CATECHETICAL CONSULTATION MEETINGS
National Catechetical Consultation II (7-10 January 2004)
Theme: Starting Afresh from Christ, Catechesis for the Third Millennium
This reports on the recently concluded Second National Catechetical Convention (NCC-II) of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. A total of 95 delegates from all over the country attended.
The objectives of the convention were to evaluate the ECCCE 2000 – 2003 Priorities, and to identify its priority programs and projects for the next three years. A series of workshops aimed at: a) identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and b) based on these, nominating the key concerns and priorities of ECCCE. In between the workshops, key inputs from a roster of prominent speakers in their respective fields were provided by way of talks and open forums.
A summary of the various talks are presented below.
Talks and Presentations
1. Trends and Challenges in Catechesis by Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi
Catechesis has shifted in terms of locus (from the classroom to the BEC and family), focus (from memorization of doctrines to an experiential and contextualized presentation of faith), and aim (from apologetics directed to individual believers to an ecumenical and pluralistics approach directed to communal faith. The priorities should be: an attention to practical theology, which insists that all theological disciplines must engage and transform. The basis of true theology is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and there should therefore be no gap between theory and practice: our beliefs shape our practices and our practices reinforce our beliefs. Read.
2. Situation of Catechesis in the Philippines by Msgr. Gerry Santos
Two national surveys indicated that: (a) we are not reaching enough of the youth, i.e. between 61 to 76% of those studying in public schools (and this does not include out-of school youths) and (b) among those we are reaching, we need to do a better job in our catechesis. Clearly, the situation demands that we improve both quantity of our catechists and the quality of our catechesis. It challenges us to shift paradigm in our catechesis, particularly to the youth by exploring new strategies to reach them both within and outside the classrooms. Moreover, it requires renewed strategies in campus ministries, community based catechesis and family apostolates. Read. A status report on the 8 Key Concerns of ECCCE was also provided, namely:
• Revision of the National Catholic Directory of the Philippines (NCDP),
• Dissemination of the actual and correct use of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics,
• The development of the Elements of Minimum Learning Competencies (EMLC) in Religion,
• Catechists’ Welfare and Development,
• Formation of Catechists and Religion Teachers,
• Relationship between ECCCE and CEAP, MAPSA, ACM, and Diocesan Catechetical Offices and Catechetical Formation Centers,
• Catechetical development in transparochial communities and other settings, and
3. Culture of Research in Catechesis by Dr. Linda Tacorda
The history of the development of catechesis worldwide was presented. The need for basic research was emphasized, together with the need for documentation and surveys to know the situation in each of the diocese where we conduct catechesis. Read.
4. Training the Trainers
The Role of the Catechetical Coordinators in the Ministry by Fr. Rene de Guzman – There should be a systematic and organized formation program for the catechized, the catechist, and the formators of the catechists. This should be based on a vision and implemented as a process, rather than a haphazard choice of topics based on circumstances. Formation must have the dimensions of being, knowing and methodology. Read.
5. The Enduring Legacy of the CCC and CFC by Fr. Joseph L. Roche, SJ
The CCC and CFC are meant to be treated as documents on the fundamentals of the faith. These are not meant to be read straight off for catechizing but to be used as basis only. (Time allocation for Fr. Roche was reduced due to overflow of previous speakers). Read.
6. Catechesis and Mission by Msgr. Gilbert Garcera
A presentation on the roles and function of the Pontifical Mission Society was presented.
7. Socio-Political Situationer by Fr. Jose Magadia, SJ
The basic problem is that of inequality, and where economic inequality translates to inequality in access to change the situation. Our sense of leadership is based on what the leaders can provide and what we can get from them. Thus, there is a culture of independence. Catechesis can break this cycle through an evangelization of culture and critiquing the way we are as a people.
8. Pre-Election Enrichment Modules by Sr. Andy Collantes, OSB
The approach in catechizing the students regarding the elections was presented, together with an example of such modules as prepared by the catechetical coordinators of Manila.
Recommendations on the Key Priorities for ECCCE
Based on the various concerns identified by the delegates, the main areas of concerns were divided according to (1) Human / Material Resources, (2) Organizational and Physical, (3) Formation / Development / Training, (4) Catechetical Programs and Services, (5) Leadership, (6) Information and Communication, and (7) Implementation / Monitoring of Programs
Each group presented their proposals and the following are the recommended priorities and projects for ECCCE:
1. Establishment of a Research Desk in ECCCE that would compile, organize and disseminate the various modules available in the various dioceses nationwide. This office may be combined with a Communication Desk that would provide constant updates on articles and on-going activities in the field of catechetics, as well as contact point for general queries from the field. The Communication Desk could spearhead a website to enable wide reach, direct and immediate communication.
2. Development of a formal training program for Catechetical Coordinators (training the Trainers). This training program should apply the process recommended by Fr. Rene de Guzman in his talk (see no.4 above) but already, the following skills are recommended as priorities: use of audio-visual, supervisory and management skills, guidance and counseling skills, and developing recollection and retreat modules. Bishop Soc Villegas suggested that, perhaps, the various catechetical institutes (Formation Institute for Religious Educators (FIRE - Ateneo), De La Salle University, Mother of Life, Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila (ICAM) and the Institute of Catechetics on Youth Ministry be the ones to develop this program.
Further, there is the need for training to provide skills for adult catechesis, which remains a “new field of expertise” to most catechists.
3. Advocacy directed to both External and Internal Audiences. Externally, there is the need to advocate for the inclusion of Religion as a mandatory subject in all public schools. Internally, assistance and moral persuasion are needed to obtain more support from the bishop and clergy for the catechists, particularly in the areas of funding and leadership in local formation programs.
Bishop Soc Villegas also clarified that ECCCE is a means for communio among the catechists and among the various related organizations such as the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP). The authority over the catechists resides with their respective bishops and not with ECCCE. However, ECCCE will do its utmost so that the requires advocacy be done to ensure the growth and vitality of the catechetical ministry in each diocese.
It was requested that there bean annual convention and that a report on the above recommended priorities be presented in the next one. The next convention is scheduled on January 10-14, 2005 in Lipa, Batangas.
Representatives for each Ecclesiastical Province were also chosen to serve as members of an Advisory Council.
Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE)
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) -
COMMISSION PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS
Catechism for Filipino Catholics
CATECHETICAL CONSULTATION MEETINGS
Nat'l Catechetical Consultation I
Held last September 4 - 7, 2001
Regional Advisory Board
Held last November 27 - 29, 2002
Nat'l Catechetical Consultation II
January 7-10, 2004. Read details
Talks / Reflections / Homilies