By Rose Gamier
THIS was the theme of the Catechetical Day held at the American Memorial Park Amphi-theatre last Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 9:00am, with Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez as the main speaker. About 64 catechists from different parishes came to attend the event as the diocese prepares to welcome another school year with its CCD program.
Bro. John Patrick “JP” Toledo, who is visiting from the Philippines, and discern- ing his vocation to the priesthood, gave the introduction, pointing to the mission, objectives and challenges of today’s catechists.
Bishop Ryan noted that catechists play a crucial task in the areas of evangelization and are therefore called to a pastoral action: “Going out to the peripheries: Accompany- ing the Nones. “ Religious “nones” are growing in numbers and they not only refer to those who do not identify themselves with a particular religion, but this extends to baptized and confirmed Catholics whose faith has eroded, or who no longer comes to the Church.
He pointed to the baptismal information gathered by the diocese from 2004 to 2014, with the statistics showing that in a span of 10 years, there were only a total of 7675 baptisms on the whole island. This figure does not show the number for other sacraments, i.e., how much of those who were baptized received Holy Communion and Confirmation. The situation is not limited to the diocese because elsewhere there is a tremendous decline for other sacraments as well. But how can this be addressed? Bishop Ryan reminded the catechists of their three main tasks, which, he said, also represents the entire work of the church, as summarized by the Diocese of San Jose Church in California. These are the 3W’s: Word, Worship and Witness. Word – knowing the content, scripture, doctrines, commandments, teach- ing. Worship – liturgy participation, and Witness – through actions, how to live as faithful followers of Christ. These three components are equally important and one cannot be done without the other.
Sense of accompaniment is key to addressing the “nones” but it is one area that the Church is falling short, if not lacking, and catechists can help by bridging the gap, and reaching out to the community, particularly those in the peripheries. He challenged participants to be mindful of these tasks, adopt a “saint next door” mindset by seeing the goodness in each one – even the young students, and develop a positive encounter with people.
After the talk, Sr. Nina Caccam asked participants to group themselves and reflect on their idea of being a witness, what witnessing for Christ means and what they can do to get children “enlisted” as “witnesses” for Christ, too. Responses were submitted via online link https://goo.gl/hwazbb. The catechetical formation concluded with an action song, “Anima Christi,” and participants left with a renewed sense of commitment.
In her social media post, Olive Aninon, assistant CCD coordinator for San Roque Parish noted, “What a beautiful way to “warm-up” for the new CCD year! So blessed to be part of the catechists’ group. Accepting the challenge of Bishop Ryan Jimenez, onwards to living the 3W’s..WordWorshipWitness! Thanks Sr. Nina SJBP for all the guidance and support! Thanks to Brother JP for a thought-provoking and inspiring introduction.”
As the catechists and their students begin another road to teaching and learning, may their faith journey befilled with joy and encounter with Christ that leaves a lasting impact.