WASHINGTON - Catholics are called to uphold the dignity of all people, including migrants, the poor, victims of trafficking and people with illnesses and disabilities, says the theme for Catechetical Sunday 2015, "Safeguarding the Dignity of Every Human Person." Resources for parishes to use in conjunction with Catechetical Sunday, September 20 this year, are available online.
"This year's theme reminds us that the dignity of each human person rests in the biblical teaching (Gen 1:26-27) that he or she is made in God's image and likeness. It also reminds us that we the baptized may need to actively support and protect others from all sorts of harm, cherishing human life from the moment of conception to a natural death," said Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
A set of five lesson plans for high school students—including those in Catholic schools or in religious education programs—explore the roots of religious freedom according to Catholic tradition and in the history of the United States. These include "Religious Liberty and the Practice of Charity" by President John Garvey of The Catholic University of America and "Protecting the Poor, the Migrant and the Outcast" by Todd Scribner of USCCB Migration and Refugee Services.
USCCB's Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs offers resources to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council's decree on non-Christian religions. These are "The Church in Relationship with Other Faiths" by Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore; "The Church in Relationship with the Jews" by Father Dennis McManus; "Catholics and Jews: Where We Have Been; Where We Need to Go" by Rabbi Eric Greenberg; and "The Church in Relationship with the Muslims" by Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D.
All resources are available in English and Spanish for free. Additional items, including prayer cards, a poster and catechist certificates, may be purchased.
Catechetical Sunday, which is observed on the third Sunday in September, is a celebration of catechists and all teachers of the Catholic faith. Many parishes commission those who serve in catechetical ministry on Catechetical Sunday. The U.S. bishops have provided resources for Catechetical Sunday since 1971. More information is available online.