The new catechetical year kicked off with a presentation and special blessing of religion teachers and catechists at Mass a week ago, a.k.a. “Catechetical Sunday”. Our Director of Religious Education (DRE) pointed out the significance and the mission of religion teachers and catechists, one of which is the commitment to nurture the seed, i.e., our knowledge and faith in God’s word and to share the same to others until it’s manifested and ultimately fruitful. While each one of us has been given the responsibility to spread the Good News by the time when we are baptized, it is worth noting that religion teachers and catechists are still commissioned by the Church and are given the responsibility to impart the message to others, especially to the young ones, the children of the parish. As such, during the said Mass, the teachers of the faith were honored to receive an authorization from the Parish enabling them assume such responsibility and echo God’s word.
Our DRE further emphasized that the said authorization is merely a “piece of paper” and what is imperative is how the seed can be sown, how the faith can be propagated and emulated by the catechists and eventually by the children. Being a teacher or catechist is no easy task. He/She represents the Church in propagating the faith, which primarily involves a relationship that is based on trust between God and the community of believers. He/She should be able to pass on the kind of genuine relationship with God particularly to the young students. The teachers/catechists have a crucial role to play from day one, from the time they embraced and nurtured the faith to the time it is transmitted. Hence, these people exert the best they can to share their extra 3Ts: time, talent and treasure to learn and deepen their understanding of faith, so the love and passion of the same can be effectively conveyed. A catechist serves as a mentor and a second parent to the spiritually innocent child who doesn’t know anything at all about God, and this could be a challenge especially with the present technology and the material lures surrounding the kids world.
My first day of class with the new batch of young faces was equally exciting as my other previous classes two years ago. They appear to be enthusiastic to learn about their faith and they have common understanding of who is God to their young lives: a Creator, Protector and a Friend God. Quoting some of the responses to the question I’ve raised to them: “God created all things” , “God is sort of like protecting me from harm” and “God is like a friend to me”. As a matter of fact, just today when I attended the mass for the enthronement of San Lorenzo Ruiz at our Parish, a parent and a child approached me. The mother introduced herself and told me, “She liked it much”, and I saw my student shyly smiling at me. I didn’t have the opportunity to ask what she particularly liked as the mass was about to begin but I felt happiness and it was such a joy-filled day! The enthusiasm that I see from the kids in class motivates me more to do the best I can to teach them about the faith, not only based on textbooks but also on personal ways to grow in faith.
While I always look forward to the joy and thrill of interacting with kids, I also don’t discount the fact that there would normally be trials and challenges along the way. I earnestly pray that God the Holy Spirit will guide me and likewise give me the strength to deal with classroom related problems (e.g. discipline, etc.), to fortify my spiritual growth and most importantly to faithfully undertake this tough yet meaningful responsibility laid on my shoulder!