When we encounter Christ, our natural inclination is to want to know more about Him and His Church. And the more we get to know Christ, the more willing we are to open our hearts to His transforming love. We are all called to a life-long journey of formation, to deepen our faith, to learn more, and to grow as witnesses and become missionary disciples.
We use the word “catechesis” to describe the way in which we learn more about Christ and the Church and how we share this faith knowledge with others. Our Office of Lifelong Formation offers online formation courses, adult formation opportunities, sacramental preparation tools and many resources for youth, young adults, adults and families. We encourage you to explore this section of our department website to learn more.
Here we offer a few resources to help deepen our knowledge about Christ through Sacred Scripture, and learn more about the mission of the Church that calls each of us to introduce Christ and His message to others through evangelization.
Scripture an essential part of a faithful life and central to developing our relationship with Christ. Reading and praying with Scripture not only helps us learn about who Jesus is and what he did, but it also helps us understand how God is guiding our lives today. Studying and learning Scripture can be fulfilling for both our heads and hearts. Below are some resources to help us learn more about God’s Word.
The Word Made Clear
This website was developed by Fr. James McIlhone, Scripture Scholar and priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as a free resource for all those interested in studying Sacred Scripture. There are handouts, videos and discussion questions for each session — everything needed to study scripture individually or with a small group (Link).
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
The Bishop’s Conference, made up of all the bishops in the United States of America, provides a few study materials on scripture (Link).
For an online version of the Bible as well as daily Scripture readings, visit the USCCB website.
Evangelization is the mission of the Church: We are called to share the Good News. For more than forty years, popes, bishops and councils have helped us understand evangelization and what it means in today’s world. Below are documents dating from 1975 to 2014 that may help teach us in our mission to evangelize.
On Evangelization in the Modern World
On Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi), Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI (December 8, 1975): This Exhortation by Pope Paul VI was given ten years after the Second Vatican Council. It helped to define what Catholics mean by “evangelization,” and how we are all called to evangelize in new ways to meet the changing realities of our time. (Click Here)
Catechesis in Our Time
Catechesis in Our Time (Catechesi Tradendae), Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II (October 16, 1979): This Exhortation by St. John Paul II helps to define catechesis, the transmission of faith, in the context of the current world. It deals with the formation of great deal with the formation of children and youth, but also encourages that Christians have a responsibility to catechize all peoples. (Click Here)
Go and Make Disciples
Go and Make Disciples, A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States (1990) United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This plan was drafted after consultation with dioceses all throughout the country and is intended to be a basic roadmap for evangelization in our U.S. context. (Click Here)
New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith
The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, Synod of Bishops 2012. This Synod of Bishops was called by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the importance of evangelization in the modern world and what evangelization should look like to meet the realities and challenges of the modern world. (Click Here)
Perspectives for the Synod on the New Evangelization
Perspectives for the Synod on the New Evangelization, A View from the U. S., by Rev. Frank P. DeSiano, CSP, Paulist Evangelization Ministries. In this article, Fr. DeSiano seeks to help us understand how the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization connects to the realities of our U.S. context. (PDF)
Disciples Called to Witness
Disciples Called to Witness, A statement by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, USCCB. This statement is the U.S. Bishop’s response to the need for direction and resources on evangelization due to the 2012 Synod. This document gives both context for evangelization historically as well as in our current times and helps to give directions to evangelization efforts. (Click Here)
The Joy of the Gospel
The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium), Pope Francis 2013. Pope Francis’s first Apostolic Exhortation is both challenging and encouraging. He tells us that we are called to be “missionary disciples,” people who encounter and know Christ, and, because of that encounter, we go out to share that Good News with others. It encourages us all to be “missionary disciples,” and to recognize that we do not need to go far to find the people on the margins for whom we are called to be witnesses. (Click Here)
Additional Church Resources for Learning More
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The teachings of the Catholic Church all in one place! (Click Here)
Unites States Catechism for Adults (USCCB)
This catechism uses simple language and explanations to explain all the most important teachings of the Church. It is a very practical tool for learning about what we believe. (Click Here)
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
This compendium brings together the major social teachings of the Church. It is the basis for Catholic Social Teaching and helps us understand how we are to live in the world. (Click Here)
Code of Canon Law
The Code of Canon Law is the basic laws of the Church. It is a legal text, but can help to answer questions on all sorts of rites, procedures and practices within the context of our faith and Church lives. (Click Here)
There are many books about evangelization that are quite helpful in understanding this ministry. A few that might be most helpful from a parish perspective include: Divine Renovation: Bringing Your Parish from Maintenance to Mission by Fr. James Mallon; Forming Intentional Disciples:
The Pathway to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell; and Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples edited by Sherry Weddell. More information on these and other books can be found on the 21st Century Catholic Evangelization website.
In addition, the 21st Century Catholic Evangelization website has a comprehensive list of multi-media and online evangelization resources.