Sunday, January 24, 2010

Archdiocesan Catechist Coordinator's Course

This year, the Catechetical Office commemorated Catechetical Sunday by launching the Archdiocesan Catechist Coordinator’s Course on January 9, 2010. The brand new course - one year in the making, is the initiative of Fr. Erbin Fernandez, the Director of Catechesis. The objective of the course is to re-acquaint catechist co-coordinators with the fundamental norms that govern catechetical ministry within the Catholic tradition. Approximately sixty catechists/coordinators (representing sixteen parishes) have committed themselves to an ongoing journey of formation in the hope of renewing catechetical ministry in their respective parishes.

As the catechist gathered eagerly on Saturday morning for their first session in the conference room of the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre, they were inspired by a simple para-liturgy that celebrated fifty years of catechetical development since the Second Vatican Council. The catechists were led to ponder the mystery of God’s faithful presence His Church. One catechist described the experience of the para-liturgy as engaging all his senses.

Over the next three months, course participants will be “soaked” into the living sources of the Church by familiarizing themselves with the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism will be experienced not only as a reference book but as a guiding inspiration to how catechesis should be celebrated and lived with the young person. It is anticipated that catechists will become more familiar with the method of celebration that draws its vitality from the Church’s rich liturgical and scriptural roots. The hope is that both young person and catechist will experience catechesis as an encounter with Jesus Christ.

Fr. Erbin noted that this new course would require a huge paradigm shift for catechists in the way they understood their vocation as “stewards of the Mystery” and not merely “teachers of doctrine”. On-going tutorial sessions will be offered to help catechist craft their own reflection papers aimed at reshaping their vision of catechetical ministry in their respective parishes. Upon completion of the course, the Catechetical Office will issue certification to each catechist coordinator.

Those catechists in attendance described the opening session of the new course as interactive and stimulating. The Catechetical Office will be offering the course again in the second half of the year for those parishes who were not able to send their coordinators or for those parishes that want to send a few more from their catechetical team for training.