WASHINGTON, DC – The Bishop of Connecticut, chairman of the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference subcommittee on catechism, proposed what he called a “catechism institute” that “would respond to the new challenges of catechesis ”.
While Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport said the institute would not be a physical structure, he said it would be an “initiative” to accompany publishers and users of catechetical material to the time of the evolution of the Catholic faith in the United States, as more and more people leave. the church, and the church is seeing an increase in Latino Catholics who may need more “inculturated” material.
He broached the subject on June 18 on the last day of the Spring Bishops Assembly June 16-18 hosted via Zoom this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Caggiano said a well-trained catechetical consultant working directly for the subcommittee would be trained to ensure that the teaching of the Catholic Church’s catechism “is faithfully represented in the texts of the editors.”
With the rise of Latino Catholics in the church, the initiative would also be bicultural for catechetical training “to reflect the gifts and needs of the Hispanic and English speaking communities in an integrated institute”. It would organize annual training conferences in a retreat environment with the collaboration of other committees of the USCCB and other Catholic institutions. Training is also reportedly underway, he said.
The institute would aim to implement a vision of “evangelizing catechesis” to respond to the different challenges of the faith and of the church in a changing landscape, explained Caggiano. Some of these challenges are to face the fact that concentrating catechetical material primarily on student texts “bore little fruit”.
Thus, attention has now shifted to catechists, teachers and parents who are more comfortable with the material they are responsible for transmitting.
He also spoke of the need to stop translating catechetical texts from English to Spanish because Hispanic Catholics needed an inculturated catechesis “which could not be dealt with by our revision process”, he said. he declared.
Other challenges, he said, include young people leaving the Catholic faith “at an unprecedented rate” and at an age younger than ever. This has led those exploring the implementation of the initiative, he said, to consider the need to focus on the mission and the encounter with Christ when it comes to catechesis.
He also urged the bishops to promote the use of technology in catechesis, as it was used more during the pandemic and although “technology can help to proclaim the gospel, it cannot replace the Christian community, which serves as a mediator in the encounter with Christ, ”he declared.
This institute, he said, is expected to launch in late 2021 and meet in person in November 2022, ahead of the annual fall bishops meeting in Baltimore, for training experiences with bishops and diocesan staff.