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SAINT MICHAEL COLLEGE

Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

MICHAELINIAN STUDENT CATECHISTS

DESCRIPTION: A group of committed college and high school students properly trained and prepared
to teach catechesis in the public elementary and secondary schools and to the out-of-
school children and youth.

OBJECTIVES: To proclaim the Good News of salvation in response to the command of our Lord to “go
and make disciples of all nations” and help in the realization of the school’s vision “to
proclaim Jesus Christ as the good news to all especially to the poor of the local
community by:
 providing religious / catechetical instruction to children studying in public
schools and those not studying all;
 training, forming, and preparing student-catechists;
 and animating the fervor and dynamism of today’s youth to study, believe, love,
and proclaim the Catholic faith for the glory of God.

Formation Program

I. RATIONALE

Christ sighed, “The harvest is rich but the laborers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to
send laborers to his harvest” (Mt. 9:37). The sigh is echoed by the Church today. From Vatican II up till
the present the clarion call insistently remains: SEND LABORERS TO THE HARVEST. For so many decades
now the Catholic Church in the Philippines continues to face the serious problem of surmounting the
critical shortage of properly trained catechists.

We must admit the sad fact that the majority of Filipino Catholics are poorly catechized. Some
have not been catechized at all. Others are being secularized by so many influential factors such as
materialism, capitalism, and power struggle.

Due to the accelerating rate of population growth, almost half of our population are children
and youth, a vast majority of whom are enrolled in the public schools. The constitutional provision
which allows religious instruction in the public schools and is presently being implemented has ushered
in better opportunities for catechesis of elementary children and high school youth.

Blessed Pope John Paul II gave special attention to young people. In his visits to the Philippines
he expressed his love for and faith in them. He counts on their energy and enthusiasm. He urged the
youth to discover the right ways to fulfill Christ’s mission. When he came in 1981, he called them
“missionaries.” Repeatedly he challenged the youth to carry out the work of evangelization. “To all of
you, dear young people, the Church entrusts you with an exalting apostolic task: to be the agents of the
New Evangelization.”

The Catholic school, where young people converge, is a genuine and proper instrument of the
Church in its evangelization, authentic apostolate, and of pastoral action (cf. Religious Dimension, no.
44). It helps Christian men and women to become mature in their faith. By this very identity the Catholic
school is a seat of human resources for evangelization. The students who are evangelized will in turn
become evangelizers who can make up a tremendous task force for catechizing their fellow students in
the public schools (Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 24).

The Catholic Bishops, aware of the potentiality of Catholic high schools and colleges have stated
that: “Every Catholic college and high school should have, where not as yet exists, an office for
catechetical instruction giving the students an opportunity to teach religion in the public schools. In this
context the training of volunteer catechists becomes a crucial need. Therefore we urge… Catholic
schools should give special attention to the training of Catechists” (CBCP 1990).

Thus, the greatest, pressing need created by this catechetical re-awakening is renewed and
intensified catechetical formation program in the Catholic schools in order to raise, not only the quality
of catechetical work, but the quantity of its workers as well.

“Poor catechesis…is often more harmful than no catechesis at all” (Roche, 1987).

II. AIM

The formation program aims to help the volunteer catechists to grow in their knowledge and life
of faith, and become better equipped to carry on catechesis in the public schools.

III. GENERAL OBJECTIVES

The formation program is ordered to enable the student-catechists to:

1. Know the nature, goals, and sources of catechesis, become familiar with the “new” in the
renewed methodology, and acquire the skills to use it confidently;
2. Understand more deeply the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and the basic
truths and moral consequences that surround them;
3. Learn to apply certain teaching techniques as means of communicating the Message in a lively
and intelligible way;
4. Grow in their own life of faith, including a conscious awareness of their personal relationship
with God and Christ in Spirit-inspired prayer, and their need to be nourished by the Sacraments
of the Church;
5. Accept the challenge to help build a community that is permeated with the Spirit and love of
Christ, and
6. Appreciate their specific vocation as catechists and recognize its importance in the life of the
Filipino Catholic Church.

IV. MATERIALS TO BE USED

 Sacred Scripture (Catholic translation)


o New American Bible
o New American Bible – Revised Edition
o Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition
o New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition
o Jerusalem Bible
o Good News Bible – Catholic Edition
o Christian Community Bible
 General Directory for Catechesis
 National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines
 Catechism of the Catholic Church
 Catechism for Filipino Catholics
 Formation Manual

V. TIME FRAME

High School

DATE ACTIVITY
June Basic Orientation for Catechists Whole Day
Commissioning Rite During Mass
July - September Ongoing Formation 1 hour / week
October Socials / Outing
December Christmas Party
February Recollection Whole Day
March Culminating Activity

College

DATE ACTIVITY
First Semester
June Basic Orientation for Catechists Whole Day
Commissioning Rite During Mass
July - August Continuing In-Service Formation 1 hour / week
September Socials / Outing
October Recollection
Second Semester
October Follow-Up Seminar-Workshop (Orientation for New) Whole Day
November Continuing In-Service Formation 1 hour / week
December Christmas Party
January Outing
February Recollection Whole Day
March Culminating Activity

VI. PERSONS INVOLVED

 DIRECTRESS, DEAN, ACADEMIC COORDINATOR for approval and support in the activities.
 CHRISTIAN FORMATION COORDINATOR AND TEAM for the facilitation of the program.
 Selected RELIGIOUS EDUCATION / THEOLOGY / CHRISTIAN LIVING teachers to teach certain
topics.
 GUIDANCE COUNSELOR to lecture on child / developmental psychology.
 EDUCATION TEACHERS to lecture on the dynamics of teaching and teaching strategies.
 SCHOOL CHAPLAIN / INVITED PRIEST(S) to make the Sacraments available for the catechists, and
to give recollection and retreat.
 CAMPUS MINISTRY COORDINATOR for coordinating functions, assistance in recollection and
retreat, and to give sessions on prayer and spirituality.
 CATECHIST FORMATOR(S) to do the lion share of the task.

VII. ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAM

A. RECRUITMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP into the Michaelinian Student-Catechists must start either
before the school year ends or on the start of the school year. Spot potential prospects at
enrolment time, and in Theology / Christian Living classes. Accept all those interested to join
regardless of mental ability and course taken in college, although preference is given to
Education students. Everyone, naturally, non-Catholics, who wishes to avail of the formation
program must be given equal opportunity.

B. ACTION PLAN is the immediate guide in carrying out the different activities of the program. It
must be ready before the program begins. The catechist-formator is encouraged to prepare one
that is in coordination with the calendar of activities of the whole school.

C. BASIC ORIENTATION FOR CATECHISTS starts the formation program.

D. CONTINUING FORMATION is held at least once a week, if possible on the same day, time, and
place. Except for serious reasons (examination, institutional activities, etc.) this schedule should
not be disrupted.

E. RECOLLECTION AND RETREAT are scheduled in the middle of each semester (college) or school
year (high school). The topics may also include academic studies, but primarily, recollection and
retreat are occasions for sustaining the prayer life and spirituality of the student-catechists, and
their call and mission precisely as catechists. The Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation
should highlight these special moments with God.

F. SOCIAL GATHERINGS are as necessary as the academic studies. They are neither to be neglected,
nor given the primacy. They include preparation, an occasion for service, teamwork, and
leadership, not to mention the camaraderie and social growth that the student-catechists may
acquire.

G. The CULMINATING ACTIVITY is scheduled at the end of the school year.

VIII. COMPONENTS OF FORMATION

A basic formation program consists in:

1. Solid training in doctrine, morals and prayer-worship, based on Scripture and Church teaching;
2. A deeper initiation into a sound Christian philosophy and psychology of the person;
3. Educational and leadership skills and techniques; and most importantly
4. A serious formation in prayer and Christian spirituality.

A. STUDIES

1. Doctrinal or Biblico-Theological Formation

“…The catechist must also be a teacher who teaches the faith. A biblico-theological
formation should afford the catechist an organic awareness of the Christian message,
structured around the central mystery of the faith, Jesus Christ.” (GDC, 240)

2. Of the Person / Formation in the Human Sciences

“The catechist also acquires a knowledge of man and the reality in which he lives through
the human sciences which have greatly developed in our own time. ‘In pastoral care
sufficient use should be made, not only of theological principles, but also of secular findings,
especially in the fields of psychology and sociology: in this way the faithful will be brought to
a more mature living of the faith’ (Gaudium et Spes, 62b)” (GDC, 242).

B. SKILLS (Pedagogical / Methodological Formation)

“Together with those dimensions which refer to being and knowledge, the formation of
catechists must also cultivate technique. The catechist is an educator who facilitates maturation
of the faith…” (GDC, 244)

C. SPIRITUALITY (Spiritual Formation)

“The function entrusted to the catechist demands of him a fervent sacramental and spiritual life,
a practice of prayer, and a deep feeling for the excellence of the Christian message and for the
power it has to transform one’s life; it also demands of him the pursuit of the charity, humility,
and prudence which allow the Holy Spirit to complete his fruitful work in those being taught”
(GCD, 114).

Tabular Summary

STUDIES SKILLS SPIRITUALITY

I. DOCTRINAL FORMATION I. TEACHING SKILLS A. Christian Spirituality


B. Spirituality of the Laity /
A. Doctrine A. Preparation & Planning of Catechist
Lessons C. Prayer
1. Salvation History B. Lesson Demonstration D. Commitment and Service
2. Christology C. Classroom Management
3. Dogma (Creed)
4. Ecclesiology (Church) II. PASTORAL SKILLS

B. Morals A. Pastoral Formation


B. Leadership and Facilitating
1. General Morals Skills
2. Specific Morals C. Community Organizing
D. Peer Counseling
C. Worship
III. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
1. Sacraments and Liturgy
A. Media
D. Basic Bible Course B. Creative Dramatics
C. Group Dynamics
II. HUMAN SCIENCES D. Music
E. Workshop / Song Seminar
A. Psychology of Society &
Person
B. Christian Philosophy
C. Personality Development
D. Current Issues
E. Guidance and Counseling

III. CATECHETICS

A. Nature & Aims of Catechesis


B. History of Catechesis
C. Vocation & Mission of the
Catechist

Adapted from:

A PROGRAM MANUAL FOR FORMING COLLEGE VOLUNTEER CATECHISTS


by Sr. Alma Esmero, SPC
1997
with necessary adaptations