AoB Cir/06 2023

Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious, Catechists and the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo,

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summary of that "genuine, systematic presentation of the faith and of Catholic doctrine." The purpose of the Catechism is to explain the Catholic Faith in an organized way so that the faithful and the non-Catholics might understand the tenets of Catholicism contained in Scripture, Tradition and  magisterium of the Church. It also gives us right principles and guidelines for our spiritual and moral life. Therefore Catechism serves several important functions. It conveys the essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a complete and summary way. Accordingly it is very important for each and every Catholic to know his or her faith properly.

The process of knowing one's faith never ends. It is an ongoing process all through our life. My observation in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo is that the knowledge of our faith is very inadequate. The process of catechising our members in our parishes and missions seems to be very inadequate. In most cases we just prepare people for Baptism and Confirmation only. Mostly this consists in knowing the basic traditional prayers. Knowledge of faith and the Church is either limited or compromised. This could be one of the reasons we lack committed Catholics. Also, we easily lose members to other churches and denominations in search of what they call "truth" and "real faith".

What we need is an ongoing catechetical formation of our faithful throughout our life. This has to be done in our families, Small Christian Communities, Associations and Parishes.

One way to strengthen this process is to specifically concentrate on our various Associations according to their age groups such as MCA, CYA, Young Adults and Elders. Each time Associations meet they should have some well-planned and properly reflected upon catechetical instructions. This must be done beginning immediately. The primary objective of all Lay Associations and Movements in the Catholic Church is to strengthen its members in faith. Teaching Catechism is the duty of the Bishop and priests together with catechists and teachers. Priests are the "first catechists" in their parishes and missions and they have a duty to teach, animate, organize and supervise the catechetical instruction programmes.

Therefore, for the good of our Church, I urge all Priests, Deacons, Religious, Catechists and teachers to take this process of catechesis seriously by giving instructions and supervising the catechetical process personally. As time goes on the Pastoral Office will make available some catechetical materials suited to various age groups to assist us in this process.

+ Alex Thomas
Archbishop of Bulawayo

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