Share the Good News – the first National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland – is a ten year plan for evangelisation,  catechesis and religious education.

Bishops launch Share the Good News

for more information –

Share the Good News – the first National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland – was launched on 6 January in the Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin by Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, and Bishop Bill Murphy, Bishop of Kerry, Chairman of the Episcopal Council for Catechetics along with writer and editor Rev Dr Gareth Byrne.

Share the Good News is a ten year plan for evangelisation, for catechesis and for religious education in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

It is available in Veritas shops throughout Ireland and on line at

Bishops’ Addresses

for full texts –

Cardinal Seán Brady

This morning the Bishops’ Conference have great pleasure indeed in presenting Share the Good News, the first ever National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland. I thank and congratulate Dr Gareth Byrne, writer and editor of this important text. We have all been looking forward very much to this day. This is a most significant document. It addresses in a unified, coherent and co-ordinated manner many of the issues that are very pressing for the Church in Ireland today. One of these is Catechesis – the process by which people are introduced to faith.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

The new National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland is published at a very significant moment in the life of the Church in Ireland. We are living in a time of great change in Irish religious culture and I believe that we have not yet faced the challenge of that change as fully as we should.

The place of faith education in schools is under scrutiny in a changing Ireland. There are various contending voices and interest-groups, speaking often in a polarised way, and there is very little common reflection on what the right way forward should be. I still believe that a broad National Forum on the future of education provision and the place of faith education in the Irish educational system would be of value.

This is the overall context within which the New National Directory will have to be put into practice. The Directory has of course a much wider mandate than simply religious education in schools.

Renewal in the Church must focus on a renewed relationship with Jesus within a believing, sacramental faith community…..

Renewal of the Church will only come through a radical reawakening of what the Church is really about. The Church is the place where the unprecedented and humanly inconceivable newness of the Word becoming flesh is proclaimed and celebrated as reality. The Church is the place where the Word of God made flesh is proclaimed and celebrated….

If the new Directory is to be successful, we have to understand that it aims at much more than tweaking at the current system. The current system has been very comfortable for parishes. The principle work has been done by the teachers. Efforts are being made to invite greater participation by families and they have had a certain success, especially where there is geographical contiguity between parish and school community. This is of course much less the case in urban areas. It is not the case with secondary schools.

What is being proposed here in the Directory is revolutionary for our parishes. There is need to provide a new generation of catechists in our parishes, both full-time professional catechists but above all as a new group of committed lay people who will take on a period of formation to be voluntary catechists in their parishes. Again I am not saying that what teachers are doing is ineffective. But the locus of faith formation is primarily within the worshipping faith community.

Bishop Bill Murphy

The Directory is timely in that it responds to a felt and expressed need for renewal in the Church in Ireland. In spite of all the very serious difficulties the Church in Ireland is experiencing at the present time, renewal is happening and very many groups and individuals involved in renewal are seeking guidance. They will find guidance and inspiration in this Directory because its scope extends far beyond the narrow understanding of catechesis as something that happens in schools to the many and diverse activities in the Church’s one mission to evangelise: e.g. faith development for young adults, adults and adults of mature years; RCIA; Sunday liturgies; marriage preparation and support; parenthood and family ministry; the education and training of lay persons for active participation in the mission of their parish and diocese, ecclesial movements, groups and organisations. Every possible form of catechesis or evangelisation – using those words in the widest sense and interchangeably – is included and no possible target group is omitted.

The Directory is also timely in as much as it responds to the call for the New Evangelisation. Almost from the beginning of his pontificate John Paul II called for a New Evangelisation which would be directed not just to those who have never heard the gospel but to individuals and whole peoples, especially in the ‘old world’, who have abandoned faith or the practice of faith. That call was taken up by Pope Benedict and last summer on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul he set up the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation. This too is addressed in the Directory.

What is particularly timely about the Directory is the emphasis it places on the role of the laity in the Church. We all know that in every parish there is huge involvement of laity. No parish could function without that involvement. However, all too often involvement of the laity is seen by clergy and the laity themselves as ‘helping Father’. That is not what is envisaged in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, in Christifideles Laici, the Code of Canon Law and other authoritative documents and statements. The laity by virtue of their baptism and confirmation have a right and a duty to participate in the mission of the Church. That is clearly the understanding of the role of the laity underlying Share the Good News, where we find expression such as co-responsibility, cooperation, collaborative teamwork and a quotation from Pope Benedict’s address at the Pastoral Convention of the Diocese of Rome in May 2009: “Consecrated and lay people … must no longer be viewed as ‘collaborators’ of the clergy but truly recognised as ‘co-responsible’ for the Church’s being and action, thereby fostering the consolidation of a mature and committed laity”.




1. Living the Gospel in Ireland Today

The Irish Christian Tradition
New Culture, New Challenges

  • Fulfilling Our Potential
  • Overcoming Social Exclusion
  • Ecology, the Sciences and Technology
  • Understanding Culture
  • Diversity: Welcoming Newcomers
  • Globalisation and Communications Technology
  • Church and State in Dialogue

Witnessing to the Power of the Gospel


2. Evangelisation, Catechesis and Religious Education

The Revelation of God’s Love
Education in the Love of God
Presenting the Message of Jesus Christ
Good News for All People

  • Initial Proclamation
  • Christian Initiation
  • Catechesis
  • Religious Education
  • The New Evangelisation
  • Theological Reflection

Faith Development Overview

3. Our Faith: The Gospel Alive

Growing in Faith
The Deposit of Faith
A Hierarchy of Truths
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Profession of Faith: The Apostles’ Creed
The Celebration of Christian Mystery: The Sacraments

  • Sacraments of Initiation
  • Sacraments of Healing
  • Sacraments at the Service of Communion

Life in Christ: The Beatitudes and Commandments

  • The Beatitudes
  • The New Commandment of Love
  • The Ten Commandments

Prayer in the Christian Life: The Lord’s Prayer
Ecumenical Outreach
The Challenge of Inculturation
Inter-religious Dialogue


4. Adult Faith Development

The Catechesis of Adults

  • Initiation of Adults into the Catholic Church
  • Adult Faith Development
  • A Supportive Environment for Adult Faith Development
  • Sensitivity to Adult Ways of Learning

Young Adults
Marriage Preparation and Support
Parenthood and Family Ministry
The Single Life
Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Religious
Adults of Mature Years

5. Sharing our Faith with the Young

The Baptism of Children
Presenting the Gospel to Children

  • Nurturing the Faith of Children
  • Children’s Religious Education in School

Presenting the Gospel to Adolescents

  • Nourishing the Faith of Adolescents
  • Religious Education of Adolescents

6. Reaching Out in Christ’s Love to All

Those Who Experience Social Disadvantage
People with Special Needs

  • People who have Physical Disabilities
  • People with Special Learning Needs

The Deaf Community
The Travelling Community
Migrant Workers and Other Newcomers
People Living with Illness


7. Resources and Implementation

The Parish Community as Agent of Faith Development

  • Parish Faith Development Objectives

Diocesan Faith Development Services

  • Diocesan Faith Development Objectives

National Co-operation

  • National Faith Development Objectives

Faith Development in Catholic Schools

  • Faith Development Objectives in Relation to Schooling

Ecclesial Movements, Groups and Organisations

  • Faith Development Objectives for Church Organisations, Small Christian Communities and Ecclesial Movements

Education and Training for Faith Development

  • Faith Development Formation Objectives

Provision of Materials for Faith Development Activities

  • Objectives Concerning Materials for Faith Development