On May 10, 2021, Pope Francis promulgated an apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium, (AM) Instituting the Ministry of Catechist.
The role of discipleship and being a faith-filled witness is a key aspect in the document.
The role played by catechists is one specific form of service among others within the Christian community. Catechists are called first to be expert in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops through its different stages from the initial proclamation of the kerygma to the instruction that presents our new life in Christ and prepares for the sacraments of Christian initiation, and then to the ongoing formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of the hope within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). At the same time, every catechist must be a witness to the faith, a teacher and mystagogue, a companion and pedagogue, who teaches for the Church. Only through prayer, study, and direct participation in the life of the community can they grow in this identity and the integrity and responsibility that it entails (cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Directory for Catechesis, 113).
– AM, 6
It is a short document, about 2500 words, that will put into motion a formal establishment of lay catechists (as opposed to those in consecrated life), through stronger formation, across the globe.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will soon publish the Rite of Institution of the lay ministry of Catechist.
[The Pope invites] the Episcopal Conferences to render effective the ministry of Catechist, determining the necessary process of formation and the normative criteria for admission to this ministry and devising the most appropriate forms for the service which these men and women will be called to exercise in conformity with the content of this Apostolic Letter.
– AM, 9
Being a Catechist is Vocation, Pope says, from Catholic News Service
What is the new ministry of catechist? A CNA explainer, here.
A good summary of the new document and its effects can be found in this Rome Reports video below: