“Within the whole process of evangelization, the aim of catechesis is to be the teaching and maturation stage, that is to say, the period in which the Christian, having accepted by faith the person of Jesus Christ as the one Lord and having given Him complete adherence by sincere conversion of heart, endeavors to know better this Jesus to whom he has entrusted himself: to know His "mystery," the kingdom of God proclaimed by Him, the requirements and promises contained in His Gospel message, and the paths that He has laid down for anyone who wishes to follow Him.” - Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation ‘Catechesi Tradendae’ par. 20
Catechesis is one part of the evangelization of the person. It is of the utmost importance to stress that catechesis is the stage in the Christian life that comes after initial conversion to Jesus Christ. In order for catechesis to be a fruitful endeavor it must be preceded by an initial evangelization of the person who is to be instructed. If this order is not respected, catechesis often becomes a frustrating experience for those who attempt to carry it out.
In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, Pope Francis explains that “Evangelization aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. All of us need to grow in Christ. Evangelization should stimulate a desire for this growth.” He then goes on to point out that “education and catechesis are at the service of this growth.” (EG 160,163)
Catechesis cannot be considered in isolation from the entire process of evangelization. As disciples participating in ministry, we seek to bring the people entrusted to us through a process of continually increasing their resolve to live their lives in and for Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis further explains that the process of growth that we bring the faithful through includes:
- The initial proclamation of the basic mysteries of our faith (kerygma) to a person
- An acceptance by that person of that message and an initial conversion to Jesus
- Accompaniment of the person in the process of growth, which among other aspects includes catechesis that:
- Develops the initial proclamation of our faith
- Incorporates the celebration of holy Mass (liturgy) and its symbols
- Utilizes sacred forms of art that show the beauty of our faith
- Teaches us the moral precepts necessary to live a life in Christ
Our hope is that the resources we present will help you in your efforts to evangelize and catechize the people God has entrusted to you.