Bishop Ricken calls for greater understanding of the sacraments

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—The Year of Faith, which begins October 11, is a time for Catholics in the United States to strengthen their faith “through a greater love and understanding of the sacraments,” according to the chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the USCCB offers a new guide to help bishops achieve this.

“The Seven Sacraments continue the saving work of Jesus until he comes again and form the center of the celebration of the Christian mystery. Through the ministry of the Church, all are invited to hear the Good News, follow Christ and share in these saving mysteries,” said Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin in an October 4 letter to all U.S. bishops.

Bishop Ricken shared that the committee has developed Sacramental Catechesis: An Online Resource for Dioceses and Eparchies, which is available online at:

This resource, he wrote, provides an overview of cultural challenges to teaching the sacraments, principles and elements for teaching each sacrament and possible moments of opportunities for doing so. It is meant to help dioceses develop programs for teaching the sacraments.

Bishop Ricken thanked the numerous USCCB committees involved in developing the resource as part of USCCB’s Deepen Faith, Nurture Hope, Celebrate Life priority plan and highlighted the importance of strengthening sacramental catechesis in the face of challenges.

“Despite statistics charting waning participation, we remain aware that participation in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is not simply an option,” he said, but rather, “it is foundational to sustain the faithful in union with the very life of the Trinity and to strengthen them for the rigors of living their faith as committed disciples.”