The catechist, as a representative of the Church, is a living sacrament of the presence of Christ. This living witness to the Good News of God is in many ways both the teacher and the lesson. The Curriculum is the next essential element in this lineage. The curriculum stands as a stable statement of the important issues which should be addressed, and in what order their presentation makes the most sense.
Textbooks, audio-visuals and other resources are the tools that the catechist has at her/his disposal to make the curriculum come alive. Textbooks are important resources and need to closely match the curriculum, be of a high quality and support the work of the catechist.
Textbooks in the Diocese of Erie:
General Policies for all Textbooks:
Textbooks used within the Diocese of Erie must have both the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur.
Textbooks must be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as determined by the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
On July 15, 2005 Bishop Trautman required a uniform text series for grades K through 8 in parish religious education and parochial schools in the diocese.
The text series that currently meets the Bishop’s expectation is: Faith First – Legacy Edition published by Resources for Christian Living (RCL) for additional information please see www.faithfirst.com
Specific Recommendation: Junior High:
7th grade: Mystery of God and Morality (from RCL)
8th grade: Jesus in the New Testament and Church and Sacraments (from RCL)
Also available from the Department of Religious Education is a program entitled “Teen Disciples” which blends the required texts into a comprehensive model of youth ministry.
The National Catechetical Directory offers the following comprehensive list of criteria for textbooks:
Present the authentic message of Christ and his Church, adapted to the capacity of the learners and in language that can be understood by them.
Be faithful to the Sacred Scripture.
Highlight the essential truths of the faith, giving proper emphasis to particular truths in accord with their importance within the hierarchy of truths.
Be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Be approved by the local Bishop.
Give to those who use them a better knowledge of the mysteries of Christ.
Promote a true conversion to Jesus Christ.
Inspire and encourage those who use them to live the Christian life more faithfully.
Be culturally appropriate and reflect the real-life situations of those who use them.
Promote charity, appreciation, and respect for persons of all racial, ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds.
Present other ecclesial communities and religions accurately.
Employ a variety of sound catechetical methodologies based on the results of responsible catechetical research.
Include appropriate examples of Christian prayer and opportunities for liturgical experiences and incorporate the use of Sacred Scripture as a text for study along with other catechetical textbooks.
Offer short passages of Sacred Scripture that can easily be learned by heart.
Contain opportunities to review and measure progress in learning.
Be visually attractive, engage the students, and incorporate a variety of examples of Christian art.
Include graphics that represent the various regional, cultural, economic, and religious characteristics of the people who will be using them.
Engage the intellect, emotion, imagination, and creativity of the students.
— National Catechetical Directory, Section 68, A