Tawau : Some 105 catechists of Holy Trinity Parish including those from outstations attended a one-day Study Day on the seven attitudes of a Catechist, organized by the Parish Catechetical Team on Saturday, 3rd March 2012 in the Church Basement Room.
The one-day Study Day gave the participants the opportunity to explore ways and means to be an active and effective catechist, passing on the faith to others. It also provided them a platform to exchange ideas on developing one's skills, knowledge and enhance one's attitude in carrying out the task as catechists. Ongoing formation is necessary to prepare oneself to respond to the great commission as in Matthew 28:19, 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time.'.
The Church considers Catechesis one of the most important tasks. By baptism we are all incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission. We are called by the Lord in a special way to follow Him, teacher and formator of disciples.
The day's session began with an Opening Mass at the Chapel, presided over by Fr David A. Garaman, the assistant rector of Holy Trinity Parish.
In his homily Fr. David urged the participants to discern on their roles as catechists called to share their faith, give witness and build community. It is through Word and action that catechists hand on the Catholic faith and proclaim the Gospel of Christ. He went on to say that catechists must possess and exhibit qualities necessary to give credible witness to the Gospel. A catechist must be a model of Catholic Christian faith living a lifestyle that could be an example for others to follow.
In his introduction, Fr David Garaman said that the vocation as catechists is a call by the Lord. Responding to the call is the willingness to offer one's time, talent and treasure. It is not merely catechizing to others but it also contributes to one’s own growth and deepening of one's faith.
Participants were divided into groups to discuss on how to better oneself as a Catechist. They shared on the seven attitudes of becoming an active and effective Catechist.
1. Prayerful life – A Catechist is a role model to the Catechumen and therefore needs to lead a prayerful lifestyle centred on Christ following His teaching and be a faithful witness of God.
2. Living and loving the faith – understanding the true meaning of the Eucharist, the foundation of the Catholic faith, through this they can passed on their faith and our church tradition / knowledge to their children’s, friends and community.
3. Good preparation and know the material -Know your subject. Read, study, and learn. A good lesson depends on how well the catechist understands the material. Be punctual on all events. You will be honored if you keep to the time. Engage in a variety of activities to make your lesson interesting.
4. Good Interaction – Catechist is reminded to have good communication skill, open minded, approachable and also a good listener and ready to assist when necessary.
5. Good sense of humor – this will avoid a tense and bored situation in the session. A relax situation will prompt catechumen to speak up and ask questions.
6. Engage in efforts to deepen your knowledge of the faith and grow spiritually. No catechist can know everything and by going to workshops, retreats, classes, studying Catholic literature, etc. can help broaden your understanding and learn new ways of teaching.
7. Respect – be humble as you serve in His vineyard as Catechists. Treat each Catechumen with respect and love. Be tolerant as you guide them along the journey of faith.
The program ended with participants rededicating themselves to the mission as well as presenting their resolutions before the Lord individually and as a group. The session adjourned at 4.30pm.