What are you looking for?

The year 2022 has been meaningful and fruitful to us catechists.  As we welcome 2023, we have gathered once again as one community of catechists of the Archdiocese of Manila on this very first general assembly for this year.

The program started with the praying of the Chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel followed by the morning prayer. 

We also greeted our dear catechists celebrating their birthdays and those celebrating their wedding anniversaries for January and February through a video presentation. 

Sir Leo Asuncion and Ms. Norma Ramos shared their experience as representatives to the Vatican during the conferral of lectors and catechists held on January 22 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.  Sir Leo proudly said, “Ito ay karangalan ng lahat ng katekistang laykong Pilipino.

The sharing of Sir Leo and Ms. Norma was followed by a video presentation on the outreach program done by the Vicariates of San Jose de Trozo and Our Lady of Loreto for the fire victims of Arlegui Street in Quiapo, Manila where the majority of the families affected were their students.

Angelito Golosino, one of the sick catechists also gave a sharing of his present situation and was thankful for the help given to him by CFAM.

The much-awaited talk of the minister, Fr. Carlo focused on the theme for this year “What are you looking for?” which was gotten from the Gospel of John.

Fr. Carlo gave an overview of Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John, where John the Baptist testifies about Jesus being the Lamb of God and the Messiah.  Hearing this, John’s disciples followed Jesus.  He saw them following and asked, “What are you looking for?”  They said, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus replied, “come and see” then Andrew looked for his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah”.

According to Fr. Carlo, these are the first words that Jesus speaks in John’s gospel.  They are words that invitingly, gently but firmly, clear everything away so that a genuine encounter might take place.

We might have many questions to ask Jesus, but He wants to know something from us first: “What are you looking for?”  Imagine Jesus asking this from us.

Most of the time, we are looking for wealth but we must ask ourselves “Hindi ka ba mayaman ngayon?”  Father Carlo reiterated, “Mayaman tayo pero wala lang tayong pera.”

From here, we have to look at our deepest desires.  We have to see how the Holy Spirit prays through our longings. 

This is how the Spirit prays through human longing as stated by Fr. Carlo…At the root lies the fact that the same Holy Spirit which drove Jesus into the desert and guided him through his ministry also drives all of physical creation, including the movements of the heart.  What animated Jesus also animates everything else, except that nothing else is as perfectly responsive to it as Jesus was.

The Holy Spirit is the deep fire driving all creation.  What does this fire want?

Everyone else and all of creation is wanting to have God, personally and gently pronounce her name just like Mary Magdala when she comes looking for Jesus’ dead body and meets instead His resurrected person.

Fr. Carlo listed six points on how CFAM will be able to respond to the evangelization of desires as directional settings for the year 2023.

  1. Let us give special importance to our prayer life both in communal and personal settings.  Prayer is the place where we can experience God’s embrace, where we can hear God calling our name.
  2. To help us evangelize our desire in a special and particular way, each will pick a patron saint for the year 2023.  Get to know this new patron saint and establish a spiritual relationship.  Ask him/her to help you grow with the right desire.
  3. We will enrich our understanding of the Sacrament of BaptismLet us choose the best practices with regard to the preparations for Baptism.
  4. Let us start building the foundations of the J.C.A.  Let us influence the desire of the children and the youth to know, love and serve God. 
  5. Let the Dalaw Tahanan be a venue to listen to the desires of our people.
  6. Let us create more catechetical materials that are practical and engaging.

After the session with the minister, we are divided into small groups for the sharing and the picking of patron saints, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo.

In the afternoon, is the presentation of the Junior Catechists’ Association (J.C.A.) program by Sir Eduardo Frando.  The closing prayer was dedicated to the sick catechists led by Ms. Annette.