Most adults are capable of a free and informed response of faith to God's initiative of love. They have experienced the joys and challenges of life and have the capacity to question the truth and meaning of life. The catechetical formation of adults is essential for the Church to carry out the commission given the apostles by Christ.
This formation needs to be addressed to adults at different stages in the development of their faith. Many Catholic adults practice their faith and desire to deepen it. Others who have been baptized but who have not received a comprehensive catechesis or who no longer practice their faith need to be renewed through an enthusiastic preaching of the word and a vibrant re-evangelization. Still others, who are not baptized, may desire to be incorporated into the catechumenate, wherein they can gradually proceed through the stages of Christian initiation and be incorporated into the life of the Church.
Adult catechesis promotes mature adult faith: the faith of the disciple who has been saved by Christ's redemptive love and who is being continually converted to him. Adult catechesis fosters this discipleship by providing "a comprehensive and systematic presentation and exploration of the core elements of Catholic faith and practice—a complete initiation into a Catholic way of life."
The Goals of Adult Catechesis
Adult catechesis has three major goals.
1. It invites and enables adults "to acquire an attitude of conversion to the Lord." This attitude views the Christian life as a gradual transformation in Christ, in which the Christian takes on the mind of Christ, trusts in the Father's love, accepts the Spirit's guidance in searching out and obeying God's will, and seeks holiness of life within the Church. It fosters a baptismal spirituality in which the Christian's faith in Jesus is continuously deepened through participation in the sacraments, the works of charity and justice, and the prayer life of the Church.
2. Catechesis for adults helps them to make "a conscious and firm decision to live the gift and choice of faith through membership in the Christian community." It fosters active participation in the Church as she is realized in families, small faith-based communities, parishes, dioceses, and the communion of saints. It helps adults to develop a deeper sense of their cooperation with the Holy Spirit for the mission of the Church in the world and for her internal life as well.
3. Catechesis for adults helps them to become "more willing and able to be a Christian disciple in the world." It enables adult disciples to accept their rightful place in the Church's mission to evangelize, to hear the cry for justice, to promote unity among Christians, and to bear witness to the salvation won by Jesus Christ for all.
---From the National Directory for Catechesis