Office of Catechesis
"The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, 'the mystery of Christ'." -- St. John Paul II, Catechesi tradendae, no. 5
Realizing that "faith lives in the hearts of believers" (GDC, no. 105), the Office of Catechesis encourages and inspires the catechetical leaders and catechists in the Diocese of Brownsville to embrace and live their faith in Jesus Christ and in his Gospel, so that they may effectively transmit it to the students enrolled in the parish programs of religious formation and education.
The Office of Catechesis provides formation, programs, resources, advocacy and support to pastors, catechetical leaders and catechists and helps them plan, evaluate and update staff and programs through continuing education and retreats.
"[T]he name of catechesis was given to the whole of the efforts within the Church to make disciples, to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, [...] and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ. The Church has not ceased to devote her energy to this task."
John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae, no. 1
"Catechesis is nothing other than the process of transmitting the Gospel, as the Christian community has received it, understands it, celebrates it, lives it and communicates it in many ways."
Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis, no. 105
"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."
USCCB, National Directory for Catechesis, no. 19
"Catechesis is the act of handing on the Word of God intended to inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about the teachings of Christ, transmitted by the Apostles to the Church.
Catechesis also involves the lifelong effort of forming people into witnesses to Christ and opening their hearts to the spiritual transformation given by the Holy Spirit."
USCCB, Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis
In the past few years, there has been a change in the way we refer to the mission of handing on the faith. Most continue to call it Religious Education while some have begun to name it Faith Formation. Historically in the Diocese of Brownsville, our parishes have used one or more of the following names to refer to this mission of the Church:
- Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD)
- Parish School of Religion (PSR)
- Religious Education (RE)
- Continuing Christian Education (CCE)
- Faith Formation (FF)
In the Diocese of Brownsville, Faith Formation typically refers to Religious Education for Children and Youth (K-12). In addition to this grade-level catechesis, a child or young person would be expected to have an additional time set aside for either Sacramental Preparation and/or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Preparation.
Some of our parishes also provide Adult Faith Formation, since it should be the primary task of catechesis at the parish.
Below are listed other types of catechesis that take pace at some of our parishes:
- Inter-generational Catechesis
- Family Catechesis
- Liturgical Catechesis
- Whole Community Catechesis