On the Optional Memorial of St. John of Avila, sixteenth-century Spanish priest and Doctor of the Church, Pope Francis established, by apostolic authority, the lay ministry of catechist. I have to admit that I did not know about this Doctor of the Church before reading this motu proprio, but with a little bit of research, I now see the fittingness of establishing this lay ministry on this day.
St. John of Avila (c. 1500-1569) re-evangelized Andalusia during a time of ecclesial and spiritual crisis, a time much like ours. The Church was fiercely divided; mammon was unduly adored; doctrinal confusion was rampant; formal training in the faith, amongst both the clergy and the lay faithful, was poor. The list of issues (as in our day) could go on and on. Clearly, the Church needed reforming. But re-form in what? To what end?
To this, John provided the ancient and everlasting answer: an overwhelming experience of the love of God in Jesus Christ.