Memorial of St. John Chrysostom
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The greatest gift next to life itself is the gift of our Catholic faith. For two thousand years our faith has been handed down from one generation to the next. We have seen fulfilled the command of Jesus given to His apostles, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt. 28, 18-20)."
We too are called today in our own times to hand on the teachings of Jesus Christ rooted in Scripture and Tradition as taught by the magisterium of the Church throughout the ages. in order to assist the overall catechetical mission of the Church of Fargo, guidelines have been developed by the Office of Catholic Education and Formation after a comprehensive process of study, writing, and consultation with those who are directly involved in the work of catechesis in our diocese. I am truly grateful to all who have helped puffing together these guidelines! You have done a great work for the Church.
On this feast of Saint John Chrysostom, a doctor of the Greek Church, called "golden-mouthed" because of his eloquence in proclaiming the faith, I entrust to you and promulgate for use in the Diocese of Fargo, the Parish Catechesis Manual and Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-K through Twelfth Grade with the understanding that they are to be implemented in our Catholic Schools and parish catechetical programs.
The guidelines are written for our clergy, parents, and catechists in clear and unambiguous language. They are consistent with the faith of the Catholic Church and have been fully indexed and referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the effort to sustain a common knowledge and language of our faith. Indeed, every Catholic home should have a copy of the Bible and Catechism so that the references may be easily located.
In his 1979 Apostolic Exhortation on Catechesis, Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II stated, "It is true that being a Christian means saying ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ, but let us remember that this ‘yes’ has two levels: It consists in surrendering to the Word of God and relying on it, but it also means, at a later stage, endeavoring to know better and better the profound meaning of this Word" (20) so that all may be brought "not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity" (5).
My fervent prayer is that every Catholic, young and old, will come to a better knowledge of and intimacy with Jesus Christ through the use of these guidelines. I pray that the communion of life with the Trinity will become a reality in the life of each one of us. Through the intercession of Mary, especially under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Mother of the New Evangelization, may the love and knowledge of Jesus grow in our hearts and minds under the care of her maternal heart. And may each one of us have the receptive heart of Mary as we too say our "yes" to Jesus Christ.
May our Lord bless all of our parents who are the first teachers of their children in the way of faith, our clergy, catechetical leaders, and catechists so that we may be examples of true and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Bishop of Fargo
Printed with permission from the Diocese of Fargo.