The class of 2013 has big plans; read all about it and see lists of local grads in this section.
8/22/12 | 2 comments |
Recently, some of you may have read about or heard from friends about my decision to have all of the diocese’s catechists and teachers of religious education make a public Profession of Faith. While I have been gratified by the support for this action from parishioners as well as our catechists, I regret that the intent of this public Profession of Faith seems to have been misconstrued in some media accounts.
Our Lord and Savior told the apostles, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Matthew 28:18-20). And for two millennia, the Church has striven to provide the Light of Truth, both to those in communion with the Church Christ founded and all of humanity whom He desires to be members of His Church. The Deposit of Faith must be passed on to each and every Catholic so that all may be converted and come to accept the salvation Christ wills for us. But what is the Deposit of Faith?
“The heritage of faith contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, handed on in the Church from the time of the Apostles, from which the Magisterium draws all that it proposes for belief as divinely revealed.” (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Appendix A, p. 509.)
As your bishop, I am the chief catechist of the diocese. I am responsible for the total catechetical mission of our local church, and I take this privileged duty seriously: making certain that you have every opportunity to encounter and know the Truth, so that with a fully informed conscience you can live the life Christ calls us to and be with Him forever; pointing out the essential connection between worship and witness, between faith and charity, which is faith in action; and ensuring that you all have access to the sacraments.
However, with more than 450,000 registered parishioners, it is not possible for me to be in every classroom and each of your homes, teaching you the faith, as much as I would like to! Moreover, learning the truths of our faith is a lifelong-long process that engages our clergy and religious, school and CCD teachers, and youth ministers. Actually, all these supplement the primary responsibility to pass on the faith that belongs to parents, “the first teachers of the faith.” In fact, there are few roles in the Church so important as a catechist.
On October 11, the Church throughout the world will enter into a Year of Faith. This grace-filled opportunity, called for by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, offers all of us a prolonged period of time to reflect upon and, in many ways, to rediscover the beauty, depth, and power of our Catholic Faith.
Part of the celebration of the Year of Faith will involve a commitment to new efforts of evangelization, aimed at a reinvigorated communication of the faith. Our nearly 5,000 catechists and teachers of religion in the diocese are on the front lines of this effort. And this effort knows no more vital need than the assurance of sound teaching in our catechetical programs so that our children and young people may truly be formed as authentic disciples of the Lord Jesus.
All who teach and form our youth share in this catechetical component of my ministry. I, myself, and all clergy make a Profession of Faith on certain occasions, such as assuming the office of bishop or pastor. So, too, now, will our catechists. I see this as a gesture of communion with me and the entire diocese, as well as with the Holy Father and the universal Church.
Most of the Profession of Faith’s wording should be well familiar to each of you. It reflects the Nicene Creed recited each Sunday at Mass, and declares to our brother and sisters, “I believe.” Towards the end, the wording then affirms our catechists’ fidelity to the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ on earth and the Magisterium, which is the official teaching authority of the Church. Having this profession made publicly will be a sign of additional support to all parents as they fulfill their responsibility to pass on the faith to their children. Moreover, such a profession will be a sign of pride to pastors and to me as we see our catechists publicly embracing this apostolic and pastoral responsibility of forming others in the faith.
From the beginning, I had envisioned and continue to envision this Profession of Faith as a positive sign to all our people, especially to parents, that we desire to form our young people and adults in the totality of the Catholic Faith, because in understanding and living the faith, we experience true freedom and spiritual strength. I am confident that a continued and prayerful consideration of the Profession in its intent and meaning will allay concerns and deepen our zeal to pass on the Catholic Faith in its fullness.
KeywordsProfession of Faith