Today is Catechetical Sunday in the Catholic Church!
Since 1935 and the writing of the document “On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education” by the Vatican, one Sunday a year has been set aside to acknowledge the importance of educating the faithful in the Catholic faith. Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sets aside the third Sunday of September as Catechetical Sunday.
The word “catechetical” has it root in the word “catechesis” which is a Greek word meaning “to echo” or to “resound”. Catechesis is also where we derive the word “catechist” from which refers to the volunteer individuals in the church committed to educating the youth and those converting to the faith. The church has asked us to set aside a day each year to commission these dedicated individuals because of the daunting task that they undertake each year to share our faith with the youth.
Parents are truly the main catechists of their children. They prepare from birth the hearts of their children to receive the seeds of the faith. On Catechetical Sunday we therefore not only focus on the work of the catechist but we commend parents and guardians for their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation.
Parents and catechists working together help to prepare the next generation of faith believers by sharing from their hearts what the Lord means to them and what the Lord has done for them in their own lives. Throughout the years the family unit and our understanding of family has changed a great deal. Going hand in hand with that has also been our understanding of educating the youth in the faith. What used to be a one stop/style of teaching the faith has now taken on numerous forms:
At Notre Dame de la Mer we offer the traditional school year model catechetical model in connection with sacramental preparation. We also offer a very popular year round Summer Intensive Program which runs for two weeks in the summer and includes sacramental preparation. This program consists of 30+ hours of religious education presented to the students from 8:30 a.m. to Noon on ten consecutive weekdays in the summer. Sacramental preparation is given in the summer and also continued during the year on set Saturdays with parent meetings being a important part of this program. Home- schooling is a third choice offered. In this case parents contact the religious education office and set up home schooling with the Faith Formation Leader. No family may simply say that their child or children were home schooled for a year if not recorded as such in the parish files. (The home school choice is not permitted during sacramental years.) All our programs require the families to sign covenants which include: attending mass, going to the sacraments, taking part in service projects, saying the rosary, helping their child/children with religious based projects, attending meetings/classes and bringing their child/children to classes or meetings as required. Meeting the needs of families today is not always easy but we do try our best to meet everyone needs by different means.
Lastly, let me express a HUGE thank you to the wonderful men and women who are volunteer catechist at Notre Dame de la Mer Parish. These men and women are blessings to the faith, the children, the parents, the families and the parish of Notre Dame de la Mer, and most importantly to God for their dedication and service in the name of their Love of God. May God bless them with all that they need and all that He alone in His goodness can give to them.
Anna Mae Muryasz