Forty-eight of them learn about RICA, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd during a four-day visit.

Q and A with OFC 7a

The Bishop of Chiang Mai, along with priests, Religious and laypeople from 10 Thai dioceses were in Singapore recently to experience some of the catechetical practices here.

According to Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, the aim of the Nov 30-Dec 3 visit was to expose more Thai Church workers to how catechesis is done in a nearby diocese.

A smaller delegation from Thailand had visited Singapore in 2005.

Bishop Vira said he hoped the Thai participants would bring home new ideas on how to improve catechesis, and in particular the RCIA which he is trying to introduce in his diocese.

The 48 participants included children’s, youth and adult catechists and coordinators. For some of the nuns and priests, there was a sense of nostalgia as some had spent time in Singapore during their novitiate and formation years.

The Office for Catechesis (OFC) hosted the visitors. Their first stop was the parish of St Ignatius, where they were given an introduction to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). They spent the afternoon learning more about the spirituality, method and practices of CGS.

They also observed and interacted with children, teenagers and catechists in the Catechetical Bridging Programme run by OFC at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre (CAEC) at Highland Road.

Bridging at OLPS 3
Thai visitors learn about the Catechetical Bridging Programme at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.

Fr Terry Tapay of Mary Help of Christians Church in Phanom, Surat Thani, commented: “It was interesting to see the use of visuals and materials instead of just talking or teaching. It reinforces that we are facilitators guiding children’s development to let them discover the presence of Jesus, especially through the Word of God and the liturgy.”

Being keen to find out more about the RCIA process in Singapore, the visitors joined in the weekly RCIA session at the Church of Divine Mercy, facilitated by assistant catechetical director Fr Terence Kesavan.

This was followed by the celebration of the feast day Mass at the Church of St Francis Xavier which was presided by Archbishop William Goh.

During their visit, the visitors also toured the CAEC and visited the Catholic News Book and Media bookshop, followed by a question-and-answer session about catechesis in Singapore.

Fr Augustine Prempree Wapiso, director of the Catholic Commission for Catechetical Education of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, said he was inspired by the visit: “I am impressed by the clearness of the vision OFC has to achieve and the staff working together on the same track and dedicating themselves to this work.”

Ms Sudhathai Noyomthom, assistant head of Christian Studies at Sangthom College shared: “As a layperson, I am impressed by the dedication of the laypeople working together as a team as well as how they work together with the priests.”

The Office for Catechesis provides training and formation for catechists and those involved in catechetical ministries in the archdiocese. For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.catechesis.org.sg.

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