“Stay with Us,” is the theme of this year’s Catechetical Sunday. It’s a theme that calls us to an encounter, to a personal relationship with Jesus our Lord while reminding us of the words of Saint Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation “Catechesis Tradendae”: “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, "the only Son from the Father...full of grace and truth," who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever. It is Jesus who is "the way, and the truth, and the life," and Christian living consists in following Christ, the sequela Christi. 

Catechetical Sunday is the day when all parishes in the United States take the opportunity to commission those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists. The Office of Religious Education (ORE) in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrates a particular commissioning ceremony every year to highlight the gifts of those that have gone through the process of formation and are suitable to be certified. 

The ORE offers Ministry Formation Centers throughout the year for those that have been called to exercise a particular ministry within their parishes and throughout the archdioceses. 

The Advanced Catechetical Ministry is an example of ministry beyond a particular parish. Those who have been certified and commissioned as Master Catechists serve by offering Ministry Formation Centers regularly throughout the archdiocese. 

These Ministry Formation Centers meet the needs of the people of God in the archdiocese in areas such as, Catechesis, Scripture, Youth Ministry, Young Adults, Pastoral Studies and more. 

Catechists are formed more intentionally to exercise the teaching ministry of the Church in Catechesis, Bible Studies, Evangelization, RCIA, Confirmation, Youth and Young Adult Ministry in their local parishes.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us that Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. It is an opportunity as well for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

I had the blessing to be DRE in my home parish, St. Mary’s Church in Palmdale, for over nineteen years. During that time, I had the opportunity to explore the different formation opportunities that the Archdioceses of Los Angeles offered to form ecclesial lay ministers to be effective ministers. I experienced firsthand the Advanced Catechetical Ministry (ACM) Program, was certified and commissioned at the Cathedral of Los Angeles in 2002.  

Going through the ACM program opened a world of opportunities to be formed and transformed. I was mentored by a number of great leaders, among them Monica Hughes, Lynn Lang, Fr. David Loftus, and Sister Edith Prendergast.  Thanks to those mentors who recognized my gifts and guided me to higher education, I am now able to serve as the Coordinator of Catechists Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

I want to take this opportunity to invite Pastors and Parish Catechetical Leaders (PCLs) in the parishes of Los Angeles to discover and acknowledge the gifts of the people in their communities and to support them by sending them to formation opportunities offered in all pastoral regions, many of which are very close to their parishes. I invite PCLs as well to consider entering the Advanced Catechetical Ministry Programs to be agents of formation and transformation in their local parishes and beyond. 

Lastly, I wish to invite all catechists in the Archdioceses of Los Angeles on this Catechetical Sunday to always remember the following words of Pope Francis in the exercising the catechetical ministry: “…On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’…” EG #164

This year fifteen catechists are being commissioned as new Master Catechists to form catechists in the Archdioceses of Los Angeles. 

For more information about the different ministry areas, please visit our ORE page in the Archdiocese website and contact the ORE coordinators in the area of your interest.

Basic and Advance Catechetical Formation: Giovanni Perez, Spanish Program and Flor de Maria Luna, English Program. 

Specializations: A) Early Childhood, Jan Pedroza B) Elementary, Douglas Zuniga C) Junior High, Confirmation and Youth Ministry, Kelly McLoughlin D) Adult, Fr. Parker Sandoval 

Youth Ministry: Katie Ziegler in English and Pastoral Juvenil: Alberto Embry in Spanish 

Bible Institute: Fr. Parker Sandoval, English Program and Maria Rivera, Spanish Program 

Instituto de Pastoral y Evangelización: Ernesto Vega, Spanish Program