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What is Catechesis?

What does this unfamiliar word—catechesis—mean?

First, it is pronounced as "cat-ick-ee-sis." From early in her history, the Church used the word catechesis to describe her efforts to help people believe that Jesus is the Son of God. By believing this, people would have life in His name. However, they would also need to be educated and instructed in this life to grow and deepen their faith, so to build up the body of Christ.

Jesus Christ is Himself the source of all catechesis.

As Christ, in his very person, is the whole of divine revelation, the ultimate goal of catechesis is to help people:

  • learn more about Christ
  • be in a more and more intimate relationship with Him, and
  • be faithful to Christ in ever deeper ways.

Catechesis fosters a living, conscious, and active faith in the people.

"The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ" (GDC 80).

Catechesis takes a person who has already come into contact with Christ in some way, and guides that person more fully into the mystery of Christ. Catechesis continues and deepens the desire and the conversion to become more like Christ. The longer a person walks with God—who is all holy—the more they realize their own weakness, sinfulness, and their need to change... to "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."

So catechesis includes all activities to make disciples. It means helping people "be reconciled to God" i and "to put on the new self."