Tag Archives: catechetical sunday

Catechetical Sunday in January eases problems for SS teachers in Sandakan

Father Ireneus blesses the catechists after the renewal of their commitment, 21 Jan 2017, Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – The Catechetical Sunday for 2017, being brought forward from September to January by the Catechetical Commission of Malaysia, has eased problems for Sunday School teachers in the parish.

Sunday School usually begins classes in January each year.

The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, “Christ our Joy,” was the topic chosen for a session with the parents on 14 Jan 2017. The session provided an opportunity for teachers, parents, and children to understand each other’s role.

In the first session, Franciscan Sister Martina gave a catechesis on the role and responsibility of parents as the first catechist in passing on the faith to their children. On the other hand, the teachers are to assist them on Sundays when the children attend Sunday School classes.

Parents were encouraged to ask questions.

The questions asked focused on age, Confirmation attire, syllabus of the Malaysian Catechetical series, and others.

The age recommended for Sunday School is from 7-16, that is, until they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The second session, for catechists, dealt with “The Catechist’s vocation, role, mission, spirituality and competence.”  Its objective was to develop the confidence and commitment of catechists from the three language groups.

Concluding activities such as colouring competition for children for kindergarten to level 3, bible reading presentation for levels 4-6, and biblical drama for teenage students were held on Jan 21, with prizes for winners.

That evening, the catechists from all language groups received a special blessing after Communion from Father Christopher Ireneus at the Sunset Mass. – Raymond Wong

SH parish catechists renew their commitment to serve for another year

English medium catechists pose with the concelebrants after the Mass, 21 Jan 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – In conjunction with Catechetical Sunday, over 200 catechists serving at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here and its subparish of Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang renewed their commitment to serve for another year.

After the homily, 126 catechists serving in the English medium took their pledge of service before Archbishop John Wong on 21 Jan 2017.  Concelebrating with him was Archbishop Emeritus John Lee.

After commissioning them, the prelate made a plea to the congregation that those who feel called to the catechetical ministry not to be afraid to give their services there.

The catechistical ministry comprises Faith Formation (children and teenagers), Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and Children (CIC), Special Ministry for the Deaf and for People with Developmental Disabilities, Kids of the Kingdom, Ministry for Sponsors, Godparents & Newly Baptised (SGNB), and Apologetics.

The following day (Jan 22), 84 catechists serving the Chinese medium and 73 serving the BM medium renewed their commitment at the 7 am and 10:45 am Masses respectively.

Earlier, the catechists of the different languages prepared themselves for their renewal of commitment with a time of recollection Jan 19 at the cathedral based on the theme Christ our Joy.

 

Christ Our Joy (John 15:11)

Starting in 2017, the Malaysian Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday on January 22 (or date nearest to it).  Below is a reflection by Fr Mark Michael of the Malaysian Commission for Catechetics.

CHRIST came to bring joy to all humanity and this is one of the keynote messages of Christianity and the recurring motif of the Gospels. Joy, like love, is at the heart of what it means to be Christian, and it testifies to the conviction that human life has an ultimate meaning revealed to us by God and guaranteed by His unfailing love. Jesus wants us to experience His joy and He reveals the path to the lasting joy that satisfies the deepest needs of the human heart. He instituted the Church to bring us to this plateau of delight. We need to take Him at His word when Jesus told His disciples, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). The greatest honour we can give God is to be joyful because of the knowledge of His love.

Pope Paul VI wrote, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”  Catechesis is no longer perceived as the simple teaching of faith formulae, but is focused at the maturing of faith as a support to witnessing to it in the world. My primary concern about catechesis today is that we need to emphasise the joy, enthusiasm and hopefulness that our faith produces, by witnessing and living this truth in our words, our actions, our decision, our relationship and our entire being.

GK Chesterton, who states that joy, which was a small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian and that Christianity satisfies human’s ancestral instinct for being the right way up. GK Chesterton’s understanding would be seen as controversial and not all would agree with this claim of Christianity that affirms that joy is one of the “dominant thesis” of Christian faith.

A joy-filled Christian is one who, rather than endure life, has learned through faith, to treasure life and witnesses the kingdom of God. The Word of Jesus has produced its fruit. Those who believe in Him have the fullness of His joy (Jn 17:13). Joy is indeed a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) and a characteristic mark of the Kingdom of God (Rom 14:17). The sacrament of Baptism fills the faithful with the joy of the Spirit (Acts 13:52), which makes the apostles sing praises even in their worst moments of persecution. Our joy depends more on the Spirit’s Presence in us. Joy is simply the Presence of the Holy Spirit. When the spirit of gladness permeates a person’s entire being, they are said to be joyful.

How do we catechise in a way that fosters learning of the heart? We are catechists in a community of various backgrounds, traditions and histories where there are expectations and pressures. We cannot be independent and cannot avoid the social structures beyond our Catholic religious structures. We will be constantly negotiating between those structures and our communities. The pastoral approach does not mean accommodation to current ways of thinking and behaving, but entails bringing the joy and the light of the truth to bear on contemporary situations in a manner that is convincing and sensitive to the questions of post-modern people. As the ministry of the Word, catechesis refers to a constellation of activities that promote, enhance and challenge believers toward more mature faith. “Christ our joy” could take many forms like:-

  1. The good example of living a gospel-inspired life
  2. Works of charity and mercy
  3. Morally appropriate language, action and attitudes.
  4. Genuine Christian faith, hope and charity
  5. A lifestyle characterised by prayers
  6. Celebration of the Sacraments and other acts of worship
  7. Genuine Christian humility
  8. Participation in the Christian community’s ministry
  9. Active participation in social justice events and causes.

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