“Besides being a witness, the catechist must also be a teacher who teaches the faith. A biblical-theological formation should afford the catechist an organic awareness of the Christian message, structured around the central mystery of the faith, Jesus Christ. Together with those dimensions which refer to being and knowledge, the formation of catechists must also cultivate technique.”(General Directory of Catechesis #240 & 244)
Braving the prospect of further rain, after a stormy week, Parish Catechetical Coordinators of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Hall in Curepe on Saturday January 12, to meet with the Directress of Catechetics, Sr Juliet Rajah CHF, and her team, for the purpose of information sharing and brainstorming on the subject of faith formation.
The Coordinators were warmly welcomed by Sr Marie Young, Vicariate Catechetical Coordinator for the Northern Vicariate who led the group in praise and worship.
Following this, Sr Juliet introduced herself and the staff at the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, North and South as well as the Vicariate Catechetical Coordinators and the Catholic Education Regional Officers.
The session then became interactive with Sr Juliet inviting members of the group to define the function and role of the Catechetical Coordinator, as well as discussion on getting the job done effectively and future planning.
The latter point led Sr Juliet to express her thanks to members of the group for their commitment to catechesis, faith formation, and sacramental preparation, recognising that, in all aspects, it was not an easy task, especially as it is voluntary work, yet extremely rewarding faith-wise.
The group then went on to discuss the skills/expertise required for the position of Coordinator.
Some of the skills/expertise identified included the following:
•Good standing within the Catholic Community
•Leadership and interpersonal skills
•Training in the Ministry of Catechesis and theological background
The characteristics required were also discussed, some of these being:
•Commitment to serve with time and talent
•Honesty, dependability and confidentiality
•Team player committed to working for the common good
Sr Juliet recommended the establishment of a Coordinating Team, rather than an individual Coordinator, which should enable each parish to benefit from collective expertise and strengths and allow for deployment of the workload and greater flexibility of human power resources.
In concluding, the group was advised of the VIRTUS Training Progamme which has been designed to train all those interacting with children to recognise the signs of abuse and methods of dealing with such situations. This programme is mandatory for all catechists in the Archdiocese.
Following Sr. Juliet, Vicariate Coordinator for South and Central, Bernadette Gopaul- Ramkhalawan, advised of the following upcoming events :
*Adult Faith Formation Programme on the Creed
*Train the Trainer programme for Catechists
*Sessions on Prayer
After a short break, Vicariate groups met to share and discuss strategies for promoting the Faith in this Year of Faith.
•Questionnaire on areas of Faith distributed to parishioners followed by discussion
•Supplements to parish newsletters relating to teachings on the Faith
•Know Your Faith series, with study material provided, followed by evaluation
•Ongoing teaching on the Faith during Holy Mass
•Ongoing Faith Formation programmes i.e. Alpha, Catholicism 201, Dogmatic Theology, In the Beginning, Lectio Divina, Life in the Spirit, among others
•Engaging in Faith formation with parents and sponsors of candidates registered in the Sacramental programmes – Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation
•Enlisting support at Parish Council meetings
•Interactive sessions with other ministries especially Youth Ministry
•Teaming with other parishes for support
•Personal invitations to parishioners to ensure development of the Faith through involvement in parish activities
Group presentations followed these discussions with the meeting concluding shortly thereafter. –
Diane Lucky, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office