Overview of the New Directory for Catechesis

Overview of the New Directory for Catechesis - text on blue and yellow background

This is part one of a four-part series on the new Directory for Catechesis.

Anyone who has read Pope Francis’s 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, will be familiar with many of the themes in the new Directory for Catechesis. Let’s begin our exploration of the 2020 Directory for Catechesis with an overview.

What is the new Directory for Catechesis?

The new Directory for Catechesis was publicly released on June 25, 2020, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, in a time of great global upheaval. This new directory has been produced as a follow-up to several important documents of the Magisterium, namely the General Catechetical Directory (1971), the General Directory for Catechesis (1997), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), and the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (2013). All of these texts explore a number of similar themes: the process of evangelization, the goals and tasks of catechesis, changes in the global context, and the implementation of evangelization and catechesis.

Who published the new Directory for Catechesis?

The 278-page text was published in English in July, 2020, by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The preface to the document is authored by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, Titular Archbishop of Voghenza, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and Archbishop José Octavio Ruiz Arenas, Archbishop Emeritus of Villavicencio, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The text was promulgated from the Vatican on March 23, 2020, the liturgical memorial of St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, evangelist and catechist. St. Turibius of Mongrovejo conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on two saints: St. Martin de Porres and St. Rose of Lima. It is under his protection that the new Directory for Catechesis is placed.

What is the new directory about?

Situated in dynamic continuity with the General Catechetical Directory, which St. Paul VI approved on March 18, 1971, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published on October 11, 1992, the new Directory for Catechesis is marked by an emphasis on the primacy of the kerygma within the process of evangelization, an understanding of kerygmatic catechesis, and the new and emerging cultural conditions to which catechists must be attentive. Two cultural contexts, in particular, are highlighted. The first is the phenomenon of digital culture, which brings with it a second implication, the globalization of culture.

How is the document structured?

This Directory for Catechesis develops the catechetical journey under the primacy of evangelization in three parts. Each part consists of four chapters, for a total of 12 chapters. In addition, there are a preface, introduction, conclusion, list of abbreviations, and thematic index. The directory is structured as follows:

Part I: Catechesis in the Church’s Mission of Evangelization

Chapter One: Revelation and Its Transmission
Chapter Two: The Identity of Catechesis
Chapter Three: The Catechist
Chapter Four: The Formation of Catechists

Part II: The Process of Catechesis

Chapter Five: The Pedagogy of the Faith
Chapter Six: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Chapter Seven: Methodology in Catechesis
Chapter Eight: Catechesis in the Lives of Persons

Part III: Catechesis in the Particular Churches

Chapter Nine: The Christian Community as Participant in Catechesis
Chapter Ten: Catechesis in the Face of Contemporary Cultural Scenarios
Chapter Eleven: Catechesis at the Service of the Inculturation of the Faith
Chapter Twelve: The Organisms at the Service of Catechesis

That’s the overview of the new Directory for Catechesis in a nutshell! In my next post, we are going to look at a new term ushered in by the directory: kerygmatic catechesis.

Have you read the new directory? If so, share your impressions with us by commenting below.

About Julianne Stanz 80 Articles
Julianne Stanz is the Director of Outreach for Evangelization and Discipleship at Loyola Press and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. She served previously as Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay. Julianne infuses her talks, retreats, and seminars with humor, passion, and insights from her life in Ireland. A popular speaker, storyteller, and author, Julianne is married with three children and spends her time reading, writing, teaching, and collecting beach glass. She is the author of Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church, Developing Disciples of Christ, Braving the Thin Places, and co-author, with Joe Paprocki, of The Catechist’s Backpack.


  1. I am signed up for the September 1 presentation but am dealing with distance learning for my kids. Will the presentation be recorded and emailed to those who registered?

    • Hi Kim,

      Yes, the presentation was recorded. Look for information soon about watching the recording.

      Denise Gorss
      Catechist’s Journey Editor

  2. Thanks, Julianne, for helping us to get the basics of what is contained in this document. I hope someday to have the time to look at it thoroughly, but with re-designing our programs in parish and school during the pandemic, that has to be on the back burner. Your overview helps, though, and I look forward to the next 3 articles.

  3. Hi Joe, I was at a meeting today with my Pastor on virtual learning and I missed the first session of this course. How can I view it and catch up for the next one?? Thanks Much- Jules Demers

    • Hi Jules,

      The recording of the presentation will be available soon. There is no additional presentation scheduled at this time, but please enjoy Julianne’s blog series on the directory here on Catechist’s Journey.

      Denise Gorss
      Catechist’s Journey Editor

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