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The National Directory for Catechesis . An Introduction for Parish Catechists and Catholic School Teachers.

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the national directory for catechesis

The National Directoryfor Catechesis

An Introduction for

Parish Catechists


Catholic School Teachers

a document for our times
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

MT 28:19-20a

A Document for Our Times
  • Renewal of catechesis called for by Vatican II
  • General Catechetical Directory: 1971
  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: 1972
  • On Evangelization in the Modern World: 1976
  • U.S. National Catechetical Directory: 1979
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1987
  • General Directory for Catechesis: 1998
  • U.S. National Directory for Catechesis: 2005
goals of the new directory
Goals of the New Directory
  • To provide basic theological and pastoral principles for catechesis in the U.S.
  • To offer guidelines for the application of these principles that will continue the renewal of catechesis in the U.S.
  • To set for the nature, purpose, object, tasks, basic content, and various methodologies of catechesis
relationship to the catechism of the catholic church
Relationship to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • The Catechism provides the content for catechesis.
  • The National Directory for Catechesis (NDC) focuses on the context, meaning, and methodologies for catechesis.
  • The NDC also provides a concise summary of the catechesis of the Catechism.
general overview of the ndc
General Overview of the NDC
  • The Context and Meaning of Catechesis

(Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2)

  • The Content and Method of Catechesis (Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • The People Who Do Catechesis

(Chapters 7, 8)

  • Organization and Resources for Catechesis

(Chapters 9, 10)

chapter 1 proclaiming the gospel in the united states
Chapter 1:Proclaiming the Gospel in the United States
  • Wide variety of ethnic cultures and religious practices across the United States
  • The general characteristics of U.S. culture:

freedom, pragmatism, science/technology, globalization, and mobility

  • The important influence and role of the Catholic family in faith formation
demographics of u s catholics
Demographics of U.S. Catholics
  • Population: more than 62 million
  • Better educated and more affluent than at Vatican II
  • Ethnic balance similar to that of US.

(Exceptions: slightly fewer African-American; more Hispanic)

  • More ethnically diverse than Church in any other country
  • Significant differences in attitudes among generations
  • Half million Eastern Rite Catholics in U.S.
pastoral life in u s church
Pastoral Life in U.S. Church
  • More Catholics, fewer priests
  • Number of parishes without resident priests has increased 11% since 1980.
  • Size of parish populations growing
  • Fewer young people in Catholic schools; more in parish religious education
  • One third of all parishes minister to more than one ethnic group.
  • One third of parishes are rural.
for discussion

For Discussion

What are three cultural issues or influences in your parish or school?

What effect do these issues have on how you catechize?

signs of vitality in catechesis in the u s
Signs of Vitality in Catechesis in the U.S.
  • Strong published catechetical programs
  • Increasing ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity
  • Greater emphasis catechist formation
  • Growth of lay ministry
  • Wide implementation of RCIA
  • Stronger sense of Church’s mission in catechesis
  • Stronger efforts in adult faith formation
more signs of vitality
More Signs of Vitality
  • Strengthening of Youth Ministry
  • Outreach of Catholic schools to the poor and disadvantaged
  • Growing emphasis on Church’s social justice teaching
  • Attention to communication technology in catechesis
chapter 2 catechesis and evangelization
Chapter 2: Catechesis and Evangelization
  • Evangelization is the call of every Christian.
  • Evangelization to the world and to members of the Church as well
  • A “New Evangelization”:
    • Called for by John Paul II
    • Addressed to the Church herself
      • To the baptized never effectively evangelized
      • To those whose faith needs refreshing
      • To those who are alienated
discipleship the goal of catechesis
Discipleship: The Goal of Catechesis

Catechesis aims to bring about in the believer an ever more mature faith in Jesus Christ, a deeper knowledge and love of his person and message, and a firm commitment to follow him.

NDC 1.19A

catechesis as a moment in the process of evangelization
Catechesis as a Moment in the Process of Evangelization
  • Inspired by baptismal catechumenate
  • Source of catechesis: Scripture and Tradition
  • Object: intimate relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Tasks:
    • Knowledge of the Faith
    • Participation in liturgical and sacramental life
    • Moral formation
    • Learning to pray
    • Preparation and participation in community
    • Developing a missionary spirit
inculturating the message
Inculturating the Message
  • Inculturation both adapts the message to each culture and attempts to correct the culture where necessary.
  • Catechesis must be inculturated so that it will take root effectively.
  • Inculturation allows faith to connect with life so that people will be disposed to receive Jesus.
for discussion17

For Discussion

What would make your catechesis more evangelizing?

What is one way that you have tried to inculturate the Gospel message?

3 the faith of the church
3. The Faith of the Church
  • Chapter 3 summarizes the criteria for authentic presentation of the Gospel message.
  • Scripture, the CCC, the General Directory for Catechesis, and the NDC are complementary sources for the message.
  • Scripture guides catechesis.
  • The NDC looks to the CCC as the norm for catechetical content.
authentic presentation of the faith
Authentic Presentation of the Faith
  • Trinitarian, yet centered on Christ
  • Presented as Good News of salvation and liberation
  • Comes from and leads to the Church
  • Presents the message within the context of its relationship to salvation history
  • Comprehensive, yet recognizes the hierarchy of truths
  • Inculturates the message
  • Teaches the dignity of the human person
  • Provides learners with a common language of faith
4 divine and human methodology
4. Divine and Human Methodology

God’s methodology:

  • Engages persons in light of their circumstances and capacity
  • Realized gradually
  • Fully achieved in Jesus Christ
  • Told in Scripture and Tradition
  • Source and model of the pedagogy of the truth
human methodologies the ways we come to faith
Human Methodologies:The Ways We Come to Faith
  • Human experience
  • Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ
  • Living in a Christian community
  • Living in a Christian family
  • The witness of catechists
  • Learning by heart
  • Practicing the Christian way of life
  • Apprenticing oneself to faithful Christians
5 catechesis in a worshipping community
5. Catechesis in a Worshipping Community
  • Intrinsically linked with liturgy and sacraments: precedes liturgy and springs from it
  • Places Eucharist at the center
  • Incorporates liturgical and personal prayer
  • Helps to make the signs, symbols, and actions of the liturgy both known and loved
sacramental catechesis
Sacramental Catechesis
  • Appropriate to the age level and maturity of those being catechized
  • Involves the whole community of faith
  • Involves parents in the children’s formation
  • Integrates with a comprehensive catechetical program
  • Focuses on the symbols, rituals, and prayers in each rite
  • Offers an experience of mystagogy
art music time and space in sacramental catechesis
Art, Music, Time, and Space in Sacramental Catechesis
  • Acknowledges God’s presence in time
  • Teaches religious customs and traditions
  • Uses Christian art to catechize
  • Teaches the significance of Church architecture and furnishings
  • Introduces learners to Christian music from the tradition
  • Incorporates sacramentals and popular piety
6 morality catechesis for life in christ
6. Morality: Catechesis for Life in Christ

Catholic Morality:

  • Rooted in the dignity of the human person
  • Respects every human as a free and responsible agent
  • Recognizes that humanity is capable of sin

Moral Catechesis:

  • Presents principles and practice
  • Integrates principles with lived experience
  • Demonstrates the social consequences of the Gospel
social justice
Social Justice
  • Imbedded in the Gospel message
  • A body of doctrine and a living tradition
  • A constitutive element of the Magisterium
  • Individual responsibility for social injustice
  • Obligation of the Church to train members to apply Christian principles to contemporary problems
content of moral catechesis
Content of Moral Catechesis
  • Ten Commandments and Beatitudes as reference points for moral behavior
  • Commandments and Beatitudes to be learned by heart
  • Includes Scripture stories, lives of saints, spiritual and corporal works of mercy, virtues, capital sins
  • NDC provides guidance for teaching each Commandment or Beatitude
for discussion28

For Discussion

What and who has influenced your faith the most?

What insights did you gain from chapters 4, 5, and 6 about how to catechize others?

What area of catechesis seems most challenging to you?

7 catechizing the people of god
7. Catechizing the People of God
  • Growth in faith is related to human growth.
  • Catechesis is lifelong.
  • Adult catechesis is the norm.
  • Adolescent catechesis promotes active discipleship and spiritual growth.
  • The role of the family is crucial to faith development.
  • Structured programs support the family, not vice versa.
catechesis of children
Catechesis of Children
  • School-aged children require a structured parish or school catechetical program.
  • Home-based programs must be coordinated with the parish.
  • Programs must promote respect for pluralism.
  • People with disabilities must be included.
  • Catechesis on ecumenism and religious life must be included, especially regarding Judaism.
9 norms for catechists and religion teachers
9. Norms for Catechists and Religion Teachers
  • Catechists and teachers of religion must be trained through diocesan-approved programs.
  • Requirements for catechists:
    • A love of God and the Church
    • A faithful practice of the Christian life
    • Personal prayer life
    • A missionary zeal to proclaim the Good News
    • Active participation in a parish, including attendance at Sunday Eucharist
    • A devotion to Mary and the Eucharist
conclusions about the ndc
Conclusions about the NDC
  • Provides the fundamental theological and pastoral principles for catechesis in the U.S.
  • A source of inspiration for the “new evangelization” and the renewal of catechesis
  • Guided by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the first and model disciple of Jesus Christ