This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 20, 2020. This year’s theme is I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds the faithful that, “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. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.”
Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis Chairman Bishop Robert Barron explained this year’s Catechetical Sunday theme, taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “focuses on the essential work of catechesis, which is an invitation to a whole new life given by Christ Himself. It emphasizes that living faith necessitates movement, inspiring all those who hear the Word to share it as witnesses of the true and living God.”
While parents are the primary teachers of the faith, we recognize this Sunday, the importance of the many catechists in our parishes. Those men and women who dedicate many volunteer hours passing along the beauty and traditions of our Catholic faith. Although aware of the many challenges parishes are facing offering religious education this year, I am already very encouraged by the implementation of innovative methods by Directors of Religious Education. Please know of my prayers for all involved in every aspect of Faith Formation this year.
Directory for Catechesis
A new Directory for Catechesis was issued from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization in June 2020. According to the USCCB, “This Directory presents fundamental theological-pastoral principles for the ministry of catechesis while responding to current social conditions and cultural forces that shape the church’s communication of the Faith. The Directory affirms the presentation of the Catholic faith articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a sound point of reference for instruction while drawing deeply from Scripture and the writings of recent popes, especially Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium.” The USCCB has created a short video series to provide insights into eight new emphases that it proposes. The video series can be viewed here.
Youth and Young Adult Commission Recommendation
At the conclusion of its work last year, the Youth and Young Adult Commission that met as part of the Fall River Diocesan Rebuilding in Faith and Hope planning initiative submitted a report to me. In it, the Commission pointed out correctly that, ‘The future growth of the Church depends upon our ability to effectively evangelize youth and their families.’
An integral part of that recommendation called for the creation of a senior-level position to oversee the implementation, development, and effectiveness of this unified and comprehensive approach, and an extensive search process was launched earlier this year to find the right candidate for the post. I named a Fall River native, David G. Carvalho, as the new Senior Director, Youth, Young Adult, and Family Life Ministries for the Fall River Diocese, who began working in this position on August 24, 2020.
The Senior Director position will serve as the linchpin in the implementation of the Commission’s other recommendations to strengthen and expand our efforts in ministry to our young people and families. David has a strong background and possesses a true desire to nurture discipleship; I am confident he is prepared to lead us forward.
The Diocesan Faith Formation Office will offer an online adult Confirmation preparatory program this fall for adults 18 and older who wish to receive the sacrament. Essential Catholicism: A Preparation Course for Adult Confirmation will be conducted online on six consecutive Thursday evenings, beginning October 15. Each session will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
It will be my honor to celebrate the Adult Confirmation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, for any adult candidate who is at least 18 years of age and has completed the preparatory instruction. For more information, including registration details, please contact your parish office or visit the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation website.
To all the catechetical leaders, catechists, youth ministers, and all ministers who serve and pass on the faith to our new generation, please know you have my support, prayers, and best wishes. The young people of our diocese need your witness, faith, support, and encouragement. What a blessing for us to now give to a new generation, the faith we received. On this Catechetical Sunday, I offer you my blessing and gratitude for all that you do.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha