Concept Paper of the Proposed
JUNIOR CATECHISTS’ ASSOCIATION
“Catechists are people who keep the memory of God alive;
they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others”
(Pope Francis, Homily for Catechists, Vatican 2013).
THE MINISTRY OF CATECHESIS
In May 2021, Pope Francis instituted the ministry of catechist in the Catholic Church with the publication of the papal letter, “Antiquum Ministerium” (Instituting the Ministry of Catechist).
An instituted ministry is a formal, vocational service within the Catholic Church. The newly instituted ministry of catechist is for lay people who have a particular call to serve the Catholic Church as a teacher of the faith.
The ministry is “stable,” meaning it lasts for the entirety of life, independent of whether the person is actively carrying out that activity during every part of his or her life.
The catechist collaborates with the local bishop and priests in the teaching of the faith to the local community.
“Catechists are called first to be expert in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops through its different stages from the initial proclamation of the kerygma [Gospel proclamation] to the instruction that presents our new life in Christ and prepares for the sacraments of Christian initiation, and then to the ongoing formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of the hope within them.
At the same time, every catechist must be a witness to the faith, a teacher and mystagogue, a companion and pedagogue, who teaches for the Church” (Pope Francis, Instituting the Ministry of Catechists, 6).
THE NEED FOR CATECHISTS AND CATECHESIS
1. The need for catechesis
Every Christian is a catechist who by virtue of the sacrament of baptism shares in the prophetic role of Christ. However, the reality is that majority of our Christian brothers and sisters have little or no knowledge at all about their faith. There is a growing tendency in our society nowadays towards secularism and consumerism. Poverty has forced many parents to spend more time trying to earn a living elsewhere or abroad at the expense of personally handling the formation and guidance of their children. Media which is more often harmful than not has taken this role of molding the young. These are only about two of the many reasons that hinder the growth of the faith of our fellow baptized Catholics.
“Filipinos are sacramentalized but not adequately evangelized and /or catechized” (325-326, NCDP 2017) are phrases used in the New National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines, this was also the sentiment found in the result of the National Catechetical Study (NCS) commissioned by CBCP-ECCEE in partnership with the University of the Santo Tomas.
In the published article of the UST Varsitarian, Dr. Clarence Batan, a UST professor who led the National Catechetical Studies (NCS) research team, lamented how catechism in the Philippines has been understood only in terms of teaching children about basic doctrines and not as a “lifelong learning” of the faith. Almost 500 years after the arrival of Christianity to the Philippines, the Catholic Church continues to face challenges in the evangelization and catechism of Filipinos.
The findings of the National Catechetical Directory 2017, was again reinforced by the results of the 2016-2021 National Catechetical Survey, according to Dr. Batan; “Filipinos were merely sacramentalized and acquainted with religious rituals, without deepening their understanding of religion or applying the teachings of the Church in their personal lives (Clarence Batan, CBCP-ECCCE, NCS).
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) talked about the current state of catechism in the country, calling for “better and more appropriate ways of communicating the faith.”
2. The growing demand for partners in the work of catechesis
Before the Pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, catechesis was regularly done inside the classrooms of the public schools in the Archdiocese of Manila. CFAM data showed that even the previous combined numbers of full-time professionals and volunteers (around 500) catechists before the pandemic was never enough to cover all the public school classrooms in the Archdiocese of Manila.
The collated data before the pandemic of catechized and not catechized students in the public schools revealed that a big number (173,291 students) of children and youth in the public schools could not receive formal school catechetical instructions because of the insufficient number of catechists. To fill the gap we need to hire 85 fulltime catechists or find 250 Part-time Catechists (Volunteers).
This reality intensifies the need for a more alternative catechesis and the formation of children and youth who could become partners in the works of evangelization and catechesis. The proposed Junior Catechists’ Association (JCA) is an initiative that responds directly to the challenge of catechizing the youth.
3. The youth in the mind of the Holy Father
The Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Pope Francis “Christus Vivit” Christ is Alive, dedicated to all Christian believers and particularly the youth convey a strong message on the important role of the youth in the life of the Church especially in the mission of evangelization and catechesis.
The words of the Holy Father intensify the need for greater involvement of the youth in the ministry of the Church.
“I want to state clearly that young people themselves are agents of youth ministry. Certainly, they need to be helped and guided, but at the same time left free to develop new approaches, with creativity and a certain audacity” (Pope Francis, CV 203).
With the realities presented and the call of Pope Francis to the young people to be agents of youth ministry, The JCA program is an initiative that will help accompany children and youth in understanding, deepening and maturing of their faith to help them live up their Christian call and become witnesses of Christ in their communities.
THE PROPOSED JCA PROGRAM
The Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila is proposing the Junior Catechists’ Association (JCA) Formation Program which aims at accompanying the young people in their faith journey and maturity with the vision of forming them to become our youth/young catechists.
The Directory for Catechesis 2020 has given us the dynamics as to how this accompaniment be done:
Just like the togetherness of the Lord Jesus with the two disciples of Emmaus,
- his walking with them,
- helping to open their eyes, is a source of inspiration for walking with young people.
Within these dynamics,
- the Gospel must be proclaimed to the world of young people with courage and creativity,
- the sacramental life and spiritual accompaniment must be able to discover the personal love of the Father and the companionship of Jesus Christ,
- and to live out this season of life particularly “suited to the great ideals, to generous forms of heroism, to the coherent demands of thought and action.”
The JCA Program
The Junior Catechists Association is the umbrella that will hold all CFAM catechetical formation programs for children and youth in the Archdiocese of Manila. It aims to prepare members become a catechist in the future.
Membership will be opened to public and private school students, out-of-school youth, and those who are already actively serving in the Church but want to become a catechist in the future.
Formation is an ongoing process that, under the guidance of the Spirit and in the living womb of the Christian community, helps the baptized person to take shape, which means unveiling his/her deeper identity which is that of being a child of God in profound communion with others (DC 2020 #131).
STAGES OF MEMBERSHIP
Recognizing the stages of development, one undergoes as we grow in age, CFAM proposes a program that would accompany children and the youth in their journey of faith and taking the Christian Community as privileged place of formation.
The goal of formation is making them aware that as a baptized person, they are true missionary disciple. In the stages of membership and their formation aims to help develop the skills needed to communicate the faith and to accompany others in their growth.
MUNTING ALAGAD NI KRISTO
The “Munting Alagad ni Kristo” is the initial stage of the JCA program. The aim of their formation is to establish a relationship with Jesus as a brother and friend. They will be accompanied to a better understanding of the Basics of the Catholic Faith and lead them to actively participate in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. They are challenge to experience that sense of belongingness to a Christian Community.
Word of Life: God is Love “Deus Caritas Est” (1 Jn. 4:16).
Desire: “I want to be a saint!”
Key: The present moment: Now!
Symbol: Brown Scapular
The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is worn as a sign of love and devotion for the Mother of God. JCA members will ask the maternal care and intercession of Mary in the fulfillment of their desire to be saints.
Vademecum: All members will receive a unique handbook that will serve as guide and companion in their JCA journey at various level.
St. Therese “The Little Way” Booklet
The booklet contains the life story of St. Therese of the Little Flower, Basic Prayers, and will serve as their soul-mustahan and Creative Outlet journal.
KABATAANG ALAGAD NI KRISTO
The “Kabataang Alagad ni Kristo” are composed of those who completed the formation for “Munting Alagad ni Kristo” and qualify as perceived by the JCA Shepherd. The focus of their formation is the formation of conscience as they take Jesus as their role model in living out Christian values and serving others, especially those in most need of accompaniment and help. As they undergo this stage of membership they are expected to assist those in the “Munting Alagad ni Kristo” and serve as a brother or sister to them and companions in their JCA journey.
Word of Life: I am the bread of life “Ego sum panis vitae” (Jn. 6: 35).
Desire: “I want Jesus in the Eucharist!”
Symbol: St. Tarcisius Cross
It is a symbol of the love and passion for the Eucharist that was exemplified in the life of the young saint who offered his life protecting the Eucharist.
Vademecum: Acutis Booklet
This booklet contains the life story of blessed Carlo Acutis, guidelines of the JCA, guides to meditation, and will serve as their soul-mustahan and Creative Outlet Journal.
KABATAANG KAAGAPAY NG KATEKISTA
The Kabataang Kaagapay ng Katekista” are those who freely express their desire to become animators in the liturgical celebrations, and was approved by the JCA Shepherd. The focus of their formation program is on the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church and a regular Apostolate to a chosen group needing assistance, they will also be practiced in doing spiritual reading and meditation.
Word of Life: Love one another “Amor inter se” (John 13:34).
Level of Desire: I want to know the saints!
St. Pedro Calungsod Medal
The St. Pedro Calungsod Medal is given to those who will qualify as “Kaagapay ng Katekista”. The medal symbolizes the love for the mission and work of catechesis that St. Pedro Calungsod has shown.
The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church is the guiding companion of the catechist animators as they aspire to deepen their knowledge of the faith.
KABATAANG KATEKISTA NI KRISTO
The “Kabataang Katekista ni Kristo” Is the final stage of JCA formation. It is composed of young people chosen by the JCA Shepherd and those who expressed their desire to become young catechists. The aim of their formation program is on equipping them with the basic skills and knowledge needed in their actual doing of catechesis. The criteria stated by the Directory for Catechesis 2020 will be followed since they are to be formed for evangelization in the present world and the practice of contemplation.
Word of Life: Go into the deep! “Duc in Altum” (Luke 5:4).
Level of Desire: I want to proclaim Jesus
Symbol: San Lorenzo Ruiz Image
The image of San Lorezo Ruiz is the symbol of Kabataang Katekista ni Kristo.
San Lorenzo Ruiz is the patron saint of the catechists and his faithfulness to God and the love for catechesis is the model that all JCA members will immolate.
Vademecum: The KKK and Christian Prayer is the daily companion of the Junior Catechist as they try to live the life of a catechist.
JCA: Is a community of children, youth, and catechists organized to respond to the mission of catechesis and evangelization and become a seedbed of vocation for future teachers of the faith in the Archdiocese of Manila
JCA Shepherds: Are the CFAM full-time or part-time catechists who gather, initiate, and implement the formation program of the JCA.
JCA Animators: Are the selected children and youth who will represent as animators of their parish in the vicarial and archdiocesan formations and gatherings.
JCA Coordinator/s: Is a catechetical coordinator/s of CFAM who is the lead implementor of the JCA program and oversees the implementation of the formation program at all levels; the parish, the vicariate, and the Archdiocesan (CFAM).
ADVANCEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP:
The movement from one stage to the next would be based on the following:
- Qualifications: Knowledge of the Faith, Commitment, Witnessing
- Expressed desire of the person to further commit to the demands and responsibilities of the next stage.
- Approval based on the evaluation of the JCA Shepherd
LEVELS OF FORMATION
PARISH LEVEL - The parish will be the heart of formation. As the Directory for Catechesis explained: “The Christian community is the origin, locus, and goal of catechesis. Proclamation of the Gospel always begins with the Christian community and invites man to conversion and the following of Christ” (GDC 133).
The formation program will be handled/implemented by the JCA Shepherd Catechist appointed by the Area Coordinator and with other associates.
Face to Face
Virtual Meeting/ Community (FB Group Page)
Suggested Frequency of Meeting: Twice a month
First Week: Formation talk
Second Week: Day of Prayer
Third Week: Community Service
Fourth Week: Socialization
VICARIAL LEVEL – A quarterly assembly is scheduled annually. This gathering will be an opportunity to establish camaraderie and fellowship with those belonging to other parishes. The challenge is to have a meaningful encounter with Jesus and be inspired by their experiences of meeting other young people.
This Vicarial Formation Program will be handled/implemented by the JCA Vicarial Shepherd Catechist appointed by the Area Coordinator and with other associates.
Sample Schedule of the Quarterly Assembly:
Celebration of the Holy Eucharist
Small and Big Group Sharing
Creative Expressions of the Learnings (Workshop)
Team bonding Activity
Mission Sending (Task to be Accomplished)
ARCHDIOCESAN LEVEL – A once-a-year General Assembly of the Junior Catechists Association.
ACTIVITY: KIDS AND YOUTH JAM!
The program is intended to gather the members of the Junior Catechists Association of the Archdiocese of Manila into one whole day encounter with Jesus through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, talks, workshops, fun games, and mini-concert with the goal of intensifying their desire to deepen faith, and share their faith experiences with others and have that sense of belongingness in the Church.
The JCA Coordinator in Charge and Vicarial Shepherd Catechists are the lead implementor of this activity.
- Sunday Children’s and Youth Mass (at least once a month)
- Sunday School Catechesis
- Blessed Acutis Online Evangelization
- Peer Catechesis
- Practice of Devotional Prayers
JCA MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:
- Regular Wholistic Formation
- Assistance in receiving the Sacraments
- Living out Christian Community Life
- Opportunity to Serve the Church and the Community
- Enhancement of Leadership Potentials and Self Confidence
- Scholarship Assistance for those willing to take Formal Catechetical Education
- Becomes an evangelizer and a teacher of the faith
JCA AT A GLANCE
PROPOSED FORMATION PROGRAM CONTENT
IN THE PARISH LEVEL
FIRST STAGE: ANG CREDO
- Sumasampalataya Ako sa Diyos Amang Makapangyarihan sa lahat na may gawa ng langit at lupa
- Sumasampalataya naman ako kay Hesukristo…
- Nagkatawang-tao siya Lalang ng Espiritu Santo, Ipinanganak ni Santa Mariang Birhen
- Ipinagpakasakit ni Poncio ni Poncio Pilato, ipinako sa Krus, Namatay, inilibing
- Nanaog sa kinaroroonan ng mga yumao, nang may ikatlong araw nabuhay na mag-uli
- Umakyat sa langit, naluklok sa kanan ng Ama
- Mula roon paririto, huhukom sa mga nabuhay at namatay na tao
- Sumasampalataya ako sa Espiritu Santo
- Sumasampalataya ako sa Santa Iglesia Katolika
- Sumasampalataya ako sa kapatawaran ng mga kasalanan
- Sumasampalataya ako sa Muling Pagkabuhay ng mga laman
- Sumasampalataya ako sa buhay na walang hanggan
SECOND STAGE: PAGHUBOG NG KONSIYENSA
LEVEL I: Ako ay Mahalaga
LEVEL II: Si Hesus ang Magdadala sa Akin sa Ama
LEVEL III: “Banal na Espiritu, isang malinis na puso ang likhain mo sa akin.”
LEVEL IV: Ano ang kalooban ng Diyos sa akin?
LEVEL V: Ako ay mahalaga sa Mata ng Diyos
LEVEL VI: Pananagutan ko ang aking ginagawa sa aking buhay
THIRD STAGE: PAGDIRIWANG NG MISTERIO CRISTIANO
- Ang Misteryo Paskuwal sa Panahon ng Iglesia
- Ang Pagdiriwang Sakramental ng Misteryo Paskuwal
- Ang Pitong Sakramento ng Iglesia (Sacraments in General)
- Ang mga Sakramento ng Panimulang Pagpasok ng Kristiyano
- Ang mga Sakramento ng mga Paglulunas
- Ang Mga Sakramento ukol sa Paglilingkod ng Pamayanan
- Ang ibang pagdiriwang ng Liturhiya
STAGE FOUR: METHODOLOGY AND STRATEGIES Based on the Guidelines of DC 2020 and PRACTICUM
CRITERIA FOR FORMATION: Since catechists must be formed for evangelization in the present world, it will be necessary to use wisdom in harmonizing the attention due to persons and to the truths of faith, personal growth and the community dimension, care for spiritual dynamics and dedication to the effort for the common good. A few criteria should be considered in a more specific way.
- Spirituality of mission and evangelization.
- This missionary spiritually, understood as an encounter with others, an effort in the world, and a passion for evangelization, nourishes the life of the catechist and saves him from individualism, from self-absorption, from the crisis of identity, and from the collapse of fervor
- Catechesis as integral formation:
- Catechists must be able to be, at one and the same time, teachers, educators and witnesses of the faith.
- Style of accompaniment:
- the Church feels the duty of forming its catechists in the art of personal accompaniment, both by proposing to them the experience of being accompanied in order to grow in discipleship, and by enabling them and sending them to accompany their brothers.
- Consistency among formative styles:
- “As a general criterion, it is necessary to underline the need for a coherence between the general pedagogy of formation of catechists and the pedagogy proper to the catechetical process.
- An attitude of docibilitas and of self-formation:
- “docibilitas” meaning the willingness to be touched by grace, by life, by persons in a serene and positive attitude toward reality in order to learn how to learn.
- the willingness for self-formation is what enables the catechist to make a method of formation his own and to be able to apply it to himself and to his ecclesial service.
- The dynamic of the laboratory4 in the context of the group.
- as a formative practice in which faith is learned by doing, which means valuing the experience, contributions, and reformulations of each one, in view of transformative learning.
DIMENSIONS OF FORMATION
I. Being and “know how to be with”
- formed to become a witness of faith and a keeper of the memory of God.
II. Knowledge: Biblical Theological Formation and the Understanding of Human
Beings and the Social Context
III. SAVOIR-FAIRE: pedagogical and methodological formation “The catechists is an
educator who facilitates maturation of the faith which catechumens and those being catechized
obtain with the help of the Holy Spirit. The first reality of which account must be taken in this
decisive area of formation is that concerning the original pedagogy of faith.”
1. Identity and Vocation
4. Psychology of the Teacher
Cat. On Revelation and Faith (Chapter 1 of DC2020)
Scripture and Tradition
(as deposits of Faith)
(What is the Bible and the Canon of Scriptures)
The Identity of Catechesis
1.The nature of Catechesis
2. Catechesis in the process of evangelization
3. Goals of Catechesis
4. Tasks of Catechesis
5. Sources of Catechesis
Note: Must include the clarification of Terms (Evangelization, Theology, Catechesis, Catechism, Catechist..)
Psychology of the Learner
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
(Chapter VI of DC2020)
The Pedagogy of the Faith
1. The Divine Pedagogy in salvation history
2. Pedagogy in the Faith of the Church
3. Catechetical Pedadogy
Other Agents of Evangelization
Catechesis in the Face of Contemporary Cultural Scenarios
(Chapter X DC2020)
Adapting into the Digital Culture and the Production of Catechetical Materials
Catechesis in Digital Platform
Production of Catechetical Materials
P R A C T I C U M
Note: Should an individual decide to become a Professional Catechist he/she would be recommended to take the Basic Catechetical Formation Program in an institution or be helped to take four-year course in colleges offering major in Religious Educati