Welcome to the

Institute on the Catechism


“ Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.”
~ (Eph 4:15-16)

Institute Vision

At the heart of the Church’s mission to all people, an evangelizing catechesis seeks to deepen a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit: It proclaims the core message of the Gospel, the kerygma; it accompanies people to a response of faith and conversion to Christ; it provides a systematic exposition of God’s revelation within the communion of the Catholic Church; and it sends out missionary disciples as witnesses to the good news of salvation.

Frequently Asked questions

The Institute on the Catechism is a work of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catechism, as a means of reimplementing its mandate to oversee the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in catechetical materials in the United States. It is at the service of the Catholic Church in the United States through its partnership with the Bishops of the United States, Catholic catechetical publishers, and diocesan leaders.

 

Three Specific Reasons for the Institute:

 

    1. The Subcommittee on the Catechism's Conformity Review Process Achieved much of its Goal then Plateaued
      • Established use of the Catechism and cooperation from publishers
      • Unable to address rising challenges related to: Christian anthropology​, Sacred Scripture, apologetics, faith and science, and the new atheism
      • Unable to expand audience
      • Unable to respond to the need for an inculturated Hispanic catechesis​

 

    1. Significant changes in the catechetical landscape
      • Growing disaffiliation from the faith
      • Mission and the encounter with Christ
      • Increased technology in catechesis

 

  1. A need to implement the new Directory for Catechesis 
    • Fulfill the responsibilities proposed for the Episcopal Conference
    • Establishing centers to support catechist formation
    • Focus on the relationship between catechesis and evangelization

The Institute is a much-needed formation and visioning resource for diocesan bishops to work with the content creators and diocesan staff responsible for overseeing the teaching of the faith. The Institute aims to establish a formation structure that offers bishops, clergy, diocesan directors of faith formation and evangelization, directors of catechesis, school superintendents, Catholic publishers, and catechetical consultants one structure to work from.

 

The goals of the Institute include: 

  1. To follow the vision of "evangelizing catechesis” as set forth by the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis and the Subcommittee on the Catechism, following the guidance of the Directory for Catechesis.
  2. To accompany Bishops in their work as the chief catechists in their dioceses.
  3. To accompany Diocesan directors, Instituted Catechists, those who oversee catechist formation, those who oversee Catholic education, those who oversee priestly and diaconate formation, and all involved in the work of catechesis who are at the service of their Bishop, to discover and support effective methods of proclaiming an evangelizing catechesis in their dioceses.
  4. To accompany catechetical publishers in the development of materials that are kerygmatic, evangelizing, and faithful to the teaching of the Catechism.
  5. To work for a cultural shift in the field of catechesis towards a culture that supports and facilitates evangelizing catechesis.
  6. To develop a greater inculturation in catechetical formation, especially for Spanish-speaking audiences in the United States.
  7. To sustain ongoing formation for the various collaborators in the Institute.

Christ commanded his followers to “go out and make disciples” (Mt. 28:19), but in these uncertain times it feels as if we are barely able to keep the Church together. We may ask why are so many young people leaving the Church and what can we do about it? Has the Lord forgotten about us? Recently, some have claimed that the faith of many Catholics has been shaken or lost surrounding the topics of abortion and the elections, debates on gender ideology and Church teaching on anthropology, and belief in the holy Eucharist. Are these causes of our spiritual illness or symptoms of a deeper malaise? When the pandemic pressured the local government and Church leaders to close churches for months, many feared “good Catholics” would simply forget to return to Church. Could the fear of people not returning in large numbers be a symptom of a deeper fear, perhaps the fear that most Catholics have no idea what the life of faith is actually about? Could someone who knows and loves Jesus Christ want to take a break from him?

 

Yet we now know that most Catholics attending Sunday mass and those that attend only on holidays have the same erroneous belief about the symbolic presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Why is that and how did we arrive here? A PEW study from 2019 indicated that 69% of Catholics no longer believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Is this number a cause or a symptom, because if we are going to put our energies into addressing it we have to know the difference. Numerous studies, such as those by Dr. Christian Smith (Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone From the Church, 2014), James Emery White (Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, 2017), Saint Mary’s Press and CARA (Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics, 2017), all published before the 2018 abuse crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, had already alerted us of a rising number of young people disaffiliating from the faith as early as 10-12 years old. Today, that number is closer to 8-10 years old. These are not millennials or young adults disaffiliating from the faith (a fact we already knew), they are children who come to mass with their parents, attend Catholic Schools, are in religious education programs, or have at least one member in their family who is a practicing Catholic. These children are leaving the Church right after preparing for First Penance, First Holy Communion, or after Confirmation, including those who come through the RCIA process. These are all symptoms of a malaise in the Church and we should all be deeply concerned.

 

We have a response. It is only by taking seriously the Church’s imperative for evangelizing catechesis that we can respond to the challenges our diocesan offices and parishes face. We invite you to be a part of the Institute on the Catechism which will directly address these challenges and invite us to new opportunities as a missionary Church.

At the heart of the Church’s mission to all people, an evangelizing catechesis seeks to deepen a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit: 1 It proclaims the core message of the Gospel, the kerygma; 2 it accompanies people to a response of faith and conversion to Christ; 3 it provides a systematic exposition of God’s revelation within the communion of the Catholic Church; 4 and it sends out missionary disciples as witnesses to the good news of salvation.5


1 The Directory for Catechesis (DC) offers a more expanded description in paragraphs 55 and 56.
2 Cf. DC, 2: The kerygma “manifests the action of the Holy Spirit, who communicates God’s saving love in Jesus Christ and continues to give himself so that every human being may have the fullness of life.”
3 Cf. DC, 3: The process of accompaniment leads to an internalizing of the Gospel which “involves the whole person in his unique experience of life.”
4 Cf. DC, 4: “The act of faith is born from the love that desires an ever- increasing knowledge of the Lord Jesus, living in the Church.”
5 Cf. DC, 4: “All believers are active participants in the catechetical initiative…and because of this are called to become authentic missionary disciples.”


In consultation with the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, the key bishop stakeholders come from certain USCCB committees and from the 21 dioceses with publishers in their diocesan territory.


USCCB Committees invited to serve as official Institute collaborators:


  • Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth
  • USCCB Committees invited to serve as official Institute collaborators:
  • Committee on Catholic Education
  • Committee on Doctrine
  • Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth
  • The 21 Bishops who have publishing houses within their diocesan territory

The key groups of collaborators for the Institute are:​


Bishops

The Bishops of the United States, who are the chief catechists of their dioceses, are the first cohort of collaborators in the work of the Institute on the Catechism, as they work to lead their dioceses in growing in an evangelizing catechesis.


Diocesan Leaders in Evangelizing Catechesis 

Those who support the Bishops in their work within their dioceses, are the second cohort of collaborators in the work of the Institute on the Catechism. This includes those who are responsible for the formation of priests and deacons, Diocesan Directors in the work of evangelization and catechesis as they become Instituted Catechists, and all other Instituted Catechists. This also includes those who oversee Catholic education, such as Diocesan Superintendents and other leaders, and it includes Diocesan Censors who review catechetical materials for grades K-12​.


Catholic Publishing Community

The third vital cohort of collaborators in the work of the Institute on the Catechism is the Catholic publishing community, leaders in the development of catechetical materials. This can include publishing heads of house, editors, writers, and theological consultants.


School Superintendents
Superintendents are key in integrating faith into education, offering feedback to shape resources that reflect our Catholic identity. Their efforts ensure educational materials foster a strong spiritual foundation for students, and effectively bridge faith and learning.

Bishops, diocesan directors of catechesis and faith formation, superintendents of Catholic schools, publishers of catechetical materials, and experts in the field will convene June 17 – 20, 2024 at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. This convocation will be a privileged opportunity to learn, share ideas, and return to your diocese with a clearer vision of an evangelizing catechesis, practical strategies for implementing, and access to a network of leaders in the field who can help you along the way. The Convocation of the Institute on the Catechism is held intentionally on holy ground so that the entire experience is rooted in the sacramental and devotional life of the Church.


In the months leading up to the Convocation, the Accompaniment Specialist of the Institute will provide helpful materials to prepare you for the experience. In the months after the Convocation, the Accompaniment Specialist will offer practical ways to put into practice what you have learned at the Convocation. The Institute on the Catechism is committed to accompanying diocesan leaders along the path toward an evangelizing catechesis.

We aim for the root at the local church community by gathering the bishops, their diocesan staff, Catholic Publishing Houses, and catechetical consultants to pray, be formed, discuss, and reach consensus on how the content creators and users will implement an evangelizing catechesis.

From dioceses and eparchies, we invite three to five members of the diocesan curia to include but not limited to: Vicar General, Vicar for Clergy, Chancellor, Director for Religious Education, Superintendent, Director for Parish Life/Evangelization/Faith Formation, Diocesan censors who review catechetical materials for grades K-12.

We invite publishers to attend, as well as those from publishing houses who create catechetical materials such as writers, editors, and theological consultants.

Institute on the Catechism Convocation 2024
June 17-20, 2024 | Mundelein, IL

Evangelizing Catechesis: From Information to Transformation

Address

Transportation

The University of St. Mary of the Lake is approximately 40 minutes by car from O’Hare airport. There are many options for ground transportation to the University using airport shuttles, Uber/Lyft, or rental cars. At the conclusion of the Convocation it will be possible to arrange shared rides back to O’Hare with other participants.

  • Attendees will include diocesan bishops from across the United States, heads of catechetical offices and centers, Catholic school superintendents, and those who produce catechetical materials. This is a unique gathering, and there will be many opportunities to interact and to share hopes, ideas, and concerns.
  • The Directory for Catechesis and an evangelizing catechesis will be the subject of many presentations and break out sessions. This is an opportunity to develop a clearer understanding of how catechetical resources that promote an ‘evangelizing catechesis’ can be at the service of new parish, family, and school initiatives.
  • The new Handbook for the Catechetical Accompaniment Process and plans for its implementation will be unveiled and discussed. This major initiative of the Institute is expected to have a very positive impact upon the integration of an evangelizing catechesis into our parishes and schools.
  • The Convocation takes place on the beautiful grounds of the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The choice to convene on holy ground is deliberate, as this allows each of us to encounter the Lord as we partake of the sacramental and devotional life of the Church. Jesus says, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
  • We will gain insights into the Church Universal throughout the Convocation by the presence of His Excellency, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst  of the Dicastery for Evangelization (subject to his availability and acceptance).
Schedule

Subject to modification

Monday, June 17, 2024

Gathering Time

 

Arrival and check-in to rooms

5:00 pm | Vespers

5:30 pm | Dinner

7:00 pm | Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

8:00 pm | Fellowship

Monday, June 17, 2024

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

DAY 1

Agenda

7:30 am | Morning Prayer

8:00 am | Breakfast

9:00 am  | Plenary Presentation

10:30 am | Mixed, Small Group Discussions

12:00 noon | Holy Mass with Cardinal Blase Cupich

1:00 pm | Lunch

2:00 pm | Focus Tracks

3:30 pm | Roundtable Discussions

5:00 pm | Vespers

5:30 pm | Dinner

6:30 pm | Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Day 2

Agenda

7:30 am | Morning Prayer

8:00 am | Breakfast

9:00 am | Plenary Session: Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst (tentative)

10:30 am | Mixed, Small Group Discussions

12:00 noon | Holy Mass

1:00 pm | Lunch

2:00 pm | Focus Tracks

3:30 pm | Roundtable Discussions, continued interaction with Bishop Tebartz-van Elst
(tentative)

5:00 pm | Vespers

5:30 pm | Social and Dinner

7:30 pm | Holy Rosary at Grotto

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Day 3

Agenda

7:30 am | Morning Prayer

8:00 am | Breakfast

9:00 am | Plenary Session: Going forth

10:00 am | Convocation Evaluation

10:30 am | Holy Mass and Sending Forth

12:00 noon | Lunch To-Go Available

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Convocation Fee:  $450 per person, which includes all meals and lodging at the Conference Center on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening.

Contact Us

Please reach out with your questions and we will respond as soon as possible.
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