Pope to institute formal ‘ministry of catechist’

A catechist gives a reflection on Scripture at the diocesan centre in Abuja, Nigeria (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

While millions of lay people around the world are recognised as catechists in their parish or diocese, Pope Francis is preparing to formally institute the “ministry of catechist”. Source: Crux.

The Vatican press office said yesterday Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium (Ancient Ministry), instituting the ministry, would be released on May 11.

The Pope has often spoken of the importance of selecting, training and supporting catechists, who are called to lead people to a deeper relationship with Jesus, prepare them to receive the sacraments and educate them in the teachings of the Church.

In many parts of the world, especially in communities without a resident priest, catechists are the leaders of the local Catholic community, evangelising, convoking and guiding their fellow Catholics in prayer and works of charity. And, in missionary territories under the guidance of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, they already serve with a specific mandate from their bishop.

The congregation’s 1997 Guide for Catechists noted that “the Code of Canon Law has a canon on catechists involved in strictly missionary activity and describes them as ‘lay members of Christ’s faithful who have received proper formation and are outstanding in their living of the Christian life. Under the direction of missionaries, they are to present the Gospel teaching and engage in liturgical worship and in works of charity.'”

The move follows the Pope’s decision in January to open the ministries of lector and acolyte to women. While in most dioceses women already served as readers and altar servers at Mass, they were not formally instituted in those services on a stable basis.


Pope to institute formal ‘ministry of catechist’ (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via Crux

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