The Church in the Philippines is alive because of the women and men who are led by Spirit to set the world on fire with God’s love. The catechists are undeniably at the forefront of this collaborative mission. Pope Francis recognizes this when he declares, “Even when the task seems too much, the resources too few, the obstacles too great, it should never be forgotten that yours is a holy work. The Holy Spirit is present wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed. He is in our midst whenever we lift up our hearts and minds to God in prayer. He will give you the light and strength you need! The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people’s hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness.” The catechists are part of the rare breed of Christians who would not hesitate to do anything in, for and with Christ.
Taking its cue from the words of the Pope, the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) did not hesitate to honor its full-time catechists who selflessly devoted themselves in the catechetical apostolate. The awards are not rewards but a humble appreciation of their invaluable contribution to the growth of the local church. They could have excelled in other fields but they chose to enter the “narrow gate” where only a few individuals dare to thread.
This was made concrete during the gathering of 234 catechists on the 14th of September this year at the chapel of the Lay Formation Center of Manila. This break from their daily teaching routines gave the catechists the opportunity to mingle with their fellow workers in God’s vineyard. The event was divided into several parts. The first part of the program focused on spiritual activities that included the recitation of the Holy Rosary, the Morning Prayer, and the Mass.
In his homily, Fr. Carlo Magno S. Marcelo, the CFAM Minister, challenged the catechists to look intently on the message of the Cross vis-à-vis their life as catechists. Within the Mass, the launching of the revised elementary syllabus and the catechetical month video were featured. Towards the end of the celebration, Fr. Renato de Guzman, a member of the CFAM Board of Trustees and a well-known catechetical speaker shared his insights on Christus Vivit. The grand event culminated with a sumptuous lunch and a short program at the Gymnasium of San Carlos Seminary.
All the activities of the day led to a meaningful celebration of the Catechetical Month whose theme was “Catechists: Empowering the Youth towards a Synodal Church.” The unforgettable event emphasized the call of the catechists to exude the presence of Jesus in their lives and renew their commitment as educators of the faith
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