Pope Francis has issued an Apostolic letter, Motu Propio entitled ‘Antquum ministerium’ or ‘Ancient ministry’.

Within this letter, the Pontiff institutes the lay ministry of catechist. This vocational service to the Church lasts for the entirety of a persons life and is a particular calling to serve the Catholic Church as a teacher.

The instituted ministry of catechist will be at the service of the diocesan Bishop rather than focussed within a particular parish. Archobishop Fisichello, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation hopes “It will make it possible to have a laity that is better prepared in the transmission of the faith”.

It is thought that the new ministry will have greatest impact where priests are rare in continents such as Africa and Latin America. Each Bishops Conference will take responsibility for deciding the necessary processes for admission and each individual Bishop will determine the needs and suitable preparation within their own territory.