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National Catechetical Conference Held

Sept. 25, 2013

The Conference of Catholic Bishops’ of India (CCBI) - Commission for Catechetics organized its 6th National Catechetical Conference, 18-20 September at Navinta, Delhi Archdiocesan Retreat Centre, New Delhi. Ninety four participants from 66 dioceses, mainly Regional Secretaries, Diocesan Directors and their collaborators, engaged in the catechetical ministry reflected and shared, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on the theme: Practical Ways of Catechizing.  Welcoming participants, Bishop Antony Devotta of Trichy Diocese, the Chairman for CCBI Commission for Catechetics urged the dignitaries to realize the importance of  the ministry of Catechetics. He recommended that as catechists bishops, priests, religious and lay catechists, pass on the faith to all sections and bring them closer to God.

Delivering the key-note address, Archbishop Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi and President of the Regional Bishops’ Council of the North (RBCN), said: “We live in a world of information technology and our thinking is conditioned by development in media . Yet the truths of the faith remain the same because Christ our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever…The ultimate goal of catechesis is to have a personal relationship with the crucified and Risen Lord.”

Father Manikyaraju, from the Archdiocese of Delhi, presented a paper on ‘Practical use of the Catechism of Catholic Church for Catechetical Purpose.’ Sister Teresa Joseph FMA  spoke on the theme of  ‘Contextualizing Catechesis, a Practical Way of Faith Formation.’ Father Joy Puthenveettil, from the diocese of Alleppy, presented a paper on ‘Paradigm Shift in Class Room Catechesis.’ Father Michael Gonsalves, from the diocese of Vasai, presented a paper and a workshop on ‘Creativity in Catechesis, a Practical way of Catechizing.’ Group discussions, sharing of contributions to the catechetical field and region-wise reporting were also part of the deliberations. Workshops and group discussions enabled the participants to know the catechetical activities being carried out in different parts of India and to arrive at concrete recommendations to make the catechetical ministry more practical and creative.

The messages of Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of Shimla-Chandigarh Diocese during the conference and Father Gilbert Choondal at the concluding function enlightened the participants.  Presenting the recommendations of the Conference, Father Laurence Culas, National Executive Secretary for CCBI Commission for Catechetics, said: “So often catechists and even directors of catechetical programmes focus excessively on the ‘practical application’ tools. All the practical tools of catechizing at our disposal help us to make the faith relevant. But it does not remain at the heart of our catechetical ministry. On the other hand, merely theologizing the doctrines and beliefs does not serve the purpose of catechizing. Our catechesis flows from the experiential knowledge and the love of Christ and His Church.”  The participants unanimously voiced  the view that the Catechesis should become a vehicle for increase of  faith and that faith must lead to change in life and behaviours of the faithful.

 Source: CBCI website

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