Returning once again to its annual commissioning of catechists for ministry to the community, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on Sept. 19 with the theme of “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.”

Catechetical Sunday is “a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated on its website, “[and] for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.”

The image chosen to represent this year’s theme, by the famed artist, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), illustrates the Gospel account of Christ healing a blind man by anointing his eyes.

“The past year has highlighted the urgent need for healing – physical, spiritual, emotional – in ourselves and in our world,” the USCCB site stated. “As our world struggles to heal, complete healing is not possible without Jesus as the Divine Physician. When our souls heal, all heals, despite our suffering.

“The words we pray at Mass, ‘Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed,’ have the power to remind us of, to open our eyes to, the healing that Jesus offers us in the Eucharist which is essential, eternal, and ever open to us,” the statement continued. “We humbly ask him to say the word, and with that prayer, we have faith that, with the fantastic and improbable prospect of Jesus entering under our roof, our souls shall be healed.”

Catechetical Sunday traces its roots to 1935, when the Vatican published a document (“On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education”) urging every country to recognize the importance of passing on the Catholic faith and honor those who teach it.

In the early 1970s, the USCCB began publishing materials to aid and encourage parishes to celebrate Catechetical Sunday at the local level.

Traditionally, on Catechetical Sunday, catechists are formally commissioned for ministry, and they rededicate themselves to this mission in their community.

“In catechesis … we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal,” Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium. “It is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment.”

Resources for parishes and individuals to learn about and celebrate Catechetical Sunday – including videos about healing the wounds of isolation, division and fear – are available online at www.usccb.org/committees/evangelization-catechesis/leadership-institute-catechetical-sunday-2021.