MANILA, Sept. 7, 2015 – Echoing Pope Francis’ prayer for September, a group of Filipino catechists are calling on colleagues all over the Philippines to redouble efforts at proclaiming the truth of God and to continue giving witness to the faith despite setbacks.
“One of the challenges of being a catechist is being able to give witness to the faith we are tasked to proclaim … consistently,” observed Queen Amor Monserrat, a volunteer who spends Sundays catechizing kids at Baclaran’s National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Walking the talk
While “walking the talk” is the duty of all Christians, the electronics and communications engineer pointed out catechists like her are expected more than regular lay persons to act a certain way given they should always strive to be an example to others, especially to the youth they serve.
“Kids look up to us … And as they say, what we do automatically becomes right in their eyes,” Monserrat added.
The Holy Father’s current intention for evangelization reads: “That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.”
Grace of strength
Darwin Beceril, a catechist from the Diocese of Caloocan, welcomed the Pope’s prayer intention, agreeing that, indeed catechists need the grace of strength to follow Christ.
“Please, pray for us. The responsibility that proclaiming Christ demands of us is enormous,” he shared, noting how some catechists tend to claim the work of God as theirs.
“It is a tragedy when catechists who should know better already become the center of attention, neither Christ nor His Good News,” he lamented.
According to him, this is a temptation catechists should learn to combat, particularly through a deep prayer life.
Beceril went on to discourage those who dream of material wealth to dare enter the catechetical ministry.
“No, this is not the job for you. But if you are after spiritual fulfilment, then by all means be a catechist! Here you’ll find the treasure no earthly possession can equal. It is the joy of seeing children becoming good, mature Christians,” he declared.
Noting their important role in the education of Christians, Nestor Limqueco, meanwhile, underlined the need of catechists to undergo ongoing formation.
A religious education teacher and veteran catechist, he said the ministry of catechists is not just a way of life, but a vocation.
“Authentic catechesis focuses on the deepening and enriching of faith by nurturing and animating the community. Catechesis should be relevant in the lives of the people. It must begin in human situations and culminate in the Eucharist, the center of Christian life,” he explained.
Nat’l Catechetical Month
The Catholic Church in the Philippines celebrates September as “National Catechetical Month.”
This year’s theme is: “Catechists: Companions of Jesus, Friends of the Poor.” (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)