From the Shepherds: Community Life - in the Directory for Catechesis

Authored by Dr. Caroline Farey in Issue #7.4 of The Catechetical Review

Continuing from the previous issue, Dr. Farey reflects on the Directory’s practical implications.

It is an unswerving Catholic conviction that “The Christian community is the origin, locus and goal of catechesis” (DC 133, my emphasis). This phrasing is taken directly from the catechetical directory of 1997 (GDC 254). Other Christians would not claim this so explicitly. They are more likely to say that Christ is the origin, Scripture the locus (the fundamental place for learning and receiving the Word of God for one’s life), and heaven is the goal.

The reason the Catholic Church holds this conviction is, in short, its deep sense of Christus totus. The “whole Christ” is Christ and his Church (CCC 795). Each Christian community, no matter how small, fragile, or weak, is an “historical realization” (GDC 253) of the gift of communion in Christ. This is the work of the Holy Spirit ever since God chose “to dwell in our midst” (cf. Ex 25:8) and the Word “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).

The origin of catechesis is, of course, Christ—and Christ lives in his Church. Scripture is certainly a fundamental locus—which is guarded intact and communicated by the Church. Heaven is without doubt the ultimate goal of catechesis—and we touch heaven in the sacraments of the Church. The Church, universally and locally, is a mystery of communion where God dwells; a community of real people, enlivened by the Spirit, baptized into Christ, and fed with Jesus’ own Body, Blood, soul and divinity at the Eucharist.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!

This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor’s Reflections: On Incarnational Coherence
By Dr. James Pauley
Free Beneath the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth is the place where tradition tells us the Angel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary. An altar stands in this grotto, inscribed with these words: “verbum caro hic factum est” (the Word became flesh here ). The Incarnation of God’s Son into human flesh is not a myth or fairy tale. It is an... Read more
Finding God in an Unexpected Place
By Sr. Carino Hodder, OP
Free When John Everett Millais’ Christ in the House of His Parents was first displayed at the Royal Academy, the public response was near-universal revulsion. At that time it bore no title but Zechariah 13:6: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my... Read more
Antiquum Ministerium: Instituting the Ministry of Catechist
By Monsignor John Pollard
On May 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally instituted the ministry of catechist with the apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium , which he issued motu proprio , or on his own initiative and under his personal signature. An initial reaction to the formal institution of the role of catechist might be to wonder, “So what’s new?” The role of catechist has... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now