Dear Diocesan Family,
On September 19, throughout the United States, the Catholic Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday with the theme of “Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed.” On this day, we recognize and affirm those who have been called to serve as educators in the faith, including our parish faith formation leaders, catechists, youth ministers, and those serving on RCIA teams, marriage preparation teams, and baptism teams.
This occasion provides an opportunity for all the baptized to reflect on their own baptismal calling to live and share the Gospel. The proclamation of faith begins in the family as parents witness love and charity to their children. Parents have the indispensable role as the primary teachers of faith for their children. The foundation of prayer, forgiveness, and service takes root in the home.
The local Church shares with parents this responsibility to accompany one another into a deeper and everlasting relationship with Jesus Christ. The ministry of Catechesis is always part of the evangelizing mission of the Church that invites, leads and accompanies others into a relationship with Jesus. Those who are called to accompany others in this special way are called catechists.
Catechesis literally means, “to echo the Word”. The Word incarnate is our savior, Jesus Christ. “As catechists, we proclaim the Good News that Jesus is with us to heal our brokenness. This means that we should see the ministry of catechesis as a ministry of healing! Through our catechesis, we aim to invite others to receive the healing grace of Jesus in their lives and to bring that healing to the world.” (Joe Paprocki, Loyola Press)
This year, in particular, as we hopefully emerge from a pandemic, may our prayer be, “Say the word, and my soul shall be healed.” Let us emerge with healing from the Divine Physician, Jesus Christ, not only physically, but spiritually! Let us rejoice in knowing Jesus is always with us and shares himself with us in the Holy Eucharist.
Together as a diocesan Church let us affirm those called to “echo the Word” in the various catechetical ministries of the Church. As we commission them on this Lord’s Day, may the prayers of the community bless them in their devotion to proclaiming the Gospel! Our parish leaders may find attached to this letter a Commissioning ceremony to inaugurate the new catechetical year.
Please be assured of my prayers for all who teach the faith and for those who are their students. May God grant them a bountiful harvest!
In the name of Jesus,
Most Rev. Douglas J. Lucia
Bishop of Syracuse