Catechist: an Ancient Ministry made new

Pope Francis announced great news for parish ministry last Wednesday morning in Rome: he is establishing an official lay ministry of Catechist. The Holy Father wants to officially sanction the role of the hardworking parishioners who help to pass on the faith, giving them an official responsibility and recognising their talents. Our parish catechists are in the frontline of supporting enquirers,  families and children in their journey of faith.

This continues the recovery of an understanding that has existed in the church since the earliest times and that the “A Precious Place” project will try to restore: that true parish ministry is about collaboration and working as a team. Parish Catechists are a vital part of that team – their work, especially communion and confirmation classes, lies at the heart of sustaining a good parish. Catechists offer our young people a vision and view for the future, and are in a unique position to LISTEN to what our young people are saying to us. 

It is wonderful to think that we will be able to come together as a community to witness our Catechists offer their services in the same way that our Lectors (Readers) and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion do.

As the Pope observed: “Being a catechist is a vocation … and is a true and genuine ministry in the church” (20/09/2018)

The Pope’s Apostolic Letter ‘Antiquum Ministerium’ (Ancient Ministry) is on the Vatican website: HERE

Acknowledgement: this post is substantially based on an article by Fr Gerry O’Shaughnessy SDB on 11 May 2021 on

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