Saturday, October 10, 2020

Lay Catechists

On behalf of the Church, I would like to thank all of you, catechists in the parishes, lay people, men and numerous women throughout the world who are devoting yourselves to the religious education of many generations. Your work is often humble and hidden but it is carried out with ardent and generous zeal, and it is an eminent form of the lay apostolate, a form that is particularly important where for various reasons, children and young people do not receive a suitable religious formation at home. How many of us have received from people like you our first notions of catechism and our preparation for the sacrament of Penance, for our first Communion and Confirmation! The fourth general assembly of the synod certainly did not forget you. Along with it, I encourage you to continue your collaboration for the life of the Church.

But the term “catechists” belongs above all to the catechists in mission lands. Born of families that are already Christian or converted at some time to Christianity and instructed by missionaries or by another catechist, they then consecrate their lives, year after year, to catechizing children and adults in their own country. Churches that are flourishing today would not have been built up without them. I rejoice at the efforts made by the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to improve more and more the formation of these catechists. I gratefully recall the memory of those whom the Lord has already called to himself. I invoke the intercession of those whom my predecessors have raised to the glory of the altars. I wholeheartedly encourage those engaged in the work. I express the wish that many others may succeed them and that they may increase in numbers for a task so necessary for the missions.

(Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II, No 66, October 16, 1979.)