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2010 Catechetical Sunday Materials and You
by Michael E. Steier, D. Min.
Catechetical Sunday is September 19.
Catechetical Sunday is September 19.

Catechetical Sunday signals the start of a new year of opportunities for catechesis, including blessings and commissioning of catechists during weekend Masses and other joyful gatherings.

In the life of each parish, this is an important time for celebrations dedicated to affirming the role of catechists and lifting them up in prayer. It is also an important moment for the parish to consider how each of its members is called to continue to be formed by the Gospel and to proclaim it to others in word and deed.

For about 40 years, the USCCB has provided materials to support this annual catechetical event. Some years, the focus was drawn from the Lectionary readings of the day. In recent years, themes have built on an international or national event or catechetical document. Thus Catechetical Sunday 2008 and 2009 further explored the theme of the International Synod of Bishops with “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” and “Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word.”


Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love

Taking its lead from the USCCB priority on Strengthening Marriage—one of the five priority areas identified by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops—the 2010 theme is “Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love.” Nineteen different articles are provided to explore various aspects of the catechesis surrounding this Sacrament as found in the guidelines for catechesis on the Sacrament of Matrimony in the National Directory for Catechesis (n. 36C, 2).

To celebrate catechesis and catechists on Catechetical Sunday and throughout the year, the USCCB provides resources in English and Spanish. These materials are available online and free of charge at usccb.org/catecheticalsunday. A catechist’s prayer, prayer for catechists, and family commitment prayer are also available.

The following are examples of how these catechetical materials may serve catechetical leaders and catechists engaged in remote, proximate, immediate, or ongoing catechesis in support of the Sacrament of Matrimony.


Priests and Deacons

* Review “Promoting Catechetical Sunday” and identify three ways in which you and the parish can promote Catechetical Sunday more effectively this year.
* Remind each presider and homilist to use the available homily helps and to lead the “Commissioning Service” after the homily on September 19.


Catechetical Leaders

* Work with the parish bulletin editor to schedule when the bulletin inserts on this year’s theme will be included in the weekly bulletin, especially “Responsibility and Joy: Catechesis and the Promotion and Protection of Marriage” and “Formation in Human Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Life.”
 * Order your “Catechist Certificates” and posters, and download clip art to promote the day.


Catechists

* Use “Responsibility and Joy: Catechesis and the Promotion and Protection of Marriage” as a resource for teaching about the Sacrament of Matrimony in middle and junior/senior high school programs, campus ministry, and the RCIA.
* Attend the “Opening of the Year In-Service for Catechists and Catholic School Teachers.”


Catechists of Engaged Couples

* Create opportunities for reflection on these articles during your sessions: “A Model for Immediate Catechesis for the Sacrament of Marriage;” “Theological Reflection on the Theme: ‘Marriage: Sacrament of Enduring Love’;” “Theology of the Body: A Catechesis into the Fullness of Love;” “Responsibility and Joy: Catechesis and the Promotion and Protection of Marriage;” “Celebrating the Rite of Marriage;” “Scriptural Reflections on Marriage and Marital Love.”


Parents and Families   

* Cultivate the “domestic church” with resources such as “Family Commitment Prayer,” “The Christian Family and the Evangelization of Children,” and “Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter Reflections: Cultivating the Gift of Self.”


Adult Faith Formation

* Offer a six-week session or full-day workshop on Matrimony using the downloadable articles as the starting point for conversation.
* Invite married couples to an after-Mass discussion on “Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love.”

Take a look. Enjoy the resources. Sharpen your understanding of the opportunities and challenges that face those who embrace the vocation to Marriage today. And pray that each baptized man and woman who is called to the Sacrament of Matrimony may invite Jesus Christ into their marriage and become, through grace, powerful signs of God’s love for Christ and Christ’s love for the Church.


Dr. Steier is Associate Director of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, USCCB. He is General Editor for the 2010 Catechetical Sunday materials. He and his wife, Joyce, live in Bowie, MD. They are the proud parents of four young adults, two of whom are married.




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