What does the Office of Catechesis do?


Connecting Faith and Life

Have you ever wondered how the Diocese of Evansville’s Office of Catechesis helps you grow in your Catholic faith? Or how it benefits your parish? Or simply what the Office of Catechesis actually does?

I imagine these questions have crossed your mind, at least in a general way. In fact, if we approach it with faith, it’s good to reflect on how our diocese impacts our specific parish and, in turn, each of us. Consequently, I believe it would be well worthwhile to take a basic look at what the Office of Catechesis does.

In general, the Diocesan Office of Catechesis is at the service of Bishop Joseph M. Siegel in caring for and promoting catechesis within the diocese. The Directory for Catechesis indicates seven tasks, among others, of the Office of Catechesis. The first two focus on the diocese’s relationship with other dioceses. The others pertain to the diocese itself.

The first task regarding relationships with other dioceses is that the “diocesan catechetical office interacts with the national catechetical office of the episcopal conference and with other national bodies” (n. 417), which means that our Office collaborates with pertinent initiatives of the USCCB. For example, the USCCB is currently working on a Eucharistic Revival project that will strive to strengthen Catholics’ belief in the Real Presence – not symbolic – of Jesus in the Eucharist; the Office of Catechesis will collaborate in this at our local level.

Likewise, the directory points out that the Office of Catechesis “cultivates relationships of collaboration with other dioceses” (n. 417). In this regard, the five dioceses within Indiana form an ecclesiastical province; and, similar to what was mentioned above, come together to collaborate on various initiatives.

Regarding the tasks that pertain to the diocese itself, the first is that “the office of catechesis is to begin with an analysis of the situation” (n. 418) for the sake of “evaluating the state of catechesis” (n. 419). It entails assessing our various faith-formation activities and how “they are carried out (contents, style, method, tools…)” (n. 419) in accord with our Catholic faith and the spiritual needs of all people in our diocese.

The second task is to coordinate catechesis “with the other dimensions of the pastoral care of the particular Church” (n. 420), which means that the Office of Catechesis seeks to work together with other diocesan offices (Catholic Schools, Family and Life, Hispanic Ministry, Youth and Young Adults, Worship, etc.), and – of very great importance – that it is at the service of our priests and parishes.

The third and fourth tasks are integrally related. The Office helps to put together and implement the diocesan catechetical program, which functions in coordination with the diocese’s pastoral plan. This program is a “plan of basic guidelines designed for the long term” (n. 424) that structures our faith-formation efforts so that we can all be on the same page. In turn, the practical program is its concrete implementation “for a specific situation and a limited time” (n. 424). In these two tasks, there is definitely room for growth, while equally keeping in mind that a program “never replaces personal accompaniment” (n. 423), but is at the service of fostering personal encounters with Christ and deepening our Catholic faith.

Lastly – one of the most important tasks – the Office of Catechesis is to “pay particular attention to the formation of catechists … providing catechists with a basic and ongoing formation and … providing specialized formation for [Parish Catechetical] leaders” (n. 425).

Please pray that our Office of Catechesis may be faithful to the mission and tasks entrusted to it, in order to best glorify God and serve the souls of our diocese. May the Office and each of us – because as baptized, we are all called to actively live and share our faith – untiringly strive, with God’s grace, toward catechesis’ definitive aim: “to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity” (On Catechesis in Our Times, n. 5).