GDC 176: Particular forms of adult catechesis

Referring to Part I, chapter 2 of this document (Evangelization, GDC 60-76) as well as the General Catechetical Directory, section 96, we have seven forms suggested for situations outside of ordinary ongoing formation.

176. Certain situations and circumstances require special forms of catechesis:

– catechesis for the Christian initiation or catechumenate of adults: this has its own express form in the RCIA;

– traditional forms of catechesis of the people of God, duly adapted to the liturgical year or in the extraordinary form of missions;

– the on-going catechesis of those who have a task of formation in the community: catechists and those involved in the lay apostolate;

– catechesis for use in particularly significant events in life, such as Marriage, the Baptism of children and the other sacraments of initiation, at critical times during youth, in sickness etc.: in such circumstances, people are disposed more than ever to seek out the true meaning of life;

– is for special events and experiences, such as beginning work, military service, emigration etc.: these are changes which can give rise to interior enrichment or bewilderment and in which the need of God’s saving word should be emphasized;

– catechesis for the Christian use of leisure time, especially during holidays and travel;

– catechesis for special events in the life of the Church and society.

These and many other forms of special catechesis, complement, but do not replace, the ongoing, systematic, catechetical courses which every ecclesial community must provide for all adults.


Ongoing formation must be provided for all adults. That’s as strong a statement as you’re likely to find here.

I’d say our American parishes are strongest in RCIA and in forming people for particular ministry.

Catechesis adapted for the liturgical year, not so much as those first two.

Some parishes do well with forming people for the sacraments and for special occasions, number four above.

What do you make of number five? My parish does provide something in terms of campus ministry for graduates-to-be, and also for new incoming students. But except for the usual influx of new employees into our larger cities in the summer, there are few regular situations that allow for a large number of people to be formed at the same time in these life-changing nodes in modern society.

Catechesis for leisure time? What a concept.

Catechesis for special events? Perhaps we do some of that connected to the liturgical year.

Perhaps your experience in your parish is different. What do you see as the strengths and needs of faith formation in your community, and the Church at large?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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