Father Erbin addressing the course participants. Photo by Arthur Goh
SINGAPORE – The Catechetical Office commemorated Catechetical Sunday this year by launching the Archdiocesan Catechist Coordinator’s Course on Jan 9. The new course, which was one year in the making, is the initiative of Father Erbin Fernandez, Director of Catechesis.
The objective of the course is to re-acquaint catechist co-coordinators with the fundamental norms that govern catechetical ministry within the Catholic tradition. Approximately 60 catechists/coordinators (representing 16 parishes) have committed themselves to an ongoing journey of formation, in the hope of renewing the catechetical ministry in their respective parishes.
Those who gathered on Saturday morning for their first session in the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre said they were inspired by a simple para-liturgy that celebrated 50 years of catechetical development since the Second Vatican Council.
The catechists were also led to ponder the mystery of God’s faithful presence, His Church. One catechist described the experience of the para-liturgy as “engaging all his senses”. Overall, the opening session was interactive and stimulating, said participants.
Over the next three months, course participants will be “soaked” in the living sources of the Church by familiarising themselves with the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism will be experienced not only as a reference book but also as a guiding inspiration to how catechesis should be celebrated and lived with the young person.
It is anticipated that catechists will become more familiar with the method of celebration that draws its vitality from the Church’s rich liturgical and scriptural roots. The hope is that both young person and catechist will experience catechesis as an encounter with Jesus Christ.
Father Erbin noted that this new course would require a huge paradigm shift for catechists in the way they understood their vocation as “stewards of the Mystery” and not merely as “teachers of doctrine”. Ongoing tutorial sessions will be offered to help catechists craft their own reflection papers aimed at reshaping their vision of catechetical ministry in their respective parishes. Upon completion of the course, the Catechetical Office will issue certification to each catechist coordinator.
The Catechetical Office will offer the course again in the second half of the year for parishes that were not able to send their coordinators or for parishes that want to send a few more from their catechetical team for training.