Review: National Directory for Catechesis

National Directory for Catechesis. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005.

This national directory is a companion to the General Directory for Catechesis. The bishops have intended this directory to be a reference resource for those responsible for catechesis from the bishops on down to those on the local level. Those preparing for ordination would also be interested in this directory. The purposes of the directory as stated by the authors are; first, to provide fundamental theological and pastoral principles and how to apply these to the pastoral activity of catechesis; second, to provide guidelines for application of those principles; and third, to help with the content and methodologies of catechesis (p. 17).

This well-organized directory contains ten chapters, each subdivided, and a conclusion or summary is at the end of each chapter which is very helpful. There are several bibliographical footnotes and an index. Chapter one is an overview of the Church in the United States and its diversity. Chapter two discusses the tasks and proper role of catechesis. Chapters three and four discuss the sources of the Christian message and the methodology of presenting it. Chapter five discusses the role of liturgy, the Sacraments, and worship has in catechesis. Chapter six discusses the catechetical principles and guidelines needed for both personal and social moral formation. Chapter seven is about how to catechize the People of God with its diversity of ages, nationalities, races, and other aspects. Chapter eight’s focus is for catechists. Chapter nine defines how to organize catechetical ministry. Chapter ten discusses the various resources for catechesis and how to evaluate them.

The National Directory for Catechesis is a Church document (which might be intimidating for some readers) full of information and material for meditation and prayer. All Catholics are called to evangelize or spread the Faith. This directory can be a helpful aid in this. It can also help us know more about our Faith and how to present it. This book of course is mainly for catechists who have the official ministry to catechize the People of God in whatever stage of life they are in. This directory has the approval of the U.S. bishops and of Rome.

(Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., writes from St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.)

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