On 30th January 2016, the Faith Educators of St. Joseph’s Church, Sentul attended a very enlightening formation held at the Formation House from 8.30 am. This half day formation was conducted by two excellent facilitators namely Brother Gabriel Moses and Sister Jane and assisted by Brother John Bosco. Parish of St. Joseph has this year shortened the Catechism class time from 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, and with this, many Catechists feared that they might not be able to finish the syllabus or subjects in the children’s textbook. Therefore, bearing that in mind, this formation was to introduce some useful teaching methodology and explain to all Catechists as to how they can apply these effective ideas in their Sunday classrooms. The formation showed Catechists how to manage their limited time by including fun activities related to their lesson plan.
In this formation, all SJC Catechists were reminded about being a Catechist who echoes the truth: a message that is not theirs, but entrusted to them as the birthright of the sons and daughters of God, who they are catechizing. During the formation, Catechists were shown various interesting ways on how to connect with the children in the classroom. Then there was a group session, where Catechists were asked to share about the challenges they faced, challenges with the students and the Sunday School environment. The facilitators gathered these information and together with the Catechists present, gave inputs and ideas on ways to overcome each challenge.
Brother Gabriel inspired all Catechists to face their challenges instead of turning away from them. In fact, a challenge should be confronted with courage. A Catechist, though a “teacher in the faith”, also grows spiritually while they share their faith as faith is a continuous learning and growing process. Hence, Sister Jane stressed out in her session that being a Catechist is a God-given talent. In that short period of time, she cleverly summed up everything on how teaching the faith requires a certain skill and the importance of a proper method and preparation of the lesson which are very important and is very much required.
Our Parish Priest Fr. George mentioned that not only Catechists but also parents and adults in a parish are all called to teach the faith at various times and in different circumstances. Adults are called by God to be lay apostles, bringing Christ to the secular realm. Parents are called by God to form their own children by the promise of Baptism. Catechists are called by God to catechize others, especially children, and support parents in their role as “first Catechists” to their children. Therefore, adults in a parish need continual, ongoing, lifelong formation in order to better live their mission and be confident to meet their responsibilities as apostles to the world.
The teaching methods were successfully covered during the half day formation as every Catechist became inspired and motivated to take their materials learned to their respective classrooms. As a Catechist, one should be willing to spend adequate time in preparation for each lesson. In this formation, all Catechists are told to be life-long learners, able to grow in faith as they learn with the children. At the same time Catechist must always have a positive attitude and a sense of humour. In SJC as with most parishes, most volunteers for Catechists are parishioners who are generous with their time, loves the Church and who want to see the next generation flourish and grow in their Catholic faith though some have little or no professional training. However, they are the ones who persevere and keep our parishes running.
By Amanda Pumala