Lviv, 7 September 2016.
To the Reverend Fathers,
Reverend brothers and sisters,
Glory To Jesus Christ!
“… The most important virtue of a good catechist is to have deep religious beliefs and a high concept of holiness and the important of their task. Let every word drip with a strong faith and substantial piety. Students must understand that the catechist takes his mission very seriously… “1
Greetings from the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission to you on Catechetical Sunday! Our wish for you is that you be filled with inspiration and God’s grace in the course of catechetical ministry in our Church. On behalf of the Church, we express our sincere gratitude for the fact that you were an instrument of God’s mercy, because through your ministry children, youth, and parents could testify how gracious is Our Lord. Your service is very valuable and necessary in the life of the Church and in every parish community. Your contribution to the development of the living parish is very important.
This year the main topic of our Synod was diakonia – service. We pondered upon the question of how we, as a church, serve each person created in the image and likeness of God, in different ways and in different life situations. The catechetical ministry, indeed, presents us with numerous opportunities for diakonia.
Catechesis is the opportunity of the Church to explain to each of the faithful their identity, to pass on the faith in its fullness; and, as such, it cannot be treated trivially or omitted. We wish to stress the importance of catechesis on the same level as the Scriptures and the Divine Liturgy. Catechesis is the key to implement the strategy of the UGCC 2020 “Living Parish – the meeting place with the living Christ,” and it is the assurance of the future of our Church.
We wish to share with you the following plans that will affect our entire Church.
- We wish to meet with you, to acquaint ourselves with your ministry, challenges and needs, as well as to have an opportunity to share achievements. Such meetings are scheduled for three regions: Europe, North America (Canada, United States and Australia) and South America (Brazil and Argentina). The purpose of these meetings is to firm up our catechetical ministry, to prepare for the overall theme of the Synod in 2018 and to consider relevant catechetical questions:
– Catechetical Directory of the UGCC – changes and additions;
– Overal Catechetical Program;
– Biblical apostolate and liturgical catechesis in the life of the Church;
– Catechism of UGCC “Christ Our Pascha”;
– Catechism of UGCC for Youth;
– The Person of the Catechist (formation);
– Implementation of the catechumenate program;
– Next steps – developing a vision of catechetical ministry and identifying priorities in catechetical ministry in the next 10 years;
– Aspects of catechesis in metropolia: challenges and needs.
Lay catechists will be invited as representatives to attend. To you, dear catechists, we ask that you accompany us in these meetings with your prayers, meditations, spiritual unity and suggestions. These meetings will prepare us for 2018, the theme of which will be catechesis.
- We also wish to share with you some new materials put out by the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission:
– Prayer book with daily prayers;
– Lectio divina: a prayerful reading of the Gospel according to St. Mark for daily life;
– The third manual on God’s commandments and Beatitudes, which was developed by the catechumenate program;
– Explanation of a church building as a temple and of the Divine Liturgy;
– Manual for workers at Christian camps called, “The Path of Mercy.”
The purpose of these publications is to help and improve your catechetical ministry. Please pay special attention to the catechesis of adults, which is a priority of our work. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of implementing the catechumenate program for adults. In catechizing children, we have to educate their parents.
- Enjoy the next translation of the Catechism of UGCC “Christ Is Our Pascha” into English. This is already the fifth translation that will help our faithful to learn the meaning of faith in our Eastern traditions in their language. There are translations available in Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. Translations are being prepared for Polish, Slovakian and French.
We wish you a spirit of creativity, God’s grace and inspiration in this important matter for our Church. May the Lord richly bless your ministry in the catechetical field!
The blessings of the Lord upon you!
+ Peter (Stasiuk)
The head of the Patriarchal Commission of catechism
 Rules for catechists of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky/Catechetical Ministry in light of the teachings of the Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky/focus, Dučak. – Lviv, 2015 – 96p. – p. 47.