Johor Catechists complete two-year training programme

Fifty-four catechists from Johor received their “Certificates of Excellence” after having completed a two-year Training Programme for Catechists at Majodi Centre.

Dec 11, 2014

By Vincent D’Silva
Fifty-four catechists from Johor received their “Certificates of Excellence” after having completed a two-year Training Programme for Catechists at Majodi Centre.

The certificates were presented by Fr Simon Yong, SJ during a presentation ceremony after the Eucharistic celebration on November 29.

Susan Tay, assistant head of Melaka-Johor Diocesan Catechetical Commission said, “The training programme is holistic in three aspects – Person, Theory and Skills. It was presented to the clergy of the diocese and after their approval, it began in January 2013.”

She said, “Jesus calls catechists to His work and depends on them to assist in the handing on of the faith with competence,” adding that it involves personal growth in faith, theoretical knowledge of Catholicism and teaching skills.

Tay said the training programme was the brainchild of Fr Norris Seenivasan, SJ, who has left us a legacy that is being carried on with an improved format.

Fr Seenivasan left the Melaka-Johor diocese in October 2013 to take up his new appointment as the Assistant Delegate for Formation for the Society of Jesus in Manila. Currently, the head of the M-J Diocesan Catechetical Commission is Fr Simon Yong, also a Jesuit.

According to Tay, a similar programme was also conducted in Melaka where 35 catechists graduated and received their scrolls on Dec 6 at St Francis Xavier’s Church.

Tay explained that among the topics covered during the two years were Introduction to Catechesis, Understanding our Vocation, Mission and Spirituality as Catechists, Using Scripture in Catechesis and Understanding the Catechism of the Church 1 and II.

Other topics included Linking Liturgy and Catechesis, Using the Social Teachings of the Church in Catechesis and Pedagogy for Catechesis.

In his homily during Mass in honour of the graduating catechists, Fr Simon Yong, SJ said, “In the last two years you have all been clay and the presenters, the potters, have done what was possible to shape you into what you are supposed to be: catechists.”

Fr Yong noted that this was the first time the diocese was conducting such a programme and for this, he thanked Fr Seenivasan for forging the programme that many were able to attend.

He said catechesis is like playing with clay but it is a special kind of play which is creative and faithful.

“To be a catechist is to be creative, for you need creativity to engage the minds of the young,” he said.

He urged catechists to prepare their lessons well and stay focused on the Church.

“Know what the Church is teaching and not what you feel should be taught,” he stressed.

Msgr James Rajendran, VG, representing Bishop Paul Tan who is unwell, said that the catechists have a vital role to play in sharing the faith with one another.

Msgr Rajendran said they are now given the responsibility of training and equipping the students well with Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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