Catechesis (CCD)
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420 Inman Avenue
Colonia, NJ 07067
Tel: (732) 574-0150


St. John Vianney
Parish Website
What is CCD

Ever wonder what the letters CCD stand for? 
CCD is the acronym for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine where confraternity refers to an association of the faithful.  CCD dates back to the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563).  The confraternity provided religious education to both children and adults who lacked formal religious education.  In the early twentieth century Pope St. Pius X wrote an encyclical in which he stated that the express purpose of CCD was for religion classes for the young people who frequent the public schools.  And that is pretty much what the average Catholic today knows about CCD – it is religion classes for public school kids. 

Over time, many in the Church began to speak of Religious Education rather than CCD, but the name Religious Education never seemed to replace CCD in the minds of the kids, the parents or the catechists teaching the classes.  A friend in another parish tells a story of First Communion several years ago in her parish.  As Father was talking to them about everything they learned about Eucharist in Religious Education he kept getting blank faces.  Finally he asked them- “You have gone to Religious Education classes, haven’t you?”  In unison they all screamed out –“NO!”  After some further probing, one second grader explained to Father that they have been going to CCD.   

The title of the person responsible for the Religious Education Program evolved into Director of Religious Education (DRE).  Nevertheless, the name CCD has stuck. 

A little over a year ago the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a new National Directory for Catechesis.  The term “catechesis” is rooted in the Greek verb katekhein meaning to resound or echo.  In Acts of the Apostles, Luke uses the verb to refer to instructing in the way of the Lord.   

Enter a new term- Catechetical Instruction.  Will it catch on?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But my hope is that if we offer an explanation, there is at least a chance.   

Like CCD and Religious Education, Catechesis involves instruction about the Catholic faith.  Catechesis takes it a step further, though, and strives to help us deepen our relationship with God.  Thus, Catechesis is not just about learning, it is about living.   


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We are a private Roman Catholic Elementary school and Preschool located in Colonia / Woodbridge Township / Middlesex County / Central New Jersey (NJ).