Bishop Mike’s Letter Celebrates Catechists
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with great joy that we celebrate, as Church, this important occasion of Catechetical Sunday, this Sunday, September 18, 2022. The Church, in the United States, celebrates Catechetical Sunday, a day especially set aside, to give thanks to God for the faithful service and witness of those who hand on the salvific message of the Gospel. In our Diocese, there are numerous volunteer catechists and parents, who teach the Faith to the children and their families, enrolled in our parish religious education programs.
The theme of this year’s Catechetical Sunday is: “This is My Body given for you”. Let us recall the words of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (22:15) “He said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” As Pope Francis reminds us, in his Apostolic Letter: Desiderio Desidervadi, “These words of Jesus, with which the account of the Last Supper opens, are the crevice through which we are given the surprising possibility of intuiting the depth of the love of the persons of the Most Holy Trinity for us.”
Jesus eagerly desires to share His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharistic Supper. We in turn become strengthened and edified, and through this intimate reception of His Holy Body, we recognize that our Faith is a gift that is meant to be shared. On this Catechetical Sunday, we give thanks for all who hand on our Faith to others, including parents, catechists, and teachers who lead children, adolescents, and adults to encounter the love of Jesus Christ. These members of Christ’s body, accompany those they teach, inviting them to a deeper connection with the Body of Christ, the Church. What a beautiful privilege this is, as well as a great responsibility!
Pope Francis draws our attention, to this call of evangelization, in his Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, Antiquum Ministerium: Instituting the Ministry of the Catechist”6). It requires that the laity “seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will” (cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 31.) In their daily life, interwoven with family and social relationships, the laity come to realize that they “are given this special vocation: to make the Church present and fruitful in those places and circumstances where it is only through them that she can become the salt of the earth” (ibid., 33).
As the Diocese of Buffalo joins the Church, throughout the United States, to celebrate Catechetical Sunday, may we continue to pray for all parents, guardians, catechists, and teachers — who through their dedication and witness, become the salt of the earth, spreading the Good News, in each unique encounter of the human heart.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Michael Fisher
Bishop of Buffalo