The catechists of South and Central Vicariates observed “A Week of Grace” – September 23-30 – to celebrate Catechetical Month. This year’s theme was The Catechist: A Catalyst in the Journey of Faith and it was chosen in order to prepare catechists to take up their role with greater zeal during the Year of Faith.
The structure of the week facilitated catechists and priests of both Vicariates to reflect, pray and celebrate. The 20 parishes were divided into five clusters. Each cluster celebrated Mass on a particular day during the week at one of the parishes within the cluster.
The Week was launched on Sunday 23 at the Pro-Cathedral, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando, with Msgr Christian Pereira as chief celebrant. At the celebration the representatives of the 20 parishes lit candles and renewed their commitment to teach the faith. Copies of the Bible, Vatican II documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and YouCat were brought up at the Presentation of the Gifts as symbolic milestones of the Faith.
Msgr Pereira explained that Holy Scripture was the foundation stone for the faith, the documents of Vatican II were produced based on reflection and application of scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church was revised based on the reflection of Vatican II. Youcat is a special edition of the Catechism directed to the youths.
In each cluster, the various parish priests came together to concelebrate the Mass with their catechists. Each priest gave his own interpretation of the theme. Their reflections were deep, encouraging, reflective and enlightening.
Frs Sirju and Reddy concelebrated Mass for Siparia, Penal, Erin andSouth Oropoucheon Tuesday 25. In his reflection Fr Sirju focussed on the need for new methods of teaching so as to engage the children in the lessons.
On Wednesday 26, Fr Khan offered a definition of faith to the La Romaine,San Fernando, Mon Repos and Pointe àPierrecluster. He encouraged catechists to reflect on what is faith. Faith, he said, was belief in God and that we should live as though we truly believe in God. This is important if we define our role as catechists, as teachers of the faith. Fr de la Bastide was also there to celebrate with this cluster.
On Thursday 27, Frs Kumar, Baskar-Jayaseelan and Mc Lawrence concelebrated Holy Mass for the cluster ofRio Claro, Moruga,PrincesTownand New Grant. Fr Kumar helped catechists differentiate between the academic classroom and the faith class. He also helped catechists to see the difference between mere knowledge and the faith experience for continuous conversion.
On Friday 28, Frs D’Hereaux, Lumsden and Rosario celebrated Mass with the catechists of the Central Vicariate. During the Mass the catechists made a commitment to their parish community and to the archdiocese. In his homily Fr D’Hereaux shared with catechists the reality of life as a catechist. He said there were many obstacles and it might seem that catechists were swimming upstream against the challenges of the day. However, inSt Augustine’s time it was no different. He encouraged the catechists to pray, study and persevere in faith.
The week ended amidst the coconut trees with Holy Mass, music, song and fish broth under the stars in Icacos. Frs Christo and Shijo celebrated with the catechists of La Brea, Point Fortin and Cedros. Fr Christo’s homily highlighted the truth and openness of the faith experience.
Catechists recognised their humble role as the ones who carry the faith forward. They learnt that it was a privilege that carried with it serious responsibility for the formation of people’s lives and the life of the Church and how one lived out the mission in the world.
Catechists acknowledged that this Year of Faith must be seen with wonder and awe as we explore the mystery of our faith.