Each year, the Catholic Church in the United States designates the third Sunday in September as “Catechetical Sunday”—a day on which to celebrate and pray for the Church’s mission to teach the Gospel to all people.
This year’s the theme is “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.” On this day, we especially thank and pray for our Parish Catechists for ministry to the community and our children. As you prepare to celebrate, pray for, and commission those engaged in formal parish catechetical ministry this year, we want to also remind parents of their indispensable and God given role to form their children in the faith. Catechetical Sunday is also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.
The theme is stake from Christ Healing the Blind, a painting by the famed artist, El Greco. It illustrates the Gospel account of Christ healing a blind man by anointing his eyes. The past year has highlighted the urgent need for healing—physical, spiritual, emotional—in ourselves and in our world. As our world struggles to heal, complete healing is not possible without Jesus as the Divine Physician. When our souls heal, all heals, despite our suffering. The words we pray at Mass, “Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed”, have the power to remind us of, to open our eyes to, the healing that Jesus offers us in the Eucharist which is essential, eternal, and ever open to us. We humbly ask him to say the word, and with that prayer, we have faith that, with the fantastic and improbable prospect of Jesus entering under our roof, our souls shall be healed.
Prayer for Catechists
Loving Father, we pray today for our catechists. We thank you for their gift of ministry in your Church. Grant them your wisdom that they may grow in the understanding and teaching of your Word. Grant them also your love that they may be fruitful heralds of your Word and lead others to love you. Pour forth your Holy Spirit upon them to grant them wisdom about what is important; knowledge of the truths of faith; understanding of their meaning; right judgement about how to apply them in life; courage to persevere even in the face of adversity; reverence before all that is sacred and holy; and that loving zeal which leads others to a transforming encounter with your Son. We pray this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
El Greco, Galleria nazionale di Parma, Creative Common License
Catechetical Sunday banner, Loyola Press