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Institute aims to overcome modern challenges to effective faith formation

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WASHINGTON — Accompaniment is the key to addressing modern catechetical challenges, a method that’s at the center of a new entity being created under the direction of Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catechism.

A proposal to create an Institute for the Catechism was presented at the bishops’ spring meeting in June, which took place virtually. Rather than a physical structure, the institute will be a new process by which publishers of catechetical materials and the developers of catechetical content will work with the subcommittee to address modern challenges to catechesis.

The second main component of the institute will be a yearly, in-person training conference and retreat for diocesan catechetical leaders, with a separate track for publishers.

Current challenges to effective catechesis are many, Bishop Caggiano said,  including the influence of the secular world, the strain families are under, and the fact that many parents, teachers and catechists were part of a generation that was not well catechized.

The bishop presented the idea of launching the institute on the last day of the bishops’ June 16-18 virtual spring assembly, but it has been in discussion since 2017.

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