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Column: Always for DCHerald (July 20-26, 2008 issue)

The Catechist as a Facilitator


by
Erwin Joey E. Cabilan

The catechist plays a very important role in the catechetical process. The
catechetical process that I am referring to is not just something to be done but more
than this it is something ought to be done. Some only consider this (catechetical
process) as very ordinary. Why? For those who view catechetical process in a too
simplistic way, they would invoke the “methods of yesteryears” such as
memorization and question and answer. All the more, our learners are only expected
to mentally grasp Church Teachings, the Ten Commandments, the Seven Sacraments,
the Basic Prayers, etc. If they can, then we can consider them as Catholics in good
standing. In terms of handling students, they still consider the teacher-centered
approach as always possible in any given situation. Are these enough? If not, can we
venture into another dimension where catechetical ministry as a process may grow
and develop in order to respond to needs of our time?

Catechesis is more than what we are doing either functionally and relationally.
Relating this to its missionary characteristic, catechesis is larger than what we do
either at the School or at the Parish levels. Because of its vastness, we are always
called by the Spirit of the Lord to explore all possibilities in order that we can be of
better service to God’s people. What are some aspects that are integrally part of the
Catechetical Process? Let me give you the following:

1. The Catechist
2. The Recipients
3. The Context/Situation
4. The Approach
5. Faith-Community References
6. Expected/Desired Vision

Wow! All these things are interrelated. Because these are interconnected, we
might as well say that the Catechetical Process is, indeed, a complicated matter. I
guess a pessimistic catechist might look into this reality as complicated. But an
optimistic catechist sees interrelatedness of things as richness of the ministry itself!
And he/she will ask him/herself: What is my vocation as a catechist in this
multi-faceted reality? How can WE do this?

I think there is no specific idea as to what should the catechist be amidst the
given situation. This is also true in searching for the only manner in doing
everything. But if we are going to focus on the topic The Catechetical Process, the
most feasible icon that we can project of a catechist is the Icon of a being a
FACILITATOR. Allow me to give the following mission-oriented tasks of the
Catechist as a Facilitator.

F Friend, Faith-sharer
A Analyzer
C Companion
I Initiator
L Listener
I Innovator
T Teacher
A Always ready
T Talented
O Organizer
R Realistic

All these characteristics of a catechist as a facilitator can never be developed


in a day or in a week. We need to grow in these mission-oriented tasks day by day.
God has given us the charism to catechize. He knows better than us. We are called
by Him to discover all these gifts in us, share them to others and sustain them in your
day to day prayerful encounter with the Lord. By sharing to us His mission, God
vividly shows that He loves His people and he also trusts us very much.

Raise our hands to Him; these are hands that reach out to others.
Open our minds and hearts; these are containers of His grace.
Like the prophets, we, too, can say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”