A Catechist is a “witness to the faith”

BRIDGEPORT—A Catechist is first and foremost a witness to the faith, Bishop Caggiano said to more than 300 catechists who gathered at the Catholic Center yesterday evening.

Speaking for nearly an hour, the bishop shared the startling realities that young people and those who teach them face in the 21st century, along with solutions to some of the problems caused by rapid modernization.

“The answer is not something, it is someone,” Bishop said, “and that someone is none other than Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of us all.”

The bishop walked catechists through the major challenges facing the Catholic Church’s formation of young people, including the fact that many more young people are disaffiliating faster than previous generations. He also noted that many now identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”

“Spiritual is me. Religious is we. Too many young people think they can figure out all of the answers on their own—that they don’t need us, they don’t need the teaching. They don’t see the value of our communities,” the bishop said.

As he laid out his vision for reinvigorating Faith Formation to the captivated crowd, the bishop issued strong advice for teaching young people about the faith. “Before you teach them, love them. Before you instruct them, be merciful to them.”

His “A Catechist Conversation” was the third in a series of talks throughout the Diocese to those who teach and instruct young people in the faith.

The evening began with Patrick Donovan, Director of the Diocesan Leadership Institute, leading those present in the prayer of St. Francis, remembering those lost in the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, most especially in prayer.

After a brief introduction, Bishop Frank Caggiano took the podium, sharing a remarkable vision for becoming missionary disciples. Afterwards, the bishop stayed for questions from the audience, and then turned the meeting over to the Institute Staff.

Before departing, bishop had one last call to action for those present. “Fall in love with the Lord, and be courageous witnesses to what you believe!”

Following the Bishop’s talk, Patrick Donovan, Director of the Leadership Institute, distributed copies of the “Invitation to Lifelong Formation, the recently published report that includes Catechetical Task Force Finding & Recommendations for catechesis.

An invitation to Lifelong Formation, the 36-page catechetical report, is available in print and will be posted on line in many languages. It can be downloaded in its entirety or in individual sections. For more information visit

Photos by Amy Mortensen