Rediscover ways in which the faith can be effectively transmitted to a new generation who live in an increasingly secularised world, Archbishop Nicholas Chia told catechetical coordinators and catechists recently.
“We cannot give what we do not have ourselves,” he told the 150 participants at a Jan 6 event to launch the new catechetical year.
“If we want to witness to the Good News we must first be its beneficiaries,” he said to the participants who came from 24 parishes.
He encouraged those who may feel discouraged in their work to persevere by “keeping [their] eyes steadily fixed on Him who is our hope” and by regularly celebrating the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.
In his address to participants, catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez observed how Church ministries often plan events that may give people a “high”.
However, these may lack follow-up, which is a longer term and less “exciting” period, but where real conversion to Christ usually happens, he said.
In order to be effective evangelists, catechists should have an experience of Christian community, he said in his talk titled The Great Challenge of the New Evangelisation: From Ministries to Communities.
This is so that they can induct the young people they catechise into such a community, where they can be supported and grow in their faith, he explained.
During the event, about 30 catechists who have completed the Basic Catechist Course Level 1 received certificates from Archbishop Chia.
Mementoes were also given to parishes participating in the Parish Team Trainings as well as to members of the Secondary Catechetical Core Team who have been working on the new secondary-level catechetical curriculum.
Ms Jane Lau, coordinator of parish catechesis, earlier outlined the 2013 Catechetical Office work plan which includes initiatives for a new curriculum for special needs children as well as formation programmes for families.
These initiatives are part of an ongoing renewal of catechesis in the archdiocese that started in 2010.
Participants generally expressed enthusiasm about the plans.
Mr Jeremy Aloysius from the Church of St Ignatius said he was keen to involve parents more in the lives of their children in catechesis.
Ms Wendy Loe, a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist from Christ the King parish, said she was looking forward to living more as part of a community than functioning as a ministry.
The Jan 6 event was held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre. The theme for the catechetical year is Catechists as Agents of the New Evangelisation.