Catechists and youth ministry representatives in small group discussions during the June 4 dialogue workshop.

Catechists and youth ministry representatives from various parishes attended a workshop recently to promote greater understanding and collaboration between both groups.

Sixty-three people attended the sessions on June 4, organised by the Catechetical Office and the Youth Ministry Office, and held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre.

Sixteen parishes were represented of which 10 had both their catechists and youths present. Diocesan groups such as Amplify Youth Ministry and Youth for Christ also participated.

Catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez urged participants to reflect on how youths can grow in their Catholic identity and spirituality through faith communities.

As both the secondary-level catechists and various parish youth ministries serve teenagers, “there are great opportunities for collaboration to help young people encounter Christ”, said the organisers. However, a possibility of conflict exists due to the different ministries having “different cultures and orientations”.

The workshop thus “aimed at bringing about understanding, healing, and unity among the catechetical and youth ministries for the greater glory of God”.

Participants were divided into groups to share the goals and activities of their ministries. A dialogue session followed during which participants spoke about how teenagers and young adults needed support to face life’s challenges, as well as faith formation as a lifelong process.

“Youth catechesis is most effective within a comprehensive youth ministry,” catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez told participants, and urged them to reflect on how young people can grow in their Catholic identity and spirituality through faith communities.

He also asked them to consider an approach that integrates ministry with adolescents and their families into the total life and mission of the Church.

Many participants acknowledged the importance of the workshop. “I felt that this dialogue was an important first step forward for the parishes in the diocese,” said Mr Roy Kheng, a catechist from the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “Collaboration has to be the watchword; we all work for the same boss, Jesus Christ.”

He said there is strong cooperation between the youth ministry and catechists in his parish.

The workshop on dialogue between catechists and youth ministries was a good start, said Mr Moses Shen, youth coordinator of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, he anticipated there would be many challenges ahead which would need “a lot of work, communication, and faith and prayer”.

A follow-up session is planned for November to examine how youth, young adult and catechetical ministries “can work together to create a unifying vision for adolescent catechesis among ministries”, the organisers said. With information from Catechetical Office and Youth Ministry Office.

By Darren Boon
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