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Lesson One - The Apostles Creed

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

This first lesson will be a short one. It covers only the factual information of what the Apostles’ Creed is and what are the principal truths it contains.

Since this is a manual for catechists, all the lessons---beginning with the first---will be aimed at keeping you share with others what you learn about your faith.


In your lesson, the main thing to keep in mind is that the foundation of Christianity is the faith, that this faith can be expressed in plain, ordinary language, and that the Apostles Creed is the most ancient and widely used summary of what Christians are to believe.


You should explain to your pupils that the Apostles’ Creed is a living proof of the Church’s stability since the time of Christ.

What keeps a society, any society stable for any length of time? It is the agreement among its members on certain basic principles. As long as they agree on the fundamentals, the society continues to exist. But once they disagree among themselves on these basics, the society weakens and finally disappears.

One of the reasons why the Catholic Church has remained constant over the centuries is that her members have continued to believe the same revealed truths as contained in the Apostles’ Creed.

But remember that the Creed is not just a collection of words. It is a set of convictions about the most important realities in life. When the ideas in our mind agree with realities outside the mind, we possess the truth. That is why the Apostles’ Creed is a series of twelve truths about God, about Jesus Christ. He formed and about our eternal destiny.


As a catechist you want to help those you catechize to put into practice what you teach them. Here are some recommendations for living the Apostles’ Creed.

  1. Memory. Have your students learn the Apostles’ Creed by heart. Have them recite the Creed out loud, with no memory aids. Have them also write out loud the Creed on paper. And in both cases, make sure that what they recite or write is word-perfect, with not a single word missing or changed.

  2. Meditation. Tell your students to think about the words of the Apostles’ Creed for a few minutes in God’s presence. Have them first become aware of God. Then, in prayerful conversation with Him, go over one article of the Creed after another while asking Him, “What does this mean?”

  3. Sacred Song. While in India, St. Francis Xavier would teach the faith by putting some of the Christian mysteries into song. Someone with musical talent can make the Apostles’ Creed into a simple melody.

  4. Comparison. For the more advanced students, you might have them compare the Apostles’ Creed with other famous creeds. The Nicene Creed is regularly used in the Eucharistic Liturgy, and the Credo of the People of God was formulated by Pope Paul VI in 1968, on the nineteenth century of martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Church Teaching

“The twelve Articles of the Apostles Creed are the first things…that Christian person must hold. For these take their origin from the holy Apostles, the authorities and teacher of the faith, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When they received their mandate from the Lord to go forth into the whole world as His representatives to preach the Gospel to every creature they thought it proper to compose a formula of the Christian faith that all might be “united in the same mind and the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). By this statement of the faith the Apostles intended that there should be no division among those called to the unity of faith but that all should be-----(unreadable—the copy went off the page)

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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