faith formation

Catechesis: "Echoing back" (*)

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"Catechesis is nothing other than the process of transmitting the Gospel, as the Christian
community has received it, understands it, celebrates it, lives it and communicates it in many
(General Directory for Catechesis, no. 105)

Have you thought about becoming a catechist?

A catechist is often seen as a volunteer who once a week "teaches" a catechetical "class." But being a catechist is much more than that.


In his letter to the International Catechetical Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2017, Pope Francis said that catechesis is “not a job."  Christian life itself is about catechesis or about announcing Christ and his Gospel to the world.  Catechesis literally means "echoing the word."

Being a catechist, says the Pope's message, is a “vocation to the service of the Church, [the faith that] has been received as a gift from the Lord, must in time be transmitted.”

The Holy Father also emphasized the importance of returning to that gift, which was the “first announcement or ‘kerygma’ (**) that changed the catechist’s life.”  This announcement has to accompany the faith that is already present in the “religiosity of our people.”

A catechist, Pope Francis continues, “walks from and with Christ,” and she or he cannot be a person who starts from her or his own ideas and tastes, but from Jesus.

That's why many parishes today call Catechetical Ministry with a new name: Faith Formation.  It was also called: Religious Education, CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine), referring to an association established in Rome in 1562 for the purpose of religious education. 

As of Dec. 31, 2015, there were 3.1 million catechists in the world, a surge from merely 173,000 catechists globally in 1978.

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(*) The word "catechesis" comes from two Greek words ‘kata’, meaning ‘back’, and ‘echo’, meaning ‘echo’. Catechesis means echoing back.  Catechists are called to take what they have learned and have it echo in the young people.

(**) Kerygma (from the Greek "keryssein," to proclaim, and "keryx," herald) refers to the initial and essential proclamation of the gospel message. The word appears nine times in the New Testament. To put it simply, the kerygma is the very heart of the gospel, the core message of the Christian faith that all believers are call to proclaim (source:


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Church of the Ascension

12033 Miller Avenue

Saratoga, California 95070

Phone: 408-725-3939
Fax: 408-725-3932


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