by Myra D'souza
NORTH ARABIAN VICARIATE, JANUARY 22, 2015: A three day course commencing on 14 January, 2015 was conducted by Fr. Franco Pereira, the Catechetical Director of the Northern Arabian vicariate for the catechists of the St. Therese Parish. The first day of the course commenced with Sr. Roseema of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation introducing us to a catechesis course entitled ECHOES which is a parish-based training course, equipping those who teach the faith with basic training skills. The catechist is trained to echo the whole Person of Jesus Christ and like a mirror to reflect the image and resound the voice Christ.
Next Fr. Franco introduced us to the concept of enhancing Value Education to teach faith-based values to the children. He asked us to keep in mind that as we transmit good Catholic, Kingdom values to the children we must look beyond to the generations yet to come. We must update our teaching methods as well as keep abreast of the changing times and adapt accordingly as yesterday's solutions do not fit today's problems.
In answering Christ's call to become catechists we have a primary duty to study our faith well in order to be able to transmit it effectively to others. At the end of the first day, Diego Sequeira remarked "Wow! This course is making me realize that I must always look for greater things which the Lord came to teach us".
The second day of the course was a discussion on adult catechesis. We were privileged to watch episode 7 of the media presentation on Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron on the "WORD MADE FLESH, TRUE BREAD OF HEAVEN: THE MYSTERY OF THE LITURGY AND THE EUCHARIST." We were all moved by the narration along with the breathtaking visuals as Fr. Barron walked us through each part of the Holy Mass with explanations that helped us to appreciate even more this treasure of our faith.
We then formed groups to discuss and share what we had learned from the presentation. Another eye opener was the use of scenes from the favorite movie "Fiddler on the Roof" to answer questions on tradition and to differentiate between traditions that we can get rid of once they become meaningless and those we must to hold on to as they have an eternal significance. "It was inspiring to watch clips of Fiddler on the Roof as it has shown me that we can use contemporary media to explain our catechisis" remarked Rowena Alvares.
On the final day of the course we watched Episode 10 of the 11 part series on Catholicism entitled "WORLD WITHOUT END: THE LAST THINGS" dealing with the Catholic vision of heaven, purgatory and hell. Fr. Robert Barron took us on a journey through different lands giving us a glimpse of the majestic beauty of the different religious shrines in Europe weaving through this rich tapestry of different cultures, nations and peoples; the mysteries and meaning of our faith. "I got a better understanding about the Church's teaching after watching the beautiful presentation" said Sonia Josemoola. We then formed groups to discuss, reflect and answer various points related to the presentation.
Lastly, we played a game entitled 'Win as Much as You Can'. At the conclusion of the game Fr. Franco explained the purpose of the game and we realized how selfishly we had played. Competing against each other in order to win we defeated the purpose of the game resulting in everyone losing. This game highlighted the fact that as catechists we do NOT COMPETE with each other but rather COMPLETE each other as the goal of this ministry is service in love to the children entrusted to us.
"As catechists" commented Fr. Franco "we are the extended arms of our parish priest. God's call to us in this ministry is a vocation which entails responsibilities we cannot take lightly." To conclude, our parish priest said that in answering Christ's call to serve Him as catechists we have pledged to work faithfully, loyally and sincerely.
This can be done most effectively by taking full advantage of all the courses and aids made available to us by Fr. Franco who spends a great deal of time in preparing the course material and generously sharing his vast experience with us. Fr. Blany and Fr. Franco then blessed us and we returned to our homes with greater authentic knowledge of our faith, a greater commitment and a wider vision and understanding of our vocation as catechists.