“Kerygmatic catechesis, which goes to the very heart of the faith and grasps the essence of the Christian message, is a catechesis which 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 fullness of life.” (DC 2) Additionally, “Catechesis as mystagogic initiation introduces the believer into the living experience of the Christian community, the true setting of the life of faith.” (DC 2) All elements of a parish’s faith formation curriculum should focus on supporting a kerygmatic catechesis that includes mystagogical experiences. The following information will help leaders to ensure that catechetical materials are grounded in these characteristics.
If you need assistance in selecting a catechetical series, adapting religion curriculum standards, or planning safe environment lessons for your faith formation program, don’t hesitate to contact us.
All curricula for parish faith formation programs must be aligned with the goals, tasks, sources, and methodology of catechesis as outlined in chapters II and VII of the Directory for Catechesis:
- Goals of Catechesis: “At the center of every process of catechesis is the living encounter with Christ. ‘Accordingly, the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.’” (DC 75)
- Tasks of Catechesis: “The faith, in fact, demands to be known, celebrated, lived, and turned into prayer. In order to form believers for an integral Christian life, catechesis therefore pursues the following tasks: leading to knowledge of the faith; initiating into the celebration of the mystery; forming for life in Christ; teaching to pray; introducing to community life.” (DC 79)
- Sources of Catechesis: “The sources which catechesis draws upon are to be considered as being interrelated: one points to the other, while all can be traced back to the word of God, of which they are an expression.” (DC 90) The sources of catechesis include: the Word of God in Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium, the liturgy, the testimony of the saints and martyrs, theology, Christian culture, and beauty.
- Methodology in Catechesis: “The mystery of the incarnation inspires catechetical pedagogy. This also has implications for the methodology of catechesis, which must refer to the word of God and at the same time attend to the authentic demands of human experience. It is a matter of living out fidelity to God and humanity in order to avoid any contrast, separation, or indifference between method and content.” (DC 194)
Parish Catechetical Leaders may select the religion curriculum they deem is best suited for their parish community. We offer the following recommendations on curriculum selection:
- Main catechetical textbooks must be included in the USCCB Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series.
- For sacramental preparation materials and supplemental religion curricula, it is highly recommended that those texts be included on the USCCB Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series.
- Catechetical leaders are advised to make religion curriculum selections in consultation with the pastor and religious education board members.
- Comparison with the Office of Catholic Schools Religion Curriculum Standards (more information below) will help to ensure a catechetical series meets religion standards that are in alignment with Renew My Church principles.
- For assistance with discerning the religion curriculum best suited to your parish needs, contact the Office of Lifelong Formation Senior Coordinator of Children and Family Ministry.
The Office of Catholic Schools recently released NEW Religion Standards for use in all archdiocesan grammar schools beginning Fall 2021. Please note that parishes are not required to implement these standards in the upcoming pastoral year.
As background, the Office of Lifelong Formation did consult on the development of these standards for Catholic schools, which align with Renew My Church principles for meaningful formation and spiritual growth, as well as with the current Directory for Catechesis. That said, we recognize the distinct nature of parish faith formation, particularly as Renew My Church inspires us to continually reimagine parish ministries and the COVID-19 pandemic further reshapes how we accompany children and their families in their journeys as missionary disciples. The archdiocese will continue to discern how best to integrate these standards, in letter or in spirit, into parish-based formation of children.
While parishes are not required to utilize these standards, your feedback regarding how they might best be implemented in the parish context is welcomed and encouraged. If you do plan to implement these standards in your parish program, please contact us to let us know.
“The Church’s solicitude for persons with disabilities springs from God’s way of acting. Following the principle of the incarnation of the Son of God, who makes himself present in every human situation, the Church recognizes in persons with disabilities the call to faith and to a life that is good and full of meaning.“ (DC 268)
- Special Religious Education Program (SPRED)
It’s important that individuals with special needs have access to educational programs tailored to help them grow in their faith. SPRED aims to help families contact parishes across the archdiocese.
- Catholic Office of the Deaf
An agency of the Archdiocese of Chicago that provides support for the hearing impaired and their families through its programs and services, including religious education. Please click here for a list of signed/interpreted masses in the Archdiocese of Chicago.