Confirmation Catechists from 55 parishes met last week Saturday (April 26) at Fatima Church Hall, Curepe to discuss strategies for making the Confirmation programme more real and connected to real life.
The workshop session, Making It Real, was hosted by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office and began with an introduction by Sr Juliet Rajah CHF, Directress of Catechetics. She said one of the key features of modern society was change, and encouraged participants to embrace change as a stepping stone to make their programmes as effective and applicable to the lives of young people.
The 100-plus workshop participants were then invited to share their thoughts on the theme and their expectations. Most expressed the desire to learn new strategies, especially those that can enable them to enter the ‘space’ of young people.
Participants sat in groups to analyse the present situation, and plan the way forward. They looked at their strengths, the challenges they faced, and the opportunities available to move forward. A commitment was made to do three concrete things by September 30 to overcome some of the challenges identified. Notes were collected so that a follow up session could be planned.
Norma St Rose, a former educator, gave some input based on her visits to confirmation classes as part of her data collection. One of the important points she made was that young people need to know who they were. The “Who am I” part of the programme must be done properly so that throughout the programme the young person discovers his/her true self. She emphasised the importance of self-knowledge to empower young people to face the world of today.
Colin Jackson, a catechist, also gave some input on some of the strategies his parish community had tried that were successful.
It was recommended that catechists using the resources spend more time in planning in order to maximise the full potential of the programme. It was again stressed that young people need to make connections between the Confirmation programme and the real world in which they live, so that the sacramental value of this sacrament will be appreciated and lived.
The method by which we engage young people should incorporate some reflection on the world and life around them. Young people must be sensitised to the environment they live in and be able to link Gospel values and whatever is taking place in society. In this way, they can contribute positively to society.
Teenagers live in a world of technology and catechists must use the technology in their methodology, and help our young people use technology for positive activities. In this way, catechists will help teenagers be creative with what they are good at, and grow as young disciples through the use of technology.
The day provided food for thought by helping all to take a close look at modern society and its influences. It helped the participants to look inwardly at their own strengths and how they can use them; their challenges and how they can overcome them, and some of what is needed to improve delivery and connectivity.
Archdiocesan Catechetical Office