The catechists and RCIA facilitators of Good Shepherd Church (GSC) gathered for a full day retreat to reflect, revive and realign their mission of being called, chosen and sent. The retreat was divided into two sections; spiritual and methodological. Fr VA Michael, the parish priest as well as the retreat master, drew the catechists’ attention to the Word of God and reminded them to remain in Christ, so as to bear much fruit.
“The Church draws life not from herself but from the Gospel, and from the Gospel she discovers ever anew the direction for her journey. This is an approach that
every Christian must understand and apply to himself or herself. Only those who first place themselves in an attitude of listening to the Word can go on to become its herald (Verbum domini, no. 51). This is the message offered to you as catechists and religious teachers, which is why it is so important to prepare your lessons for the week beginning with a prayer and humble submission to the Spirit,” he said.
Fr Michael drew their attention to the Gospel passage of John 15 and invited them to reflect on their relationship with the Father, the Saviour and the Comforter. With deep conviction he challenged all catechists’ to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:9). He also urged all to abide in the Lord through daily reading and reflection of the Word of God. As Joshua 1:8 promises, “Constantly read the book of this Law and meditate on it day and night that you may truly do what it says. So shall your plans be fulfilled and you shall succeed in everything.”
“Your life as catechists must be exemplary, filled with the gifts of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Only with the compassion of the Good Shepherd, can you draw the children closer to God. Always remember God’s promise in Ezekiel 24:15-16: ‘I myself will tend my sheep. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd my flock with justice.’
In the clutter of lesson plans, messy arts and crafts — or in the midst of rebellious youngsters or unwilling teens or those seeking God — you must stand ever ready to proclaim your love for the living Christ and his Church and to share the Gospel with others. Day in and day out, in your catechetical ministry, you are a living witness who will inspire many to remain faithful to Christ’s teaching,” he said.
After lunch, the teachers took the opportunity to share with each other the various teaching methods which they use to engage their students. Among the teaching techniques practised were story-telling, use of visual aids, video presentation, role play, demonstration and conveying messages through songs. How to gain and hold a child’s attention according to each age group was also discussed at length.
The catechists left the retreat feeling enriched and revived, inspired with a greater zeal to share their life and faith with those under their care.