PAPAR – Forty-two catechists above the age of 60 renewed their commitment to serve their respective parishes at a three-day refresher course held at the Pace Bene Retreat Centre here on 21-23 June 2018.
The course was organised by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission.
The objective was to enable current catechists to update their services according to the revised General Instruction of Roman Missal (GIRM).
At the same time, the catechists updated themselves on the teachings of the Church, spiritual knowledge, skills of presentation, preparation and delivery of homiletics (how to give Sunday reflections).
The Catechetical Commission has specially designed this course as an alternative formation programme for those catechists who have attained 60 years of age and above, currently serving their respective parishes and have been recommended by their respective parish priest.
Besides this, the Commission has also designed Level One for new catechists, Level Two and Three for existing serving catechists but which would otherwise be too heavy for senior citizens due to the lengthy duration of the programme.
Before concluding the programme, all participants were given the opportunity to share their views on the programme, and to suggest other beneficial topics which were not covered by this newly launched formation programme for senior catechists.
The feedback from the participants would enable the Commission to improve on the existing programmes. A participant suggested the additional topic of Leadership Quality of a Catechist to be added to future programmes.
Other feedback from participants have suggested that more such updating programmes would benefit not only the parishioners but also the catechists themselves. Some catechists shared that they were from the time of the early missionaries and the late Fr Augustine Amandus in the early 1980s. They shared that the format taught by the different missionaries then was not standardised and some described the earlier format as authority to do more.
Another feedback revealed that sharing groups, where participants hear from more experienced catechists, as well as from group reports, were more enriching as they found that they could not sustain longer inputs.
The course ended with Mass presided by Father Nicholas Stephen, and presentation of certificates of attendance to the attendees. – Michael Guntili