Celebrated this year Sept. 18, Catechetical Sunday is “a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel,” as described by the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The observance of Catechetical Sunday begins the catechetical year throughout the nation and world, and affirms the work of those who impart the faith: parish religious education teachers, religion teachers in Catholic schools, leaders of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and adult faith formation leaders.

During Masses that weekend, parishioners designated as catechists by their parish communities throughout the Diocese and the nation will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry, and rededicate themselves to this mission. Parish congregations are invited to say a prayer over the catechists, asking for God’s blessing on their critical work.

Following the initiative of the National Eucharistic Revival begun in June, the theme for 2022’s celebration is: “This is my body given for you.” 

“We all agree that such a revival is needed today. And we know that we catechists will be vital to the revival’s success,” wrote Dr. James Pauley in a document “The Eucharist and Kerygmatic Catechesis,” available for download on the USCCB website.

Dr. James Pauley is professor of theology and catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and has been appointed to the executive team of the Eucharistic Revival. He is editor of the Catechetical Review and an author on catechetical renewal.

“Alongside the need for the Eucharistic Revival, there is considerable enthusiasm these days for the idea that catechesis needs to become more evangelistic,” Dr. Pauley wrote. “Catechists today know that merely explaining the Faith is insufficient, considering the cultural challenges in which we live.”

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.

The USSCB website offers many additional online resources for Catechetical Sunday, available free of charge to all interested individuals and to serve the needs of diocesan leaders, at www.usccb.org/committees/evangelization-catechesis/catechetical-sunday-2022.