The lowly: Homily for Saturday, September 9, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for today

Saint Peter Claver was known for his tremendous care for the poor.  The office of readings today, part of the prayers priests and deacons pray each day comes from his description of his care for the slaves. He reminds us that before one can speak of faith, it is important to provide trust and care.  The description of his care and the later catechesis is beautiful.

In such a fractured country, we are reminded of the need to express care and concern for one another.  Without care and trust, not much else is possible.  And we do not trust each other.  We argue and we are divided. Perhaps we can heal and come together through the intercession of Saint Peter Claver.

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 17, 2017. The 2017 theme will be “Living as Missionary Disciples.” Those who the Community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

The Archbishop’s Welcome Message

My term as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis comes to an end this year, so this is my final opportunity to welcome you to the resources that have been created for Catechetical Sunday. Each year the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis invites experts and skilled practitioners to write or speak about important topics in evangelization and catechesis.  I hope that in past years you have found these resources encouraging, challenging, formational and evangelizing.This year we are collaborating with several other USCCB Committees to provide formation resources to Catholic laity across the U.S. in response to Pope Francis’ call to all the baptized to grow closer to the Lord and to take up their proper role as “missionary disciples.” Our theme for 2017 is Living as Missionary Disciples / | Viviendo como discípulos misioneros. On these web pages you will find 9 different topics presented in both English and Spanish, in the form of articles and webinar presentations, as well as short and engaging videos.

For several years now, these materials have been made available digitally and free of charge in Spanish and English, to insure maximum access for a growing number of users. By popular demand, we also continue to provide posters, prayer cards, and catechist certificates for sale to those who prefer to have them professionally printed. For the past two years, we have moved up the release date so that diocesan and parish catechetical leaders can have access to the year’s theme and artwork well before catechists and teachers break for the summer. These initiatives have led to increased user rates for Catechetical Sunday resources. It is encouraging to know that in one quarter alone the resources received 145,461 views.

I invite everyone to make use of the materials that are offered for 2017–evangelists, catechists and teachers, parents and families, parish leadership and faith growth groups, and anyone striving to live as a missionary disciple. Our website also includes archived materials from past years. On the right side of this page, you will find links to Catechetical Sunday materials from recent years. You can access previous Leadership Institute items from the drop-down menu on the center of this page. These resources can be used alone or shared in small groups for even greater enrichment. They may be especially helpful for those invited by their bishops to participate in the national convocation of Catholic leaders to be held in July, or those involved in the Fifth NationalEncuentro process of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels.

On behalf of the Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, I thank you for your interest, and I pray that through the sacraments, personal prayer, deeper knowledge of the Faith, and our witness to the Gospel, we may grow in love for the Lord and further the evangelizing mission of his Church. God bless you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair,
Chairman of Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

Catechetical Sunday, September 20

From the US Bishops Website . . .

“Safeguarding the Dignity of Every Human Person.”

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 20, 2015, and will focus on the theme “Safeguarding the Dignity of Every Human Person.” Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

Homily for Friday, April 24, 2015

Readings for Today

Have you met Jesus? Do you have a personal relationship with him? Or, is it the case that when you encounter the Lord that like Paul you ask, “Who are you sir?” I am coming more and more to the realization that I have spent too much time worrying about knowing the right things about Jesus, but not really seeking the type of freedom that comes when I focus more simply on knowing Jesus. I am probably not that much different than many Catholics who never really heard much about getting to know Jesus, about having a personal relationship with him.

But today’s readings are about encounters. Neither is meant to be an abstract theology lesson, but rather it is to be a personal encounter that challenges the heart. Paul has been persecuting the Church and Jesus. Today is called to serve the Church and Jesus. Those in the gospel struggle to grasp what Jesus means when he talks about eating flesh. In both instances, there is initial difficulty not first with an intellectual idea, but with a relationship.

While I certainly am not suggesting we should not strive to learn more about our faith, I think all too often we start too soon in the evangelization process with what is rightly called catechesis. Or, at the service of generating interest, we advertise a very controversial topic before there is a foundation of the relationship with Jesus through prayer. The thinking is that if people know about Jesus they will come to love Jesus. But I think that is backwards. If people know and love Jesus, they will be able to know what is important and what matters to Jesus.

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