The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis welcomed the Vatican's updated "Directory for Catechesis," saying it is exciting to have "a fresh and focused tool to enhance our evangelization efforts in catechesis."
The new directory, released June 25, "highlights the centrality of the church's mission of bringing the world to an authentic encounter with Christ, an encounter that inspires and propels people as witnesses for the faith," said Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles.
"In an age marked by tremendous social and cultural challenges, as well as ever-expanding digital tools which have often left the field of catechesis behind, the timing of this updated resource is providential," he added in a statement issued shortly after the Vatican released the directory.
The updated volume lists the goals and essential elements of catechesis and is meant to guide the drafting of national catechisms and catechetical directories that take into account specifics of the local culture and the needs of Catholics at different ages and stages of life.
Previous versions of the directory were approved in 1971 by St. Paul VI and in 1997 by St. John Paul II.
The directory was released in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French; the English and other translations were still being prepared as of June 25.
Bishop Barron's statement noted the new directory builds on the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church "and the ongoing work of the new evangelization -- particularly as called for in Pope Francis' 2013 apostolic exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' ('The Joy of the Gospel')."
"With a vision that brings the content of these beautiful resources alive in the context of contemporary society, the directory invites the Christian faithful to be courageous witnesses of Jesus Christ in the family, in the workplace and in the wider community," his statement said.
Bishop Barron added: "The directory's call for a 'kerygmatic catechesis' affirms the conference's (USCCB's) recent focus on the importance of living as missionary disciples. The authentic proclamation of the Gospel leads to the conversion of hearts and minds, which cannot help but manifest that 'missionary impulse capable of transforming everything' with the healing power of the Holy Spirit."