France: massive publicity campaign for catechism classes

Source: FSSPX News


In face of the ceaseless decline in the numbers of children enrolling for catechism, the archdiocese of Paris launched an information campaign in September 2002. For the first time the numbers have stabilized, that is to say, 17,000 children between the ages of 8 and 12, are taught catechism in the capital.

Encouraged by this result, the dioceses of Créteil, Evry, Pontoise, Nanterre and St. Denis are uniting with Paris for a joint campaign in favor of catechism in the form of leaflets, posters and publicity streamers fixed to church facades. The photograph of a little girl, smiling over a map of the world, illustrates the slogan: “the catechism, reference points for life.”

Twelve dioceses in the west, from Caen to Luçon, are also organizing a publicity campaign, with the slogan: “Have a caté break!” The top section of the poster shows a family smiling broadly; underneath, two coffee cups and a sachet labeled “caté  +”. Fr. Olivier Roy let it be known that the bishops had called on the services of a publicity agency (PCV of St. Brieuc) for this campaign, realized with the aid of more than 100,000 postcards and 25,000 posters, at a total cost of 40,000 €. The cards and posters have been distributed not only in parishes but also in shops and through mailboxes.

Those responsible for this publicity operation, confess that they hope to shake the dust from the present image of the catechism: “we thought that the majority of people regarded the catechism as somewhat forbidding, as it was considered in the
19th century. Far from it!”

“It is a play on words – pause café [coffee break] – pause caté [an abbreviation of the French word for catechism – caté-chism],” explained Fr. Roy, “with the idea that, among the multitude of activities available to young people, time could be found to take a break that would bring them something more.” – For this, they shouldn’t offer these children a “de-catenated” doctrine, as in today’s impoverished catechisms.