Faith] In his role as chief catechist of the diocese, the Bishop assumes the overall direction of evangelization and catechesis in his diocese and establishes structures for the design and implementation of programs of catechesis and evangelization which hand on the faith in a systematic and authentic fashion. According to the National Directory, the Bishop
The bishop is assisted in the ministry of catechesis by priests, deacons, religious, lay ecclesial ministers, parents, catechists and teachers.
Bishop Robert H. Brom is the chief catechist in the Diocese of San Diego and notes in “Unity in Communion and Mission, the General Plan for the Diocese of San Diego:”
We are called to COMMUNION and sent on MISSION. As a prophetic people, we are called to COMMUNION in the truth and sent to teach. We are called to be faithful and to hand on the faith, to know Christ and to make him known, to be obedient to the truth by knowing and handing on the teaching of Christ and the Church. This requires collaboration in ministries of the Word: evangelization and catechesis….
Evangelization means embracing the message of the Gospel and sharing the Good News of new life in Christ….Its purpose is personal conversion while respecting the identity and culture of every individual.
Catechesis builds on reception of the Gospel. Its two-fold objective is to bring initial faith to maturity and to form true disciples of Christ through a deeper and more systematic knowledge of the person and message of Jesus (“General Plan, Teaching Mission of the Church,” p. 2).
Since the early 1900’s catechetical offices which are part of the diocesan curia, were established in dioceses throughout the world as the means by which Bishops direct and moderate the catechetical activities of the diocese (See NDC, p. 250).
In general, Bishop Brom directs evangelization and catechesis through the diocesan office responsible for these activities, namely, the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry (OECM). [See OECM Website for OECM Staff and Calendar of Events]
In accord with the General Plan and in a spirit of collaboration with other diocesan offices, OECM carries out the “MISSION in behalf of COMMUNION” in the areas of evangelization and catechesis.
Most programs are offered in English and in Spanish.
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry is advised and assisted by the Diocesan Commission for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. The Commission, comprised of members approved by the Bishop, reflects the diverse areas of evangelization and catechetical ministry and is sensitive to the multicultural constituency of the Church of San Diego. The Commission advises the office in the planning of programs and events; in addressing needs and concerns of parish evangelization and catechetical ministry; in setting goals, objectives and strategies for the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry; and in the drafting of policies, guidelines and procedures which affect evangelization and catechetical ministry. [See Guideline 11: OECM Goals]
The National Directory for Catechesis states that “pastors are the bishop’s closest collaborators in ensuring that the goals of the diocesan catechetical mission are achieved” (NDC, p. 220). The norms of Canon Law reinforce the serious duty which pastors have to provide for the catechesis of their people, to provide suitable catechesis for the sacraments and following the reception of the sacraments and to develop and strengthen the faith of young people and adults using various means (See CIC, Nos. 773, 777).
The National Directory stresses the important role of the Pastor in catechesis, noting his responsibility to ensure that:
Generally, the Pastor ensures that the catechetical needs of the parish are met through the Director of Catechetical Ministry (DCM), the parish catechetical leader who is directly responsible to the Pastor. Collaboration and a good working relationship between the Pastor, the DCM and other parish ministers are crucial to the success of any catechetical endeavors at the parish. Ordained and lay ministers are called on “to learn the skills of collaboration” and “to value the benefits which [collaboration] brings to Church life and ministry” (CW, p. 48). The ministry, role, qualities and qualifications of the DCM were reviewed in depth in the previous chapter, but in general, it is the responsibility of the DCM to initiate, direct and maintain catechetical programming and to keep the Pastor well informed of all that is happening, seeking his input and approval of all new programming and any major changes in existing programming. In some circumstances, the Pastor may choose to delegate some of his administrative and oversight responsibilities, but nevertheless, regular meetings between the Pastor and the DCM and monthly written reports to the Pastor will provide information, assure accountability and avoid misunderstandings. Depending on the structure of the parish, the Pastor may meet regularly with all staff involved in evangelization and catechetical ministry and provide for periodic performance appraisal, based on the job description.
In addition to ensuring effective catechesis (see NDC, p. 221), the Pastor is ultimately responsible for financial administration of programs; for adequate maintenance of facilities; for provision of information required for centralized payroll, insurance and benefits for staff; and for maintenance of public liability and other insurance for facilities.
While catechesis can and does happen in various settings, the parish is ultimately the setting where most people receive systematic, catechetical formation; it “is the preeminent place for the catechesis of adults, youth and children” (NDC, p. 254). The responsibility for catechesis is not one-sided. “Pastors have the duty to provide catechesis; parishioners have the reciprocal duty to participate in and support the catechetical activities of the parish” (NDC, p. 255).
The DCM must work often with other parish ministers—Associate Pastor, Deacons, School Principal, Coordinator of Youth Ministry, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Coordinators of various programs and/or various cultural groups, etc. For example, the RCIA Coordinator will work closely with the Pastor, the DCM, team members, the Director of Liturgy and/or Music and the Coordinator for Evangelization, etc. In parishes with a parochial school, DCM’s and Principals may work out delineation of some responsibilities for catechesis and sacramental preparation. In parishes with Adult Education Coordinators, Small Church Community Coordinators, Elementary Coordinators, Coordinators of Youth Ministry, etc., similar definition and delineation of responsibilities should be agreed upon recognizing the qualification and expertise of each person. In each case, open communication, cooperation and mutual support is essential to furthering an evangelizing catechesis.
In all cases, clear job descriptions for DCM’s and other catechetical and evangelization leaders are crucial and necessary to effective ministry and avoiding confusion and misunderstanding. [See Guidelines 1 and 2: Sample Job Descriptions]
Once again, collaboration, mutuality and complementarity are key ingredients to responding to the call to evangelize and to catechize. “When participants, parents, and staff see mutually supportive educational enterprises within a parish, everyone benefits, and the basic purpose of Catholic life, the promotion of the reign of God, takes place” (Shaughnessy, p. 38).
In some parishes, pastoral councils or education/religious education boards or commissions may advise the pastor on policy for catechesis and evangelization. [See Policy 100] As paid employees of the parish, compensated staff are usually non-voting or ex-officio members of the council or board. In some cases, board members may not have expertise in catechetical or evangelization matters and so the Director of Catechetical Ministry should “continuously educate, motivate and enable those members so that they might intelligently participate in the policy-making process” (NCEA, p. 26). The Board or Commission “should represent the diversity in age, ability, and the cultural, racial, ethnic, social, and economic conditions present in the parish” (NDC, p. 256).
While the DCM may not have voting power in most parishes, he or she should be recognized as the board’s “expert on practical and theoretical aspects of religious education. As such, he/she must take an active part in preparing agendas and formulating tentative policy statements. …When the body has come to its decision, the [DCM] carefully aids its implementation” (NCEA, p. 23). Once again, depending on the structure of the parish, the expertise of other catechetical and evangelization leadership should be sought when specific questions are being decided.
As it is the parents who have given life to their children, on them lies the gravest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. …It is therefore above all in the Christian family, inspired by the grace and the responsibility of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught to know and worship God and to love their neighbor, in accordance with the faith which they have received in earliest infancy in the sacrament of Baptism (GE, 3).
It is essential that every parish catechetical program for children take into consideration the role of parents as primary educators of their children and involve parents in the catechetical formation of their children. Parents form foundational values and beliefs from the earliest beginnings of life. They are “the most influential agents of catechesis for their children” and “catechize primarily by the witness of their Christian lives and by their love for the faith” (NDC, p. 234). Some parents may need to be encouraged or even made aware of the importance of their call and will need assistance in fulfilling their role. Parents need to know that “their participation in the life of the parish – above all in the Sunday Eucharist – their willingness to evangelize and serve others, and their dedication to daily prayer demonstrate the authenticity of their profession of faith” (NDC, p. 234). Adult faith formation programs which are developed especially to help parents in their role as primary educators, programs at significant or “teachable moments” in the lives of their children and programs of catechesis for the whole community are some ways which the Director of Catechetical Ministry can assist parents and families in their faith journey.
The family’s catechetical activity has a special character, which is in a sense irreplaceable. This special character has been rightly stressed by the Church, particularly by the Second Vatican Council. Education in the faith by parents, which should begin from the children’s tenderest age, is already being given when the members of a family help each other to grow in faith through the witness of their Christian lives, a witness that is often without words but which perseveres throughout a day-to-day life lived in accordance with the Gospel. This catechesis is more incisive when, in the course of family events (such as the reception of the sacraments, the celebration of great liturgical feasts, the birth of a child, a bereavement) care is taken to explain in the home the Christian or religious content of these events. But that is not enough: Christian parents must strive to follow and repeat, within the setting of family life, the more methodical teaching received elsewhere. …Family catechesis therefore precedes, accompanies and enriches all other forms of catechesis (CT, 68).
Parish catechetical programs support, augment and complement the religious life of the family. Given the relatively few contact hours with children which even the most highly developed and systematic catechetical programs provide, the entire responsibility for catechetical formation can not and should not be placed on the parish program. The catechetical formation of young people is a collaborative undertaking where parents, catechists and the parish community share the responsibility for catechizing. Parents have a right to expect that their children will be assisted in their formation in the Catholic faith by catechists who have a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and a strong love for the Church evidenced by a desire to catechize within the Roman Catholic tradition. The DCM and catechists should strive to understand the culture and ethnic background of the families with which they are working and should try to work within the cultural framework to enrich the level of catechesis and parent involvement.
Opportunities should be provided for parents to meet with the DCM and catechists in a spirit of open communication, to view sessions and materials, to receive formation in parenting skills and parent preparation for sacraments. Parents can be kept abreast of what is happening in programs through web pages, newsletters, calendars and parent meetings. Parents should be made aware of program direction, parish policies and procedures through a Parent Handbook sent home at the beginning of each year. [See Guideline 12: Items to Include in Parent Handbook]
Parents have a responsibility to abide by the parish policies and procedures for catechesis.
In those cases where families choose to provide the systematic catechesis for their own children in the home setting, those families should not be isolated but should understand that “they are part of the parish’s total catechetical effort” (NDC, p. 259). Parents who are doing home-based catechesis should provide a catechesis which is “complete and authentic” and adheres “to all the guidelines for catechists as outlined by the diocesan bishop” (NDC, p. 259). Parents should notify the Pastor and/or the DCM of this decision and should follow diocesan policies and guidelines for home schooling in religion. [See Policy 201]
In an era when many family structures are changing, it is important for the DCM to approach each family situation with sensitivity. It is sometimes a family’s desire for their children to receive the sacraments which can provide an “evangelizing moment” for healing, understanding and welcoming back to the Church. The DCM is often the first minister of the Church whom a hurting family encounters.
If there are special needs or circumstances which will affect the religious formation of their children, parents should provide appropriate information to the DCM or Program Coordinator. The DCM should be advised if students have a disability or physical limitation, are on medication, or are prone to allergic reactions or seizures, etc. [See Guideline 14: Items for Registration Form]
If there is a situation involving a non-custodial parent, the DCM should be notified who has permission to pick up a child from a program. Parents should be advised of the times before and after programming when supervision is provided.
Parents have a right to expect that their children will be kept in a safe and secure environment while participating in parish programs. It is mandatory that the DCM and other leaders responsible for minors maintain procedures which provide for supervision at all times by trusted personnel.
A traffic safety plan should be developed and parents should know where and when it is safe to drop off and pick up students.
The DCM should insure that catechists and students participate in fire and earthquake drills; and that catechists are aware of procedures to use in the case of medical or other emergencies. All students must be covered under the blanket accident/medical insurance program in effect in the diocese. Persons transporting students for parish activities must comply with diocesan policies and guidelines. Should a student be injured on the parish premises, an Accident Reporting Form should be completed detailing actions taken to respond to the emergency. [See Policy 110, Policy 111, Policy 112 and Policy 113] All catechetical and evangelization leadership who conduct programs in parish facilities should have access to emergency phone numbers and be familiar with emergency plans.
Each DCM should be familiar with state reporting requirements and diocesan policy concerning the reporting of suspected sexual abuse. DCM’s, employed by the parish, are aware of the California Child Abuse Reporting Law and must sign a statement saying they understand that they are mandated reporters of child abuse. Catechists who suspect that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect shall report it to the DCM who will report it directly to Child Protective Services.
In all parish catechetical programs, any disciplinary measures used for students should reflect sensitivity, sensibility and Christian charity. Disciplinary procedures should follow diocesan guidelines. Under no circumstances shall corporal punishment be used to discipline a student.
Any and all student threats of harm to self or others will be taken seriously and whoever hears such a threat should report it to the DCM, Coordinator or catechist immediately. Catechists should report threats to the DCM or Coordinator who will follow the diocesan procedure for dealing with threats.
It is the responsibility of the DCM to maintain accurate and permanent student records of attendance and reception of sacraments. These records are kept in a confidential file and are the property of the parish. The DCM should not release names and addresses of students. [See Policy 240] [See Guideline 24: Sample Permanent Record Card]
In any religious education program, an atmosphere of welcome, trust and safety should be fostered and encouraged. It is a sad commentary on our times that incidents of child abuse have risen in recent years and that in some cases that abuse has happened within the church setting. In an effort to respond to the abuse of minors by clergy and other church personnel, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal – the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. With this Charter, the Bishops stress their “deep commitment to creating a safe environment within the Church for children and youth” (Promise, p. 3). This charter outlines practical and pastoral steps to prevent sexual abuse of minors in the church setting and reaffirms the Bishops’ commitment to “continual pastoral outreach to repair the breach with those who have suffered sexual abuse and with all the people of the Church” (Promise, p. 6).
The Diocese of San Diego, in complying with the Charter, has issued the Policy on Safe Environment Programs, which states that every parish and Catholic school in the diocese must implement a safe environment program. As part of this safe environment program
Catechists and other non-compensated persons who serve in programs of evangelization and catechetical ministry are the most precious resources for parish catechetical and evangelization programs. With tasks ranging from periodic phone calls and typing, to teaching or leading weekly sessions or coordination of entire programs, the contributions of those who serve in catechetical and evangelization programs are so significant that these programs could not function without their dedication and generosity.
In Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II encouraged catechists:
I am anxious to give thanks in the Church’s name to all of you, lay teachers of catechesis in the parishes, the men and the still more numerous women throughout the world, who are devoting yourselves to the religious education of many generations. Your work is…carried out with ardent and generous zeal, and it is an eminent form of the lay apostolate, a form that is particularly important where for various reasons children and young people do not receive suitable religious training in the home. How many of us have received from people like you our first notions of catechism and our preparation for the sacrament of penance, for our first communion and confirmation! The Fourth General Assembly of the Synod did not forget you. I join with it in encouraging you to continue your collaboration for the life of the Church (CT, 66).
The Director of Catechetical Ministry or Program Coordinator is responsible for, and sees as essential tasks, the recruitment, screening, formation, ongoing growth, evaluation and recognition of the countless ministers, most of whom are non-compensated, that are involved in catechetical and evangelization programs. Catechetical and evangelization leaders understand the need to constantly empower the people of God to accept their baptismal call to teach and to evangelize. They encourage and nurture that call and avoid as much as possible any impression that their service is taken for granted. The effective leader motivates and nurtures the faith which has brought numerous persons to this service. An entire chapter of this handbook is devoted to the formation, certification and renewal of catechists.
Without a doubt many persons who respond to the call to minister as catechists are very highly motivated persons of faith. They serve out of a sense of commitment to Jesus Christ and a desire to have a positive influence on others. Many persons respond when they hear of a need or when a personal invitation is extended. Catechetical and evangelization leaders seek out persons for the various programs through personal invitation and communication regarding needs, always trying to match the gifts and talents of the person with the position or task. In accord with diocesan policy they ensure that all adults who work with children or young people on a regular basis are screened and comply with Diocesan Safe Environment policies. [See Diocesan Policy Management: 24]
It is the responsibility of the parish to provide for formation and training of personnel (compensated and non-compensated) especially catechists, ensuring that they are well equipped to do the task. It is strongly suggested that two adults be present at each session for young people. Since many persons who work with minors do not have professional experience, it is very important that they receive guidance at regular intervals for providing for safety and disciplinary measures for young people in their programs.
Directors and staff are expected to keep all equipment in working order and to render areas used by young people as free of hazards as is humanly possible, in keeping with the standards of reasonable people. Thus, directors of religious education and youth ministers must take an offensive approach with regard to the elimination of hazards. All activities should be carefully monitored. All staff, paid and volunteer, should receive thorough and ongoing orientation and instruction. The reasonable religious education director…supervises staff. The supervisor who practices prevention by constantly striving to eliminate foreseeable risks will avoid costly lawsuit and participant injury (Shaughnessy, p. 24).
The parish’s commitment to those who serve in catechesis should also include a financial commitment for ongoing formation and provision of necessary resources, materials and supplies needed to implement programs.
The DCM/Program Coordinator has the responsibility for advising catechists of all diocesan policies, guidelines and procedures which affect their particular area of service. Meetings at the beginning of the year and ongoing in-service sessions throughout the year provide excellent opportunities not only for communication, but also for sharing of creative ideas and resources for classes or sessions. A catechist handbook will assist catechetical personnel in their ministry and make them aware of parish policies, guidelines and procedures. [See Guideline 13: Items to Include in Catechist Handbook] In addition to the DCM, other Program Coordinators have similar responsibility to the persons who serve in their respective programs: for example, the RCIA Coordinator would be responsible for forming the RCIA team and sponsors; the Evangelization Coordinator may train persons who do home visitation.
The DCM has additional responsibilities in regard to the supervision of catechists. She or he should supervise all catechists and should meet with the catechist following the supervision to affirm strengths and make recommendations and suggestions for improvement. The DCM should maintain parish catechist certification and renewal records which are the property of the parish.
[See Policy 240]
For all practical purposes the DCM, Program Coordinator and other catechetical and evangelization leaders are the communication link between the Diocesan Office and their catechists, parents, teams and other adults who are serving in their respective programs. The effective leader develops communication links to advise their constituency not only of policies and procedures which affect their ministry, but also of upcoming diocesan events for formation, education and renewal.
“Beg the harvest master to send laborers to gather the harvest.” – (Matthew 9:37-38)
Throughout our history as a Church, catechesis has been an esteemed term.The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help [people] believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ” (CCC, 4, citing Catechesi Tradendae). In the New Testament, the term is translated as “instruction” (Acts 18:25; Luke 1:4; 1 Corinthians 14:19). Coming from the Greek word katechein, catechesis means to “echo” or “resound” — the catechist is one who “echoes” or resounds the Word of God. Its purpose is to make a person’s faith “become living, conscious, and active, through the light of instruction” (CD, 14).
The General Directory for Catechesis, promulgated by the Vatican in 1997, situates catechesis as a “work of evangelization in the context of the mission of the Church” (GDC, 4) and “fully locates catechesis within the context of evangelization” (GDC, 5). The catechist participates in the Church’s mission of evangelization and responds to the missionary mandate of the Church found in Matthew 28—to go out, to make disciples, and to teach. The General Directory makes it clear that catechists are called, first and foremost, to be evangelists—witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ. The General Directory summons the Church to prepare witnesses by developing “a profoundly religious catechesis, nourished on the Gospel, which will deepen [people’s] encounter with God and forge a bond of permanent communion…” (GDC, 23).
Since catechesis is an integral part of the Church’s evangelization ministry and the Church has always seen “catechesis as one of her primary tasks” (CT, 1), it follows that the formation, training and continued growth of catechists is a priority for diocesan and parish catechetical leadership.
Catechesis is so central to the Church’s mission of evangelization that, if evangelization were to fail to integrate catechesis, initial faith aroused by the original proclamation of the Gospel would not mature, education in the faith through a deeper knowledge of the person and message of Jesus Christ would not transpire, and discipleship in Christ through genuine apostolic witness would not be fostered (NDC, pp. 67-68).
In order to promote an effective, “profoundly religious catechesis” and to standardize the quality of the formation of catechists under their jurisdiction, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, in consultation with Directors of Catechetical Ministry, Superintendents of Catholic Schools and Directors of Youth Ministry, revised the Guidelines for the Formation and Certification of Catechists and Master Catechists (hereafter, California Guidelines) in 1996. In 2001, once again in consultation with the above mentioned groups, the Bishops approved specific Goals and Objectives for Content to be included in the California Guidelines.
Catechist formation programs in the Diocese of San Diego are in compliance with California Guidelines. The importance of formation of catechists for every age and grade, preschool through adult, is stressed in the Purpose, Goals and Objectives of the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry [See Guideline 11: Goals of OECM ] and reinforced in diocesan policy which states that all catechists should hold current certification or be in the process of obtaining certification. [See Policy 230]
Catechists are persons of faith who “feel called interiorly by God” (GDC, 231) to minister as a catechist. Their ministry as catechist springs from the Sacrament of Baptism and is strengthened in the Sacrament of Confirmation (See NDC p. 228). “The Church awakens and discerns this divine vocation and confers the mission to catechize” (GDC, 231). Catechists should “rise from within the community of faith, be invited to consider becoming a catechist, be known to the pastor and prayerfully consider becoming a catechist” (NDC, p. 236).
The catechist has a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as the center and grounding of his or her life and ministry and has a strong desire to make Jesus Christ known to others. The catechist understands that “at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father” (CCC, 426). The catechist has the privilege of working toward the aim of all catechesis — “to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ” (GDC, 80; CT 5).
The catechist loves the Church and wishes to serve in it. He or she understands the importance of and is committed to catechizing within the Roman Catholic tradition. “Catechists need to be practicing Catholics who participate fully in the communal worship and life of the Church and who have been prepared for their apostolate by appropriate catechetical training. Their commissioning by the Church is a participation in the divine calling to teach as Jesus did” (NDC pp. 228-229). The catechist is a witness in word and action who participates in the Church’s liturgical and sacramental life, has a deep spirituality and is willing to continue his or her own education and formation.
It is an important task of parish catechetical leadership to discern who has the gifts, talents and abilities to be a catechist. “The suggestion that anyone can be a catechist should be scrupulously avoided in all communication involving the recruitment of catechists” (NDC, p. 236). The Bishops of California maintain that it is the responsibility of pastors and catechetical leadership to:
The National Directory asserts that catechists should be known by the parish catechetical leadership, should be invited to ministry and should receive initial and ongoing formation. This formation should not be improvised or left to the initiative of catechists themselves. The Directory further suggests that all catechists should be commissioned each year on Catechetical Sunday (See NDC, pp. 236-237).
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry views catechist formation at every level—preschool through adult—as one of its primary goals and provides programs of formation, certification and renewal to meet that end. Diocesan catechist formation programs are in accord with California Guidelines which state that “catechists should acquire the particular knowledge and skills that they need to assist adults, young people, and children, including those with special needs, to grow in faith” (Guidelines, p. 4).
The Basic Catechist Formation Course is a 48-hour course intended to equip beginning catechists, or those needing renewal in contemporary theology and catechetics, with sufficient background and skill to begin teaching. The course incorporates the essential elements of message, prayer, community and service and provides an integrated program of doctrinal reflection, catechetical process, religious development and creative teaching methods for children through adults. Upon successful completion of the Basic Catechist Formation Course, catechists receive California Catechist Certification.
The Basic Catechist Formation Course presents an overview of Catholic doctrine using an approach which incorporates the six tasks of catechesis and develops an appreciation for the integral relationship of life experience, doctrine and response in faith. The course of studies is consistent with the General Directory for Catechesis, the National Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is offered for all catechists, preschool through adult, and is designed to provide a knowledge of the Catholic faith and Christian living as well as the skills and techniques which are necessary to hand on the faith, encourage a deeper relationship with Christ and promote discipleship and evangelization.
Throughout the course, the catechist is expected to continue study and reflection after each class by means of additional reading of the course handouts, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the text for the course. Prospective catechists are expected to develop a lesson plan, prepare one or two brief reflections on foundational topics and complete the Information for Growth (IFG) survey indicating areas of strength and weakness. They are also encouraged to observe an experienced catechist in the teaching situation at least twice during the course.
The Basic Catechist Formation Course is taught by a team of two or more qualified instructors called Master Catechists. These instructors are selected by the Diocesan Office in accord with the California Guidelines. A DCM or Coordinator is not automatically considered an instructor in the Basic Catechist Formation Course. All Master Catechists must be approved by the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and complete the formation program offered by the diocese. All Basic Catechist Formation Course offerings are approved by the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry.
The Basic Catechist Formation Course is offered at centers throughout the diocese. A parish interested in having its facility used as a formation center should have an authorized person contact the Diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. Enrollment of 15-20 persons is considered normative.
The teaching centers and scheduling of courses are set by the Diocesan Office in consultation with Directors of Catechetical Ministry and Master Catechists. There are various options available for scheduling. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry publicizes starting dates and times of courses in office mailings and updates, in the diocesan newspaper and on the diocesan website.
Cost of the Course
The cost of the Basic Catechist Formation Course is $75.00 per person which includes materials, handout packet and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The San Diego Diocesan Institute offers courses to provide foundational theology for persons interested in ministry. Most courses can be used toward obtaining diocesan ministry certificates and for renewal of catechist certification.
Information: For further information and course descriptions regarding the San Diego Diocesan Institute Courses, please visit the diocesan website or call the Institute Office at 858-490-8212. [See Diocesan Institute Website]
In individual cases, persons who hold current certification from another diocese or persons with a rich background in catechetics, such as a recent degree in religious education, plus evidence of experience and ongoing enrichment, may petition the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry to have course requirements waived.
Catechists, who wish to waive course requirements, should complete a catechist profile available from the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry will identify appropriate courses or workshops needed to achieve certification, if applicable.
BASIC CERTIFICATION PROCESS
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry issues all California Catechist Certification upon completion of the Basic Catechist course. The Office maintains a permanent record of each certified catechist and sends Catechist Record Cards indicating certification status to DCM’s and School Principals.
In accordance with the California Guidelines, California Catechist Certification is recognized by every diocese in the State of California. Certification is granted to parish catechists for one year or three years depending on the fulfillment of the supervision requirements, as follows:
Certification is granted for one year upon completion of the course work and recommendation of the Master Catechists. It means that the prospective catechist has attended the prescribed classes, has satisfactorily participated in the class and has completed the assignments.
An individual catechist may satisfy both the course requirements and the requirements for one year of supervised teaching in the same year.
Upon completion of the Basic Catechist Formation Course, the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry will notify DCM’s of parish catechists who have satisfactorily completed the course. It is the responsibility of the DCM to make arrangements for supervision of catechists and make recommendations for one-year or three-year certification. Forms are provided by the Office for this purpose.
Many parish catechists wish to continue their formation in a systematic way after they have completed basic formation. The process of Advanced Catechist Certification allows the catechist to continue systematic and ongoing formation by completing additional course work. It is not a requirement for catechists to pursue advanced certification, but highly recommended.
Upon completion of requirements, candidates for advanced catechist certification should complete the Advanced Catechist Certification Form in collaboration with the parish DCM/Coordinator. The completed form and the letter of recommendation should be forwarded to the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry. Advanced Catechist Certification is issued in June of each year in which requirements are completed. Advanced Catechist Certification is issued for three years and supersedes Basic Certification.
According to Diocesan Policy [See Policy 231], certification of the fully certified catechist (basic or advanced) expires at the end of three years from the date of issue. The catechist may earn renewal of certification by completing the approved courses or workshops before the date of expiration.
Note: A combined total of 5 clock hours (in the three year period) will be granted for spiritual renewal experiences such as Cursillo, Life in the Spirit seminars, Renew, Marriage Encounter, Parish Renewal Weekends, Catholic Bible Study Groups, Small Faith Communities, etc. or
Programs which are offered at the parish level may be used toward renewal hours for catechists. The DCM or Coordinator is encouraged to submit a description of the program to the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry for prior approval if renewal credit is being requested. Criteria used in evaluating are:
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry will determine the number of clock hours of renewal credit to be granted for each program. It is suggested that no more than half of a catechist’s renewal credits be obtained through parish programs of this nature. In general, catechist meetings, though highly valued for maintaining the program, do not qualify for renewal credit.
It is strongly recommended that renewal requirements be completed before the expiration date of the certification. It is the responsibility of each catechist, in communication with the DCM or Coordinator, to maintain documentation of courses or workshops taken for renewal purposes. The DCM or Coordinator should advise catechists of upcoming opportunities.
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry notifies all certified catechists of the expiration date of their certification.
In the spring, the Office will notify DCM’s of those catechists whose certification will expire in June of the current year. If the DCM is not responsible for maintaining all catechist certification records, she or he should forward the renewal form to the appropriate program coordinator, e.g. the RCIA Coordinator or Coordinator of Youth Ministry. The DCM or Coordinator should return the form indicating those catechists who have completed renewal requirements and whose certification should be renewed for an additional three years.
Catechists who are not currently teaching, but wish to maintain certification should forward documentation of the completed requirements for renewal to the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry by May 1 of each year.
Persons whose certification has expired without renewal should consult the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry to determine how certification can be reinstated. Appropriate workshops or courses will be suggested at the time of consultation.
A Diocesan Specialization Certificate is awarded to persons completing requirements in a particular area of competence such as preschool catechesis or special religious education. Diocesan certification for preschool and special religious education catechists is issued for three years and is renewable by attendance at thirty hours of course work or workshops.
Other Specialization Courses which are offered to refine skills in a given area of ministry include Catechetical Methods, RCIA, Adult Faith Formation, etc.
Diocesan Specialization courses do not qualify a person for California Catechist Certification, but automatically renew California Catechist Certification and may be applied to Advanced Catechist Certification for anyone who already holds California Catechist Certification.
The supervision that is to take place during the parish catechist’s first year of teaching is to be conducted by qualified DCM’s, Coordinators or Supervisors who have been trained in supervision techniques. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry provides training workshops for catechetical supervisors each year. Parishes in need of a qualified supervisor should contact the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry.
Master Catechists are those persons who are certified by the Diocese in accordance with Diocesan Policy and the Guidelines for Obtaining the California Catechist Certificate or California Master Catechist Certificate (hereafter California Guidelines). Master Catechists teach in the name of the diocese and provide the specific formation and course of studies required by the diocese for catechists to obtain or renew a California Catechist Certificate. In the Diocese of San Diego, Master Catechists teach Basic Catechist Formation Courses at Centers throughout the Diocese. All Master Catechist Candidates must be interviewed and approved by the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and must complete the Master Catechist Formation. [See Policy 232]
It is assumed that the Master Catechist possesses the basic qualities already discussed for all catechists. In addition, the Master Catechist should have:
A Master Catechist Candidate should:
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry offers Master Catechist formation when there are enough qualified candidates. Master Catechist Candidates are expected to enter the program with an in-depth background in the content areas of the Basic Catechist Formation Course. In accord with the California Guidelines, the Master Catechist formation includes:
Upon completion of the Master Catechist Formation, the Master Catechist receives California Master Catechist Certification. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry issues all California Master Catechist Certification in June of the year in which all requirements are met. California Master Catechist Certification is granted for three years and is recognized by all Dioceses in the State of California.
The Diocese of San Diego:
Master Catechists in the Diocese of San Diego are expected to:
“They recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know him in the breaking of the bread.” – Luke 24:35
Conversion to Christ is a lifelong process that should be accompanied at every stage by a vital catechesis that leads Christians on their journey towards holiness. Lifelong catechesis should take many forms and use a variety of means: participation in the Sunday Eucharist and study of the Liturgy, the study and exploration of Sacred Scripture and the social teachings of the Church, reflection on the important events of life in the light of Christian faith, opportunities for prayer, spiritual exercises, acts of charity that involve self-sacrifice, especially toward those in need, and more formal theological and catechetical instruction. Among these forms of continuing catechesis, the homily occupies a privileged position (NDC, pp. 117-118).
The Holy Spirit, at work in the Church, calls the community of believers to ongoing conversion and committed discipleship through prayer and action. “Conversion to Christ involves making a genuine commitment to him and a personal decision to follow him as his disciple. Through this discipleship, the believer is united to the community of disciples and appropriates the faith of the Church” (NDC, p. 48). Since catechesis seeks to lead persons to a deeper relationship with Christ it is necessarily oriented to prayer and worship. “When catechesis is permeated by a climate of prayer, the assimilation of the entire Christian life reaches its summit” (GDC, 85).
In the mission of evangelization, catechesis and liturgy are intimately related. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity. Catechesis and Liturgy originate in the faith of the Church; they proclaim the Gospel; they call its hearers to conversion to Christ; they initiate believers into the life of Christ and his Church; and they look for the coming of the kingdom in its fullness…” (NDC, p. 110).
Liturgy celebrates what the church professes and lives. “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows” (SC, 10). “The liturgical life of the Church revolves around the sacraments, with the Eucharist at the center” (NDC, p. 113).
It is the task of catechesis not only to prepare individuals and communities for an active and fruitful celebration of the liturgy, but also to reflect on the liturgy. Sacramental catechesis is not merely a one time introduction to the rubrics or the first reception of a sacrament, but sacramental catechesis is on-going and focuses on the deeper meaning of the words and actions, emphasizing how the liturgical signs reveal Christ’s presence in the Church today. “The sacraments should be treated within the Paschal Mystery and presented as the means by which we share in the new life of Christ through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Sacraments are not moments in human life of which God becomes a part, but rather the signs and reality of divine life of which we become a part” (Brom, 8-14-1997).
The National Directory for Catechesis gives several fundamental principles which apply to catechesis for all sacraments. The Directory states that sacramental catechesis:
In addition, the National Directory lists specific guidelines for each sacrament which parish leadership should incorporate into their catechesis on and preparation for each sacrament as follows:
As a result of the Second Vatican Council, the Church called for the restoration of the catechumenate – a process defined by several distinct steps, suitable instruction, and sacred rites to be celebrated at successive intervals (SC, 64). In 1988 the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adultswas approved and mandated for use in the dioceses of the United States by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Apostolic See (See RCIA, p. v).
The restoration of the catechumenal process has brought new life and vitality to the Church as those who wish to embark on the journey to embrace the Roman Catholic faith are supported and nourished by sponsors, godparents and the parish community. Recent Church documents have called the Baptismal Catechumenate the “inspiration” for all catechesis (see GDC, 90; OHWB, 26. The National Directory for Catechesis notes that the catechumenal process is a “fruitful blend of instruction and formation in the faith; it progresses through gradual stages; it unfolds the Church’s rites, symbols, and biblical and liturgical signs; and it incorporates the catechumens into the Christian community of faith and worship” (NDC, p. 116).
While catechesis, and more specifically sacramental preparation, should not rigidly follow the catechumenal process, the elements of journey, reflection on the Word of God, experience of symbols, celebration of the rites, incorporation into the community and life long catechesis should “inspire” all programming. “…[T]he baptismal catechumenate provides an admirable model for the whole of the Church’s catechetical efforts and especially emphasizes the necessity for lifelong catechesis” (NDC, p. 116).
The Christian Initiation of Adults is celebrated in Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The process of initiation following the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is considered normative for all persons being initiated into the Church and is inclusive of persons with special needs and persons from various cultural and/or ethnic groups. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults—Study Edition, commonly referred to as the “white book” (includes the Rite, an outline of each rite, options, alternatives and the National Statutes for the Catechumenate) should be considered required reading and study for all leaders and teams working in the process of Christian Initiation for adults and/or children.
Diocesan Policy [See Policy 410 and Policy 411] asserts that every parish should have in place the catechumenal process following the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This process is to be used for all unbaptized persons (catechumens) and baptized Christians who are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church (candidates). It may be used for baptized, uncatechized Catholic adults preparing for Confirmation and Eucharist. Upon completion of the catechumenal process the catechumens (both children and adults) are fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church and receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. The candidates receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil or any other appropriate time.
It is important to note that there is no separate Rite of Initiation for Children, but rather theRite of Christian Initiation of Adults is adapted for Children (RCIA, Pt II). Children of catechetical age (both catechumens and candidates) must follow in the entire catechumenal process with adaptations to suit their age and level of understanding In accord with Canon Law (CCL, 852.1, 97.2, 866), the National Statutes for the Catechumenate (See National Statute 18) and Diocesan Policy, [See Policy 416] when a child who has reached the age of reason (around seven years of age) is baptized, the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist are to be conferred within the same celebration. In other words, unbaptized children of catechetical age must receive all three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil with the older catechumens. Likewise, when a child who was baptized in another faith tradition and has reached the age of reason is received into the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred prior to the reception of first Eucharist. In regard to Catholic children baptized as infants, but uncatechized, the Bishop reserves the right to confirm these children with their peers at age fifteen or sixteen.
It is important to understand that Christian Initiation is not a program, but rather a process of conversion and discernment which should not be hurried. This process for the unbaptized includes four periods punctuated by three liturgical rites:
In conformity with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, modifications to the Rite are used with persons in particular circumstances: catechumens in exceptional cases (RCIA, Pt II, Ch. 2) and persons who have reached the age of reason, whether catechumens or not, who are in danger of death but are not at the point of death (RCIA, Pt. II, Ch 3).
The rites which are celebrated during the process of Initiation should be celebrated in the context of the Sunday assembly except where the actual Rite indicates otherwise. These rites include: the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, the Scrutinies, and the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (usually integrated into the Easter Vigil). The Rite of Sending should be celebrated on a Sunday prior to or on the day of the Rite of Election, the Diocesan Liturgy celebrated with the Bishop.
The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion of the Catholic Church is the “liturgical rite by which a person born and baptized in a separated ecclesial community is received, according to the Latin Rite, into the full communion of the Catholic Church. The rite is so arranged that no greater burden than necessary (see Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion and unity” (RCIA, 473).
Persons who are baptized in another faith tradition should not be treated as catechumens. Their doctrinal and spiritual formation should be discerned on an individual basis. Formation for the baptized candidate should depend upon the “extent to which the baptized person has led a Christian life within a community of faith and been appropriately catechized to deepen his or her inner adherence to Church” (National Statutes, 30). While it may be necessary and appropriate for an individual candidate to participate in the elements of the catechumenal process, the person who is already baptized should not participate in the rites intended for the unbaptized. Candidates may participate in the Call to Continuing Conversion in a combined celebration with the Rite of Election normally celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent.
According to Diocesan Policy [See Policy 419] and the National Statutes (National Statutes, 33), it is preferable that the Reception into Full Communion be celebrated at a time other than the Easter Vigil. If, however, the combined Rites are celebrated at the Easter Vigil, a clear distinction should be made between those who are being baptized and those who are being received into full communion or completing initiation (See National Statutes, 34). The Reception into Full Communion may be celebrated more than once a year depending on the readiness of each candidate.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation for the adult or child candidate should be celebrated prior to (and separate from) the Rite of Reception into Full Communion. Adults who were baptized Catholic may be confirmed by the Pastor at the Easter Vigil.
If there is a reasonable doubt regarding the validity of the baptism of the candidate (e.g. whether the person was baptized with water or using the Trinitarian formula, etc.) and conditional baptism seems necessary, it should be celebrated privately rather than in the public assembly (see National Statutes, 37). Questions regarding the validity of baptism, should be referred to the Diocesan Tribunal. [See Guideline 28: Conditional Baptism]
Bishop Brom has issued Guidelines for Ecumenical Sensitivity which should be followed by all those who work with candidates for Full Communion:
(Issued by Bishop Robert H. Brom, 6/2/1997)
In the initial interview with persons seeking initiation or full communion, their marital status needs to be addressed. If either they or their current spouse has been previously married, a formal annulment process may be necessary. Persons in these circumstances may be enrolled as a catechumen or candidate only after they have submitted their annulment petitions to the Tribunal. These persons may not participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion (or the Sacraments of Initiation or Reception into Full Communion) until their and/or their spouse’s previous marital status has been resolved by the Tribunal. Depending on the situation of the persons involved, this may be a lengthy process and catechumens or candidates should not be given false hope or unrealistic promises of a quick resolution. [See Policy 418]
Once there is an affirmative decision (an annulment has been granted), if a marriage needs to be convalidated, the convalidation should be accomplished at a time prior to (and distinct from) the reception of the sacraments of initiation or reception into full communion.
According to Diocesan Policy, [See Policy 414] it is the responsibility of the pastor to form a team to implement the RCIA process at the parish level. This team should reflect the diversity of the parish community and respond to special catechetical needs. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry provides courses, workshops, inservices and consultation to assist in the catechetical formation of parish teams and the facilitation of the process of initiation. All RCIA catechists should be certified or in the process of obtaining California Catechist Certification and should follow Diocesan Policies for catechists. [See Policy 230 and Policy 231]
It is strongly recommended that those RCIA Coordinators or team members who are new to the RCIA process participate in the RCIA Specialization Course or a North American Forum on the Catechumenate Institute. RCIA Coordinators and catechists are encouraged to continue their formation by attending local/regional training opportunities.
The baptism of an infant brings a sense of joy and hope for the future to the entire faith community. In preparing parents and godparents for the baptism of an infant (a child who has not reached the age of reason), the Church shows its love and support for the parents as well as their children. According to Diocesan Policy, [See Policy 420] all parishes should prepare parents for the baptism of their child. The preparation gives the Church an opportunity to encourage parents in the formation of their child and provides parents and godparents with an opportunity to examine their own spirituality, their commitment to Christ and “to reexamine the meaning of the Christian message in their own lives” (NDC p. 120). The preparation process should also assist parents in assuming their role as primary catechists of the children (see CCL, 851.2).
Catechesis for baptism is based on the Rite itself and helps parents in understanding the meaning of the sacrament and the obligations attached to it. This preparation time presents an evangelizing moment for parents who have been away from the Church or those who have not been married in the Church. Every effort should be made to ensure that the initial contact with the parish, the interview process and the baptismal preparation are occasions of welcome, invitation and hospitality for the parents and godparents. [See Policy 421]
While the selection of two godparents is customary, only one (either male or female) is required. If two godparents are chosen, one should be male and one should be female (see CCL, 873). Godparents must be fully initiated Catholics (usually over the age of sixteen) who are living a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and should be encouraged to participate in the infant baptism preparation process if possible. [See Policy 423] A Christian, baptized in another faith tradition, may not serve as a godparent, but may serve as a witness along with the Catholic godparent and should be recorded accordingly (see CCL, 874.2).
Infants should be baptized within a few weeks of birth; an infant in danger of death is to be baptized without delay (see CCL, 867.1 and 867.2). [See Policy 422] While it is not customary to refuse baptism, the sacrament may be delayed if there is not a founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic religion or “there is no assurance that the child’s faith will be nurtured” (NDC, p. 121). Parents should be advised of the reason for the delay (see CCL, 868.l and 868.2) and “the parish should give attention to the families of these children through pastoral outreach and evangelization” (NDC, p. 121).
Following baptism, it is the responsibility of the parents to raise the child in the faith and to ensure the child’s formal religious education. [See Policy 424]
Parishes should remain in contact with the family and should provide opportunities to keep them connected to the larger faith community.
Preparation for first reception of Reconciliation and Eucharist involves several aspects including catechesis on the sacraments, in general, and preparation for the initial reception of a sacrament and ongoing deepening catechesis and formation, in particular.
Catechesis for children prior to their first reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation must always respect the natural disposition, ability, age, and circumstances. Since the family is intimately involved with the formation of a child’s moral conscience and ordinarily integrates the child into the wider ecclesial communities, parents should be involved in the preparation of their children for this sacrament so that they can affirm and reinforce frequent participation in the sacraments (NDC, p. 135). [See Policy 212]
Foundational catechesis should be augmented in successive years. Persons with developmental disabilities may be admitted to the sacraments with catechesis and preparation adapted to their unique needs. [See Policy 213]
According to Diocesan Policy [See Policy 211] catechesis for First Reconciliation should be distinct and separate from catechesis for the reception of First Eucharist so that the identity of each sacrament is clear and so that the young person will feel ease with celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Readiness for reception of this sacrament includes knowledge of the person of Jesus and the Gospel message of forgiveness, knowledge of sin and its effect, and understanding and experience of sorrow, forgiveness and conversion” (NDC, p. 135).
In the Diocese of San Diego, it is the norm that First Reconciliation is celebrated prior to the reception of First Eucharist. [See Policy 211] This Diocesan Policy is in accord with Canon Law (CCL, 914; See also CCC, 1457). The celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation should be suited to the level of development of the young people. It is suggested that the celebration for children is separated from the parish adult celebration.
Catechesis for the Sacrament of Eucharist should help the young person with an understanding of God’s love, the importance of meal, their participation in the sacrifice of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Catechesis should teach children that “the Holy Eucharist is the real body and blood of Christ, and what appear to be bread and wine are actually His living body” (NDC, p. 128) and should “help children participate actively and consciously in the Mass” (NDC, p. 127). The Norms for the Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds note that “children are encouraged to receive Communion under both kinds provided that they are properly instructed and that they are old enough to receive from the chalice” (Norms, 47).
There is no set length of time of preparation for the reception of Eucharist for the first time. The National Directory for Catechesis notes that parents and the parish catechetical leader or catechist, together with the pastor, are responsible for determining when children have attained the age of reason and are ready to receive First Communion. Because reception of the Eucharist, especially for the first time, is integral to the child’s full incorporation into the ecclesial community, the pastor has a responsibility in determining every child’s readiness to receive First Communion. Parents also have the right and the duty to be involved in preparing their children for First Communion (NDC, p. 127).
There is no set age or grade for reception of Eucharist by persons who are developmentally disabled. They may be admitted to the Eucharist if they have some understanding of the person of Jesus, are able to distinguish between Eucharist and ordinary bread and show a desire to receive the Eucharist. [See Policy 214]
Parent preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist often provides a unique opportunity to evangelize and deepen the faith of the parents. The catechesis offered to parents should help them grow in their own understanding and appreciation of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and should empower them to catechize their children more effectively. Parents should understand the importance of praying with their children and training them in the practice of faith. “Children, who participate with their family in the Mass, experience the Eucharistic mystery in an initial way and gradually learn to join with the liturgical assembly in prayer” (NDC, p. 126). “If children…take part in the Mass with their family…they will easily begin to sing and pray in the liturgical community and indeed will already have some initial idea of the Eucharistic Mystery” (DMC, 10). Diocesan Guidelines require parents to be prepared to assist in the catechesis of their children for the sacraments, but leave specification of number of sessions and length of sessions for parents to the discretion of the parish.
Catechesis for Confirmation should follow the pattern recommended for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (see NDC, p. 122) and emphasizes that the sacrament perfects the grace of Baptism, imprinting an indelible character. Confirmation “strengthens the baptismal conferral of the Holy Spirit on those confirmed in order to incorporate them more firmly in Christ, strengthen their bond with the Church, associate them more closely with the Church’s mission, increase in them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and help them bear witness to the Christian faith in words and deeds” (NDC, p. 123). Guidelines and supporting materials are available from the Office for Youth Ministry. [See Policies 310-317]
Many catechetical programs include special liturgies for children, including Eucharistic liturgies. “Young children sometimes are not able to participate fully in Masses that are prepared primarily for adults since they may difficulty understanding the words, symbols, and actions of the Eucharist” (NDC, p. 129). In planning Eucharistic liturgies for children, the directives in theDirectory of Masses for Children should be adhered to.
In addition to systematic catechesis, many parishes provide a separate celebration of the liturgy of the word with children during the Sunday Liturgy. These celebrations promote active participation of children, and provide an opportunity for children to hear the readings proclaimed from the Lectionary for Masses with Children, and personally reflect on what the Scriptures teach them about daily living.
The persons who respond to the invitation to serve as catechists, assistants, team members, office help or in numerous other positions are the greatest resource for parish catechetical and evangelization programs. While the great majority of these ministers are non-compensated, most respond from a sense of commitment and a desire to serve the Lord; some seek self-fulfillment, and some respond because they see a need or simply because a personal invitation was extended. When calling forth and inviting people to serve, DCM’s and Program Coordinators will want to eliminate “volunteer” language as much as possible and to help persons understand that in serving they are responding to their baptismal call. The following suggestions may be helpful in recruiting:
The important service which people provide will continue if people are supported, encouraged and nurtured in their ministry. People should be asked to commit themselves for a specified length of time with the opportunity to renew their commitment if they desire. Some suggestions for nurturing and recognized those who serve are:
(Compiled and adapted from Bannon, William J. and Suzanne Donovan, S.C., Volunteers and Ministry. (New York : Paulist Press, 1983 and Johnson, Douglas W., The Care and Feeding of Volunteers. (Nashville : Abingdon, 1978.
Scheduling of programs and events is a key responsibility of the Director of Catechetical Ministry or Program Coordinator. Well-planned schedules, which take into consideration the needs of all concerned, will do much to facilitate the work of the catechetical or evangelization leader and will avoid unnecessary conflict and tension. Whenever possible, different options for programming will allow for the needs of participants, parents and families to be met. Hints for scheduling:
Keep a running list of tasks which need to be accomplished:
In scheduling parish events, be aware of:
Parish leadership should meet in the early spring to reach a consensus on the scheduling of major programs and events in order to avoid conflict. Schedule dates for all catechetical/evangelization programs—preschool through adult, parent meetings, sacramental celebrations, rehearsals, catechist meetings, staff meetings, rites for RCIA, etc. If you use the parochial school for any sessions, be certain to communicate with the Principal to avoid scheduling conflicts. Once dates are decided, be certain to mark them on the Master Calendar. Check with persons involved and be flexible!! Revise the calendar if there are oversights or mistakes.
An OECM Program Brochure is sent to all Evangelization and Catechetical Leadership in August of each year, and the OECM website lists events as soon as they are confirmed in the Calendar of Events sections. In addition, the diocesan newspaper and the diocesan website publicizes upcoming events.
Setting goals for long-range and short term planning for catechetical and evangelization programs is an essential component of the ministry of the Catechetical or Evangelization Leader. This planning, however, cannot take place in isolation. Members of the pastoral team, coordinators, catechists, team members, parents and parish members should be involved in the planning process. Planning should always consider the persons to whom the program is directed. A program which is successful in one parish may not meet with the same success in another setting.
“…[E]very parish needs to develop a coherent catechetical plan that integrates the various components of the overall program and provides opportunities for all parishioners to hear the Gospel message, celebrate it in prayer and Liturgy, and live it in their daily lives. That plan should reflect the priority of adult catechesis” (NDC, p. 255). There are any number of planning processes which can be used, but in general, the basic planning process includes the following:
(Adapted from Blazier, Kenneth D., Workbook for Planning Christian Education. Valley Forge, Judson Press, 1983.)
Programs of catechesis and evangelization should be subjected to regular evaluation in light of the established goals and objectives.
The following procedure is included for possible reference for parishes that want to develop or revise their Mission or Vision Statement.
Remember that a Parish Mission Statement should be
In addition to the planning of major programs, the DCM, Program Coordinator or other catechetical/evangelization leader will often plan workshops, in-services and meetings and be responsible for coordinating liturgical celebrations for catechists, students teams, catechumens and candidates, adult and parent groups, etc. From time to time, the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry offers courses, workshops and in-services to assist Leadership in these areas.
On the following pages you will find check lists which will help you to prepare for the practical details of the workshops or celebrations you are preparing.
_____________ Step by step description of program
_____________ Approximate time of each step
_____________ Who will do each step?
_____________ What materials/supplies/audio visuals are needed?
_____________ Determine cost of program
_____________ Put on Parish Master Calendar
_____________ Reserve necessary rooms
_____________ Arrange for necessary audio-visual equipment
_____________ Order needed supplies
_____________ Prepare programs/handouts
_____________ Attractive flyers to target audience
_____________ Bulletin and web page announcements
_____________ Announcements at Liturgies
_____________ Personal invitations/word of mouth
_____________ Invite neighboring parishes, if applicable
_____________ Notify Diocesan Newspaper, if applicable
_____________ Email Reminders
_____________ Discuss possible speaker(s) with Pastor.
_____________ Secure speaker(s)
_____________ Confirm speaker in writing, detailing date, place, time, stipend arrangements, etc.
_____________ Secure personnel to help
_____________ Is pre-registration necessary?
_____________ Is there a fee?
_____________ Registration Forms
Evaluation of Program
_____________ When will evaluation take place
_____________ Evaluation forms detailing what was helpful about program, what needs to be improved
_____________ Personal evaluation detailing what went well, what you would change in the future
_____________ Thank you letters to speakers/helpers
_____________ Floor Plan for setup
_____________ White Board, Markers, Cleaner
_____________ Trash Bags/Cans
_____________ Materials for cleanup
_____________ Forms or Sign-in sheets
_____________ Name Tags
_____________ Cash box, receipt book, change
_____________ Audio-Visual equipment, e.g. power point projector
Good to have on hand
A “workshop box” which contains:
_____________ Extension Cord
_____________ Extra Paper/Post it notes
_____________ Paper clips
_____________ Scotch tape/masking tape
_____________ Stapler, staples
_____________ Can opener
_____________ First aid kit
_____________ Cell phone
_____________ Musical Accompaniment
_____________ Cross Bearer
_____________ Eucharistic Minister(s)
_____________ Altar Table
_____________ Altar Cloth
_____________ Candle Holders
_____________ Chairs for Ministers
_____________ Microphone on altar
_____________ Microphone(s) for music group
_____________ Music stands
_____________ Microphone on lectern/ambo
_____________ Large Host (s)
_____________ Pitcher for wine
_____________ Cups for Wine
_____________ Plates/baskets for hosts
_____________ Worship aid for Liturgy
The “establishment of a budget based on stewardship principles what ensure priorities are named as a process for allocating resources” (NDC, p. 247) is considered an important part of any catechetical or evangelization program. In addition to “budgeting” time and talent, the Director of Catechetical Ministry or Program Coordinator may also budget money.
Each catechetical or evangelization leader who is responsible for the financial aspects of a program should prepare a detailed operating budget each year in consultation with the Pastor or his delegate. No matter which method for dispersal of funds is used, the DCM or Program Coordinator should keep accurate, detailed records of all financial transactions. In addition to preparing an anticipated budget, he or she should provide a Financial Statement at the end of each year or more frequently if it is required by the Pastor or pastoral council.
The suggested budget preparation sheets on the following pages may provide assistance in the budget preparation process. The catechetical leader should work closely with the parish bookkeeper to insure accuracy in accounting and budgeting procedures.
Registration Fees _____________
Special Collections for _____________
Religious Education _____________
Other Means (gifts, fundraisers, etc.) _____________
Personnel, Salary, Benefits, Total
Catechetical Ministry _____________ _____________ _____________
Coordinator _____________ _____________ _____________
Coordinator _____________ _____________ _____________
Secretarial Staff _____________ _____________ _____________
Catechists _____________ _____________ _____________
Custodial _____________ _____________ _____________
Office Supplies ___________
Equipment Purchases ___________
Library Supplies ___________
Computer Upgrades ___________
Other ___________ ___________
Other ___________ ___________
Program (compute for each program: preschool, special education, elementary, youth ministry, sacraments, RCIA, adult formation, etc.)
Catechist Formation _____________
Audio-visual purchases _____________
Audio-visual rentals _____________
Workshop/Institute Fees _____________
Professional Literature _____________
Other _____________ _____________
Other _____________ _____________
Anticipated Expenditures _____________
Anticipated Income less _____________
Parish Subsidy _____________
(Adapted from Dennison, Sr. Mary, “To Burn? Or To Burn Out?” In the Vocation and Spirituality of the DRE,. Kelly, Rev. Francis D., ed. (Washington : NCEA), pp. 10-11.
It is important for evangelization and catechetical leadership to know themselves, to set attainable goals and to use common sense in planning programs and activities. Some realistic suggestions to prevent overwork, frustration and fragmentation include:
(Adapted from Flagel, Clarice, The DRE Ministry, Issues and Answers. Dubuque : Wm C. Brown Company 1983, p. 35)
It is the responsibility of the Diocesan Office to recommend textbooks for use in parish catechetical programs. The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry provides a list of Recommended Textbook Publishers on its website.
The series which are recommended have been reviewed by the Office, are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as determined by the Office of the Catechism of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and comply with National Directory guidelines which state that textbooks should:
In addition to the Guidelines mentioned above, our Bishop has offered directives based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church to insure that catechesis which is handed on is not deficient.
Catechetical sessions should make use current media and technology because “as with all communications media, all the dimensions of cyberspace can be used as effective catechetical instruments” (NDC, p. 290). Computers, the internet, email and instant messaging are just of the methods which can be used for communication, publicity, and contact with parishioners, students, parents and catechists. DCM’s, Coordinators and catechists should become familiar with official Catholic websites which offer a wealth of information, current documents, spiritual insights and inspiration.
Dozens of sites provide immediate access to many enriching resources: the daily readings from Sacred Scripture, the prayers of the Church, the liturgical books, the documents of the universal Church and the united States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the writings of the Fathers of the Church and other theological texts, liturgical sources, spiritual reading, Catholic magazine and newspapers, virtual tours of the great cathedrals of the world, close-up looks and expert commentaries on religious art and architecture, and sacred music—to name but a few (NDC pp. 290-291).
Our own Diocesan Website contains a wealth of information regarding parishes and parish websites, personnel, policies, upcoming events, and information from the various offices. A certain amount of caution is advised when using internet for catechetical purposes. “Simply because information is available on the Internet does not make that information true or reliable—even if the website claims to be Catholic” (NDC, p. 291). The OECM website provides links to several reliable Catholic sites. [Visit the OECM Website]
The Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry serves parish catechetical and school programs by providing audio-visual and curriculum resources at the Media and Resource Center. Videos and DVD’s which support catechetical and evangelization programming can rented from the Media Center. An extensive catalog which including descriptions of each audio visual may be found on our website. [Visit the OECM Website for Media Catalog]
It is possible to reserve Media by phone or email. Reserved media may be obtained at thePastoral Center during regular office hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Media may be returned anytime using the Media Return slot at the rear of the Pastoral Center . A complete list of Media policies and procedures can be found on the OECM website. [Visit the OECM Website for Media Policies & Procedures] In addition, the Media andResource Center contains up-to-date examination copies of recommended catechetical curriculum, resources and current periodicals. Materials may be reviewed at the Pastoral Center .
Addressing effectively these pastoral priorities requires first and foremost a renewed commitment by all in the Church to enthusiastically embrace the mission of Christ. This includes individuals, families, parishes and other faith communities, Catholic institutions and agencies, organizations and movements.
Evangelization And Catechesis
Indicators to Determine How a Parish Is Implementing Priority II
An evangelizing parish is a parish where each parishioner
An evangelizing parish is a parish
The evangelization team should reflect the membership of the parish and include its cultural component.
The evangelization team members are persons who
The evangelization team leader should
(adapted from Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us)
The Pastor and other Pastoral leaders will demonstrate a clear commitment to the vision and practice of lifelong growth in the Christian Faith.
Each parish will designate an adult faith formation leader—authorized by the pastor and personally involved in ongoing formation—to assume primary responsibility for implementing the ministry of adult faith formation.
The parish will have a core team of parishioners committed to and responsible for implementing the parish vision and plan for adult faith formation
Each parish will have access to trained catechists to serve the diverse adult faith formation efforts of the parish or region.
“There are different gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord.” 1 Cor. 12:4
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Brom, Bishop Robert H., “Handing on the Faith,” Southern Cross: August 14, 1997.
California Guidelines – “Guidelines for Obtaining the California Catechist Certificate or California Master Catechist Certificate.” Sacramento: California Catholic Conference, 1996.
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CD – Christus Dominus – “Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church,” in Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (New Revised Edition), Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.
CG – “Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium,” Committee on the Laity. Washingotn, D.C.: USCC, 1995.
CT – Catechesi Tradendae – “On Catechesis in Our Time,” in Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (New Revised Edition), Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.
CW—Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord-A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, DC.: USCCB, 2005
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EN – Evangelii Nuntiandi – On Evangelization in the Modern World, in Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Vol. II), Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor. Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1982.
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General Plan – “Unity in Communion and Mission, the General Plan for the Diocese of San Diego,” Diocese of San Diego, January 1, 2000.
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“Guidelines for the Certification of Parish Catechetical and Youth Ministry Coordinators.” Sacramento: California Catholic Conference, 1989.
JW – Justice in the World, National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C.: USCC, 1971.
LEM – Lay Ecclesial Ministry – The State of the Questions, Committee on the Laity. Washington, D.C.: USCC, 1999.
LL – Living Light – “The DRE as a Professional and a Minister,” by Funk, Mary Margaret and Jim De Boy. In Living Light:19-Fall, 1982.
National Statutes, in RCIA – The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – Study Edition. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1988., Appendix 3.
New American Bible. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co, 1970.
Norms – “Norms for the Distribution of Holy Communion under Both Kinds.” Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2002.
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NCEA – Handbook for DRE’s, National Catholic Educational Association. Washington, D.C.: NCEA, copyright pending.
NDC – National Directory for Catechesis, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2005.
OHWB – “Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us – A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States,” National Advisory Committee on Adult Religious Education. Washington, D.C.: USCC, 1999.
PROMISE— “Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2006.
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