27 August 2012
To: All the clergy, the religious and the faithful of the Diocese
Re: A NEW CATECHESIS PROGRAM FOR OUR DIOCESE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In my communication to you in February this year, among other things, I drew your attention to the fact that the Diocese was in the process of working out a new Catechesis Program.
The statement I made then read thus: “Following the approach adopted by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) in their Statement on Catechesis, we are in the process of working out a new program of catechesis in the Diocese. In essence, we are moving away from a sacramentally based catechesis which focuses only on preparing people for the reception of Sacraments. We are working out a program of catechesis that will be an ongoing journey of the deepening of faith, making the faith of people living, conscious and active.”
After looking at what is being done in other dioceses around us, I have decided to adopt the program of catechesis worked out by and followed in the diocese of Mthatha. It is an elaborate and systematic program with a clear syllabus for the different stages (or cycles) worked out according to different age groups. We are grateful to the Bishop of Mthatha for allowing us to adopt their program and to adapt it to our own situation.
The first phase in implementing the new program will involve the following:
1. Every parish and pastoral district must recruit more voluntary catechists so that there is an adequate number of catechists in every parish community.
2. The catechists will be trained in the new program by the Diocesan Animation Team which is presently being prepared, and which is part of the Diocesan Catechesis Commission.
3. The catechists will structure themselves under the supervision of the parish priest in such a way that there is a Coordinator of Catechesis in every parish community.
4. The children will have to be organised into different stage-groups according to their ages and catechists assigned to the different stages (or cycles) as explained in the policy book.
5. Separate RCIA groups for adults will be established and catechists assigned to them.
6. The implementation of the new system is set to begin with the opening of the Catechesis Year at the beginning of February 2013.
Providentially, this process of implementing a new Catechesis Program for our Diocese happens to coincide with the Year of Faith proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Catechesis plays a central role in the renewal of faith envisaged for the Year of Faith.
Let our efforts to implement this new Catechesis Program be therefore further inspired by the clarion call by the Pope for all of us to deepen our faith so that it becomes something living, conscious and active.
I call upon all to openly and enthusiastically adopt the new Program of Catechesis and embark upon the first steps required in its implementation. Undoubtedly, it will take a while before the program is in full swing in all the parishes and pastoral districts. What is important though is that we all take the first steps required.
With my blessing and best wishes, I remain
Yours in Christ,
+ Dabula A. Mpako
Bishop of Queenstown