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Sept. 14, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Each year, on the third Sunday of September, the Church in the United States celebrates Catechetical Sunday — an opportunity to recognize and thank the generosity of thousands of volunteers who are engaged in the apostolate of handing on our precious Catholic faith to our children and youth. Here, in the Diocese of Arlington, more than 4,000 volunteer catechists teach over 38,000 young people in our parish religious education programs to know, love and serve God. We are truly blessed by the talent and willing service of so many dedicated members of God’s people.
Catechetical Sunday, which will take place on September 18, 2011, is also an opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude to parents who teach the faith in their homes, along with the priests, deacons and religious who catechize and form our youth in the name of the Church and with a spirit of great generosity and love.
The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday is “Do This in Memory of Me.” These very familiar words which we hear at Mass remind us of the centrality of the Eucharist in our Catholic lives. When, through the Mass, we celebrate the memory of Jesus’ death, which He accepted out of love for us, we make His dying and rising present on our altars and in the sacrament of the Eucharist. At the same time, we are called to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of the Lord so that we can learn to die to ourselves and live for Him, in loving service of God and neighbor. In memory of the sacrificial self-giving of Christ, made truly and really present in the Eucharist, our catechists offer their own time, talents and efforts so that our children and youth may come to know the Lord intimately and worship Him, living and present in the Church.
In just a few months, the Church in the United States (and in other English-speaking regions of the world) will begin to pray the Mass using the third edition of the Roman Missal. The theme of Catechetical Sunday — “Do This in Memory of Me” — links our catechesis to our prayer and above all to our sacramental worship. Through the newly-translated prayers of the Mass, my hope and my prayer is that each of us will be led to a more fruitful participation in the Mass, particularly each Sunday, and to a more intense embrace of our sacramental life and mission as we bear witness to the Lord, in whose memory we celebrate the Eucharist. In a special way, I urge all of us to pray that through our catechetical teaching, the young people of our diocese may be drawn closer in communion to Jesus Christ each day and so live the meaning of the Eucharist in a life poured out in loving service of His Kingdom. May God bless you all!
Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington