When I began my summer vacation last March 2012, I dedicated myself in attending seminars, conferences and festivals here in the Philippines. In my attendances, I realized one theme that would summarize my summer recreation: Catechism alive! I realized that there is an urgent need to rediscover the beauty of Catechism perhaps because of the demands and challenges of globalization today. In these gatherings, I was happy to see multitudes who may have realized the same. I found hope, seeing committed people gathered to celebrate faith and to reflect together the work we have been entrusted to.
On April 2012, I attended the 4th Pope Benedict XVI Summer Festival on Catechesis and Christian Formation. On this event, I was immersed into more than a thousand of participants. These participants were long-time catechists, lay men and women, religious brothers and sisters, priests, teachers, youth and campus ministers, and many more. During the event, I attended the concurrent session on “The Holy Spirit in Counseling the Youth”. Here I realized one basic thing: the Holy Spirit reminds us of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and live in it. By invoking the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be icons of faith, hope and love in our catechesis.
On the same month, I attended the 1st National Conference on Religious Education and Catechesis at De La Salle University-Manila. It was also the event where I delivered my first paper presentation outside of our Institution. It speaks of a methodology in teaching religious education as an encounter of the faith in a person-centered approach. During the event, I realized that catechesis in the local church also happens in the academic community. Such community is for the pursuit of truth, and yes, evangelization happens also in the academe. Our desire for truth comes with life and substance as grounded on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
On May 2012, I attended the 8th Blessed John Paul II Catechetics and Youth Ministry Conference. Majority of its participants were catechists, teachers and youth ministers. Here, I had the opportunity to share my ideas regarding youth ministry and making catechism alive in our local churches. I also had the opportunity to facilitate a group full of youth and teachers, and we talked about what we have learned during the conference. This time it was centered on the role of Mama Mary in being Mother of God’s Word. I told my companions that I learned the significance of listening as a primer for catechesis. Most of the time, we want to speak, give and give, but we missed listening to the audience we have. Mary taught me to journey with the Lord Jesus through a listening and pondering heart.
In all these things, I am thankful to the Lord that I made my summer vacation faithful to my vocation discernment. I learned a lot of things from my fellow catechists, teachers and youth ministers – their struggles and inspirations. Some of them were volunteers, and some were appointed. Either way, it is no coincidence that we met together to celebrate faith and exchange stories of hope and love through catechesis. It all culminates in the Lord Jesus, as He ascended, entrusted to us to proclaim the Good News to all, baptizing them in the Name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. What a big challenge, unworthy as we are! But God trusts us to do this. Yes, it is the Lord’s initiative, and we have nothing to boast about it. We are His collaborators and correspondents of faith.
But then, what is our response in Jesus’ entrusting of catechism to us?