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Catechesis and the digital culture

Update from the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office
by Sr Juliet Rajah CHF,
Directress of Catechetics

A Blessed Catechetical Month 2020 to all parents—primary formators in the faith of their children, to catechists, assistant catechists, helpers, and coordinators.

September, in the Universal Church, is designated ‘Catechetical Month’.

I use this opportunity to thank most sincerely all those who have participated in the religious/catechetical education ministry in this Archdiocese.

September is also a time to reflect and evaluate. Looking back, we thank God for the many graces and blessings God has bestowed on us as we sought to pass on the faith in a real way.

We thank God for the many young people we have journeyed with over the past year.

We are grateful for the inspiration God has given us to bring our classes alive.  We know that we have learnt many things through our interaction with these young people and we pray that we will utilise this as we go forward.

Life has changed drastically since last Catechetical Month, September 2019.  As we reflect on the realities of today, we are confident that God is with us as we journey through these uncertain times.

One way in which you can evaluate your efforts is to look at the Vision and Mission Statement for the total programme you are engaged in, and measure how well the Vision and Mission statement was implemented.

  • How well did the young people do relationally? (human formation)
  • How well did they do academically? (doctrine); spiritually? (prayer life); and pastorally? (engaged in mission).

Preparation, prayer, presence, and creativity are key to being a good catechist, more so, as we do this in the virtual world.

One of the most important players at this time are our parents. How do we help them to own their faith so that they come into a deeper relationship with God through His Son, Jesus?

In engaging and journeying with our parents we will in a sense equip them to take up their role as primary educators in the faith life of their children.

The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office offers a faith formation online course that can be done in the comfort of your own home. Over 1,600 persons have signed up to date with approximately 85 per cent completing it.

There is also the ‘How to Pray’ online course based on the book/teaching by Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon and ‘Bread of Life Discourse’ online course again based on the teaching by His Grace.

The attention of the Archdiocese is focused on the domestic Church. How can we as catechists support this thrust? How can we encourage a Catholic culture within the family?

There are many simple ways we can promote the domestic Church. Encourage parents to pray as a family, to eat together, to talk to each other, to bless each other, instigate taking turns to say Grace before eating, prepare reflectively for Sunday Mass by reading the gospel of the Sunday, set up an altar at home, celebrate the successes of their children. Testimonies are always life-changing.

In a short while we will be offering in each Vicariate sessions on the New Directory for Catechesis, published in July 2020.

One of the areas it addresses in it, is that catechesis should be directed towards educating people in the proper use of the digital culture.

A survey was done in April 2020 to ascertain the state of readiness of catechists and catechesis in the Archdiocese. Two hundred and sixty-nine responses were received revealing the data seen in the accompanying graphs.

Based on the results of the survey we invited all Parish Coordinators to a session entitled: Catechesis with and Through Technology on Saturday, September 5. Over 100+ persons attended the online session.

Going forward we hope to address the areas that need our attention so that Catechesis can be made available to both parents, young people and all persons interested in growing in faith.