My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Each year on this, the third Sunday of September, the Catholic Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday. Today is a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on the role that each of us — clergy and laity, young and old alike — plays in bearing witness to the Gospel and handing on the faith to others. We all share in the Church’s mission given to the disciples by Jesus when he told them, “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. 28:19-20).
This year’s theme for Catechetical Sunday is “Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed.” The pandemic has affected all of us in different ways, and our experiences the past year highlight the need we all have for healing, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, which includes in a special way the healing Jesus offer us in the Eucharist.
Today we recognize, affirm and commission those in our midst who have answered God’s call to serve as catechists. You serve in faith formation and youth ministry programs, in RCIA and adult education initiatives, and as teachers and administrators in Catholic schools. You freely and joyfully share your time, energy and passion for our Catholic faith to help others open their hearts to Jesus. Your efforts give flesh to God’s Word and help bring healing to our souls. I thank you on behalf of our diocese for your “yes” to this call.
On this Catechetical Sunday, we also recognize and pray for the students, parents and families in our parishes. Parents are the first catechists and witnesses of faith to their children. We know that raising a family rooted in faith is challenging in today’s culture. Nevertheless, you bear witness in word and deed to the faith you profess. Today we thank you for your perseverance, and we pray that God grants you the grace you need to continue to say “yes” to your call.
God has given each of us a great mission to pass on the faith. To all of you who share in the catechetical ministry of our Church, be assured of my continued prayers and deep gratitude.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport