" How many os know what we believe ?How many us know what we teach and what to teach ? To be a catechist, is not a matter of labour, it is a matter of deep commitment to Christ. " said His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith addressing the Catechists teaching in English medium in the Archdiocese, at a special meeting held on 10th November 2012 at the Blessed Joseph Vaz Centre, Colombo 08.
There are already 54 Parishes conducting Catechism classes among 126 Parishes in the Archdiocese of Colombo. As this year was declared as the Year of Faith by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, His Eminence at the very beginning of the year, very rightly so, called for a meeting of the English catechists in view of training them to impart faith to the children not only using the best methods of teaching, but also to help them to teach the baisc catechism of the Church.
His Grace the Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis, very Rev. J. D. Anthony Episcopal Vicar for Formation & Seminaries, Very Rev. Fr. Daya Shelton Welikadarachchi Episcopal Vicar for Bible Apostolate, Rev. Fr. Indra Fernando Director of Catechetics and several other Fathers participated at the meeting.
His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm further said, " if we are not convinced that we are disciples of Christ, who commissioned each one of to 'go out to the world world and preach the Goodnews' which demands a deeper commitment and if we not aware of what we believe, then our teaching become a shallowing exercise. How committed are we to Christ and to our faith ?"
" There are so many catechism books published throughout the history and they remain as only contents, but how many us and how many of our people know the basic catechism ?" said His Eminence. Quoting from the APOSTOLIC LETTER "MOTU PROPRIO DATA" PORTA FIDEI of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, " " Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God."
" In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church ... I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.”
" It is in this sense that that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here, in fact, we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith."
" In its very structure, the Catechism of the Catholic Church follows the development of the faith right up to the great themes of daily life. On page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church. The profession of faith is followed by an account of sacramental life, in which Christ is present, operative and continues to build his Church. Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness. By the same criterion, the teaching of the Catechism on the moral life acquires its full meaning if placed in relationship with faith, liturgy and prayer." ( MOTU PROPRIO DATA" PORTA FIDEI ).
His Eminence drew the attaention of the Catehcists to the increasing secularization process taking place in the soceity and he said, " people are becoming more consumarising and they are telling, 'Religion is imporant, but it is a private affair'. Many youngsters are getting into an attitude of eat & drink and merry making concept. Faced with this kind of situation, I want all of you to grab the opportunity given to us by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, declaring this year as the Year of Faith, and commit deeply to teach the faith of the Church to the children in your parishes and I invite you to become the second parent to them, who come to you on Sundays with lot of difficulties in their personal lives and especially the children who still come to Sunday school amidst issues of their parents ".
His Eminence introduced the English Catechism books written by His Grace the Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis, from Year 01 to Year 11 and His Eminence declared that these books will be the Sunday School syllabus in the English medium beginning from year 2013 January. His Eminence appreciated the hard work done by Archbishop Oswald Gomis in preparing these books, and thanked him also very much for presenting the basic catechism book, 'Mahaopadeshaya' in Sinhala, English and Tamil as well.
His Grace the Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis addressed the Catechists reminding them that it is the mission of Christ entrusted to all the catechists through the apostles and every catechist is committed to share the mission of Christ and teach faith to the children.