CCD: What Do Those Initials Mean?

Q:I see or hear the expression “CCD” used quite often in connection with parish religious education programs, but I have no idea what those initials stand for or why they are associated with such programs. I cannot be the only one who finds this acronym puzzling.

A: “CCD” stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, originally a religious education program for adult converts to the Catholic faith and students in public schools. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) recommended that it be established in each diocese. In 1905, Pope St. Pius X ordered that this group be established in every Catholic parish.

A confraternity of Christian doctrine is a shared effort to hand on the faith. In the United States, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine has a formal entity, a legal corporation governed by trustees chosen by the U.S. bishops. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., in the same building as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Confraternity holds the copyright for the New American Bible translation and oversees its publication.