I have just finished reading the new Directory for Catechesis (DFC) published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and approved by Pope Francis in March of last year. For all of us committed to the work of evangelization, it is essential reading. What impressed me the most about the document was the close connection held throughout between evangelization being at the service of faith and how faith leads to loving communion with God: “At the center of every process of catechesis is the living encounter with Christ. . . . Communion with Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, who is living and always present, is the ultimate end of all ecclesial action and therefore of catechesis as well” (DFC, 75, 426).
Here is the goal of it all, the result we evangelizers want to see, the prize on which our hearts are set: that everyone comes to know and love Jesus Christ, to believe in him and thus share the life of God. Here I would like to draw attention to what the Directory advises regarding how efforts to evangelize can more effectively lead to a growth in faith in those we engage with.
In the chapter entitled “Catechesis in the Lives of Persons,” the Directory outlines four particular tasks of catechesis with adults that are focused on the goal of moving people toward a response of faith or leading people who already believe to a deeper, more mature faith (DFC, 261). These four tasks are: