The joys of being a catechist

This is my third year serving as a catechist. I shall call this service a privilege to be given to reach out to the youth of the church.

Jun 23, 2022

(Left) Dr Pauline with Jericho Ortiz winner of ‘A Crib Making Competition’. (Right) Crib made of recycle materials.

By Dr Pauline Wong

This is my third year serving as a catechist. I shall call this service a privilege to be given to reach out to the youth of the church.

It all started when I felt a calling in my heart. We have been talking so much about faith formation, and so instead of just talking about it, I decided to get involved since I am a teacher by profession, and God has given me this gift of teaching.

Thus in 2020, I began teaching the Pre-confirmation Class – the 14-year olds. I only managed to have physical classes with them for two to three months before we were hit by the unprecedented total lockdown.

For a while, we were at a loss, but subsequently we decided to go online. By June, we were using Zoom to teach. I reached out to the parents. Some generous parents co-sponsored the licence for the Zoom application. Since then, we were on Zoom.

I must say that it is a good experience to use new ways to teach. In fact, I found it to be quite good. Using such platform allows me to use power point presentations, videos, songs, recordings and even getting speakers from as far as Philippines to help us in giving the Life in the Spirit seminar to our students.

The only set back is the teacher’s inability to see the students and to monitor whether they are really there, and listening to you while the class is on. It demands teachers to be very creative; constantly calling the names of students to participate in your class; and engaging them in the topic at hand.

In spite of the inability to meet physically, we were able to organize ‘A Crib Making Competition’ before Christmas in 2020. Students were asked to use recycled materials to make the cribs.

I must say that from the comments of the students, this has proved to be a very memorable event for the students. Many parents helped in the making too. It became a family event. The winners were given cash prizes.

As time went by, I realized that taking the students for just one year was not good enough. With the help of a fellow teacher, we managed to switch classes and I was able to carry on with the same class in Year 10.

Two years with the same students has allowed me to have more time to know them, more time to include topics into the curriculum which I felt were really important to this group of teenagers, such as boy-girl relationships, Christian morality, apologetics topics – ‘Why we believe what we believe’, etc.

Since the students were with me for two years, I was able to continue our program into Christmas in December 2021. The most important day for me was when the students received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Seeing them receiving the Sacrament made all the efforts worthwhile and rewarding. If we want to grow in our faith, there is no better way to do this than to teach it.

To end, I encourage all who want to grow, to come and join us at the Sunday School Faith Formation. Or join me if you wish as I need helpers. Remember Jesus’ commission? Go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! --Catholic Sabah

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