Pope Francis renews the old aged ministry of catechists by releasing an apostolic letter, issued “Motu Proprio,” a letter signed by and issued on the Pope’s initiative. The papal document formalizes the lay ministry of catechists for the universal Church. It also serves to introduce the Rite of Institution of the Lay Ministry of Catechist from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The lay ministry of catechists will be recognized formally as vital support to the evangelizing mission of the Church. This papal initiative offers an opportunity to recognize with gratitude and formational support the catechists who serve in this admired ministry.
By elevating the lay ministry of catechists, Pope Francis affirms that the evangelizing mission to proclaim Jesus Christ is the sole reason for the Church’s existence. From the beginning, the heart of the Church’s catechetical efforts was the invitation to lifelong communion with Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis notes that catechists build up and strengthen the Christian community by being “expert in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops through its different stages from the proclamation of the kerygma to the instruction that presents our new life in Christ and prepares for the sacraments of Christian initiation, and then to the on-going formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of the hope within them” at the same time, every catechist is called to be “a witness to the faith, a teacher and mystagogue, a companion and pedagogue, who teaches for the Church” (Antiquum Ministeriumn #6).
The ministry of catechists is a living source of Christian hope and a channel of the transformative power of God’s grace needed by so many in these challenging times. Now, as the Church struggles through the impact and uncertainties of a global pandemic, Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium is a timely reminder of the timeless and transforming joy of the Gospel.
Click the link for the full copy of the apostolic letter: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/documents/papa-...