Inaugural Meeting November 2022

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)

Evangelizing Catechesis

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

After five years of discernment and consultation with the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, the Subcommittee on the Catechism is re-implementing its mandate in order to respond to the changing catechetical landscape.

 

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​

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

  3. 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. Accompanying publishers in the development of materials that are faithful to the Catechism's teaching and effective in evangelizing
  2. Making the Institute bi-cultural for catechetical formation
  3. Sustaining yearly formation
  4. Establishing a collaboration with USCCB committees and contributing expert institutions
  5. Implementing the Directory for Catechesis
  6. Implementing a vision of "evangelizing catechesis”

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

Two key groups of stakeholders for the Institute are:​


Diocesan staff of all bishops who avail themselves of the Institute's work, e.g.:

    • Vicar for Clergy
    • Vicar General
    • Chancellor
    • Director for Religious Education
    • Superintendent
    • Director for Parish Life/Evangelization/Faith Formation​
    • Diocesan censors who review catechetical materials for grades K-12​

Catholic publishing houses: 

    • Writers
    • Publishers
    • Editors
    • Theological Consultants

There are two distinct meetings, one through diocesan regions and the other is the in-person launch of the Institute in November.

 

Regional Meeting - You will be invited to learn more about the Institute at a virtual regional meeting to take place this Summer. This meeting will be 90 minutes and length and will bring together other diocesan offices to discuss the vision, approach and process for the Institute.

Launch of the Institute - Following these regional meetings, a white paper on what we are hearing in the various regions will be compiled and sent out in advance of the launch of the official Institute on November 10-12, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.

In addition to communicating a vision for evangelizing catechesis, it will include formation, resources and support for evangelizing catechesis in your diocese.

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.

On the diocesan level 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 will be scheduling a special publishers’ meeting in advance of the launch of the Institute given that the publishers’ work is germane to the vision of evangelizing catechesis for each diocese. Suggestions for whom publishers may consider include: Writers, Publishers, Editors, Theological Consultants​.

Proposed Methodology and Application:

 

  1. Governance: The Subcommittee on the Catechism, in consultation with the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, and with collaborating bishops

  2. Yearly Formation Conference: The principal gathering of the Institute on the Catechism
  • Curriculum- The topics and structure for the breakout formation sessions
  • Custom Breakout Sessions- Designed for the groups of participants attending

  1. Ongoing Formation:
    • Opportunities to offer formation throughout the year in tandem with the yearly formation conference
    • Ongoing pro-active accompanying process for publishers

  2. Spanish Inculturation: The curriculum, formation sessions, and ongoing formation will reflect the bi-cultural design of the Institute
Inaugural Meeting of the Institute on the Catechism
November 10-12, 2022 | Baltimore, Maryland

Theme: Evangelizing Catechesis: Speaking the Truth in Love (Eph 4:15)

Addresses

Transportation

Everyday a shuttlebus will leave from the Marriott Waterfront Hotel to the Cathedral and return from the Cathedral to the Marriott. All participants are welcome to ride the shuttlebus, regardless of whether they stay in the Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

Schedule

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Gathering

Day of Recollection and Preparation for Institute Launching Teams

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Thursday, November 10, 2022

DAY 1

Day of Encounter

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

“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…

7:30 AM
Buses depart from Marriott to Cathedral

8:00 – 8:30 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM
Introduction

8:45 AM
Morning Prayer

9:00 AM – 10:45 PM
Retreat with Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT

10:45 AM
Holy Mass

11:15 AM
Time of Prayer (Adoration and Confessions)

12 noon – 1:00 PM
Lunch

1:00 – 4:30 PM
Panel Presentations
~ Evangelizing Catechesis and Anthropology

4:30 PM
Vespers

4:45 PM
Wrap Up and Announcements

5:15 PM
Buses Depart for Marriott
(Dinner not provided this evening)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Friday, November 11, 2022

Day 2

Day of Proclamation

…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied…

“…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;

7:30 AM
Buses depart from Marriott to Cathedral

8:00 – 8:30 AM
Registration, Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM
Introduction

8:45 AM
Morning Prayer

9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Presentations
~ Evangelizing Catechesis, Bi-Cultural Panel

11:45 AM
Holy Mass

12:15 – 1:00 PM
Lunch

1:15 PM
Buses Depart for Seminary

1:45-4:30
Panel Presentations and Break-Outs
~ Evangelizing Catechesis, Bi-Cultural, Anthropology

4:30 PM
Vespers 

5:00 PM
Cocktails

5:30 PM
Dinner Banquet

7:00 PM
Buses Depart for the Marriot

Friday, November 11, 2022

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Day 3

Sending Forth on Mission

…when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.” (Eph 4:15-16)

… and it sends out missionary disciples as witnesses to the good news of salvation who promote a new vision of life, of humanity, of justice, and of human fraternity.” (USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, April 27, 2021)

7:30 AM
Buses depart from Marriott to Cathedral

8:00 – 8:30 AM
Registration, Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM
Introduction

8:45 AM
Morning Prayer

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Breakout Groups (Sending Forth in Mission)

10:30 AM
Holy Mass

11:00 AM
Closing Remarks and Thank You

11:30 AM
Buses Return to the Marriott

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Contact Us

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