8 KEY CONCERNS OF ECCCE
Continuing the momentum created by the Joint Jubilee Congress, the ECCCE, together with the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA), prepared a three-year Strategic Plan (2001-2003) which focuses on 8 key concerns, namely:
1. The revision of the National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NDCP), a book which contains sets of principles, doctrinal orientations, and practical guidelines on all that pertains to the religious instruction and catechetical apostolate in the Philippines. First prepared by the ECCCE in 1979-1983, approved by the Vatican in 1984, and published in 1985, this Directory needs to be updated because of the many changes that have taken place in all areas of Philippine life, particularly catechesis. It also needs to be brought into line with the General Directory for Catechesis, which was published by the competent Vatican authorities in 1997.
2. The dissemination and correct use of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC) and the Katesismo para sa mga Pilipinong Katoliko (KPK). These are the National Catechism in English and Filipino. The former was completed in 1997 and approved by the Vatican in 1997, while the latter is its translation into the national language and was published in the year 2000.
3. The preparation and development of the Essential Elements of Minimum Learning Competencies in Religion. This is a set of specific guidelines concerning the content of the religious education programs and textbooks to be used in elementary, high school, and college levels. These guidelines are useful not only for authors of Religion textbooks, but also for school Administrators and Religion teachers in evaluating pedagogical materials for Religion classes and existing religious education programs.
4. Establishment of Phil-CARE Foundation. The Catechists' Welfare and Development is a very urgent necessity in the Philippines. In spite of the fact that catechists are among the most important agent in the Christian formation of the People of God, especially children and youths, they are very poor remunerated, and their specific training is often inadequate. As a first step towards improving the situation, the ECCCE and CEAP have set up the "PhilCARE Foundation," whose main purpose is to raise funds that will enable ECCCE to improve the status of the catechists and provide them with pedagogical tools for their apostolate. PhilCARE will also extend its assistance to Teachers who teach Religion in public schools and in the parish setting where they find themselves in the same situation as the volunteer catechists. Funding for PhilCARE comes from voluntary donations from individuals and organizations.
5. The Formation of Catechists and Religion Teachers through the upgrading of the "Catechists’ Basic Formation Program" (CBFP) and the preparation of the "Religion Teachers' Basic Formation Manual" (RTBFM). The RTBFM will spell out the standardized content of the formation of Religion Teachers, which up to now has been left to the individual institutions offering such formation courses. Such standardization will ensure that all those teaching Religion in Catholic schools will have the required theoretical and practical know how.
6. A smooth relationship between ECCCE and other related institutions such as CEAP, MAPSA, ACM, the Diocesan Catechetical Offices, and Catechetical Training Centers, as well as the DepED. A regular sharing of information is indispensable in view of the needed collaboration in the areas of common concerns.
7. Catechetical development in trans-parochial communities and other settings. It has been noted that many of these organizations do not make use of the National Catechism and other resources prepared by the ECCCE for their formation. Better coordination and a more systematic use of the official; approved resource materials for the formation of adult Catholics is necessary and can be achieved through proper coordination with these groups and the Bishops or priests in charge of them.
8. Advocacy. A regular flow of information fed to national and local media is to be promoted, in order to achieve an effective and stable presence of the catechetical ministry in the public schools. This flow of information will also help to enlist the necessary support for different activities undertaken by the ECCCE, and to secure the proper understanding and acceptability for its projects and programs.
Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE)
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) -