The Latin-rite Catholic Church of India began a 3-day seminar in Chennai on Tuesday to discuss how best to implement the recently-published National Catechetical Directory at the national, regional and diocesan levels. Some 98 delegates including bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful, from all over India are participating in the September 22-24 seminar at the Salesian Provincial House in Chennai. The meeting has been organized by the Commission for Catechetics of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).
The National Catechetical Directory, released on February 3, during CCBI’s 27th Plenary Assembly in Bangalore, is deemed as a great achievement for the Church in India. For those involved in the catechetical ministry, the Latin-rite bishops’ conference provides inputs on the content of the Directory and aims to arrive at recommendations on its implementation in the national, regional and diocesan level.
“Let us accept and own wholeheartedly the comprehensive, wide opened, contextualized Directory to bring the message of salvation in every corner of our living,” said Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega, a member of the Commission for Catechetics, at the inaugural session of the seminar. He urged the participants to “be transformed first that we may be able to fulfil the mission of catechesis and evangelization entrusted to each of us by virtue of our baptismal call.” Bishop Antony Devotta of Trichy, former chairman of the Commission CCBI Commission for Catechetics, called upon the participants to “look at the Directory as an opportunity to rededicate themselves and the catechists to the catechetical ministry and to create in all the faithful a renewed passion for catechesis.” Another member of the Commission, Bishop James Thoppil of Kohima noted that the Directory that contains norms, principles, directives and guidelines for effective and orderly catechesis, was a useful text for orienting faith formation in the Indian context.
Delivering the key-note address on the first day of the seminar, Father Raphael Jayapalan, the Provincial of the Salesian Province Chennai and former executive secretary of CCBI Commission for Catechetics enumerated the process of formulating the National Catechetical Directory and insisted that catechetical renewal remains essential for a vibrant church. He said, “the National Catechetical Directory, Fostering the Faith of a Pilgrim People, is an important milestone in the history of Catechetics in India, to re-mould and promote an adequate understanding of the science of Catechesis and to evolve a catechetical process that hopefully would lead to a renewed understanding of catechesis.”
In the course of the three day seminar all six parts of the Directory will be studied extensively. Commission Executive Secretary, Fr Laurence Culas, Salesian Sr. Terese Joseph and Salesian Fr. Gilbert Choondal are resource persons to help participants arrive at a consensus on implementing the contents of the Directory in their respective areas. Salesian Fr. Antony Christy is the local coordinator of the national seminar.
India’s Catholic Church is a communion of three ritual Churches: the Latin, the Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara, both eastern rites, which together make up the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Church in the country. (Source: CCBI)
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