The parish based catechetical programs of the Diocese of Phoenix are designed to assist children, youth and families to deeper initial conversion to Christ, and live as disciples of the Lord. “The specific aim of catechesis is to develop, with God’s help, an as yet initial faith, and to advance in fullness and to nourish day by day the Christian life of the faithful, young and old.” (Catechesi Tradendae 20)
In the baptismal rite, the Church prays that the parents will be “the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers.” Family centered catechesis, or catechetical initiatives that seek to involve the parents in their children’s formation, assist parents in their God-given role to teach their children about Jesus Christ and transmit faith in Jesus to their children.
The General Directory for Catechesis outlines the 6 tasks of catechetical formation:
- Promotion of knowledge of the Faith
- Promotion of liturgical worship and participation in the sacramental life of the Church
- Integration of moral formation into a Christian way of life
- Teaching to pray in Christ, with Christ, and in communion with the Church
- Initiation into the life of the local church community and active participation in the life of the Church
- Promotion of a missionary spirit to witness to Christ in society
These tasks are the goals of catechetical formation for all Christians. Frequently, catechesis is thought of as being primarily directed towards children, and particularly destined for those in sacramental preparation. The Church urges, however, that catechesis be directed towards adults as well: “For catechesis to be effective, it must be permanent, and it would be quite useless if it stopped short at the threshold of maturity, since catechesis, admittedly under another form, proves no less necessary for adults.” (CT 43) For this reason, parishes are encouraged to reflect on the role of parents, and provide opportunities for families to encounter Christ together throughout the catechetical process.
The Catechist Formation process of the Diocese of Phoenix is designed to assist parish and school catechists, as well as any adult Catholic, to know and follow Jesus more deeply. In particular, the Catechist Formation process seeks to:
- Facilitate conversion in the life of the catechist.
- Impart to the catechist the story of salvation history, developing the foundation for Biblical catechesis.
- Provide the catechist with an overview of the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis.
- Train the catechist in the necessary skills to assist in conversion of those they serve and to pass on to them the teachings of Christ.
- Help catechists know the Deposit of Faith through a systematic and complete study of United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA).
Diocesan policy states that all catechists for sacramental preparation (Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Holy Communion) must be certified catechist or at least working towards catechetical certification. It is incumbent on the pastor and/ or his representative (typically the director of the catechetical program) to ensure that at least the sacramental preparation component is taught by certified catechists. Initial catechist certification in the Diocese of Phoenix is solely granted through the Kino Catechetical Institute, either through certification classes at the Diocese of Phoenix, or through parish teaching of the Kino Essentials of the Catholic Faith. Visit the Catechist Formation page on the Kino Institute site for more information.