BSC KUCHING: On the morning of 26 January, 2019, thirty faith formators or catechists (for both the English and Chinese sessions of Sunday School, RCIA, and Children’s Liturgy) of Blessed Sacrament Church, attended a 3-hour Retreat at the parish hall.
Fr. Felix Au, in his opening prayer and short speech, welcomed all participants and introduced Fr. Patrick Heng as the guest speaker.
He reminded the faith formators of the need for a retreat/ recollection every once in a while for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and to have God in their lives. Also, to restore their faith, gain knowledge, and to reflect on their decisions for choosing this vocation.
Fr. Felix commented on the impeccable timing for the retreat to be held on the eve of Catechetical Sunday, which was the next day, January 27. This would enable the catechists time to reflect, and also to decide and commit during the retreat, that they were truly ready to be blessed and commissioned during Sunday’s Mass.
Fr. Patrick Heng began his talk with a reference to the German priest-painter Sieger Koder’s painting, where two disciples of Jesus were sitting and having a meal at Emmaus. The painting captured the moment when the Lord Jesus vanished, leaving the two disciples at the table.
Thereafter, Fr. Heng introduced them to his talk on “The Catechist as Teacher – Companion.” He expounded on how catechists could help children enter into personal relationships with God, and our Lord Jesus.
Catechists were like companions, people who encouraged, listened, were sensitive, and who got to know the children under their care.
They were to accompany the children as they “walked with Christ”. He said catechists were just instruments of God. Being a catechist was a vocation of service to the Church, a gift that changed lives.
Fr. Heng added that when we serve, we are to serve with a joyful heart; to see and be there from beginning to the end of whatever we are tasked to do.
There was a short Q & A session before the retreat ended. BFFC Chairman John Wong encouraged all faith formators to reflect and to ask questions.
Catechetical Sunday was commemorated with the theme “Christ Our Mission” (Phil 1:21).
Fr. Felix Au’s homily was taken from the message for Catechetical Sunday 2019 by Archbishop Julian Leow, President of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission, who said the theme was a call to all baptised Catholics to make Christ known to others, especially those on the peripheries.
Fr. Felix said that included parents, grandparents or guardians. The duty was not limited to only catechists.
Among the congregation at the Mass, which also saw the catechists being commissioned, were parents and students of Sunday School, RCIA participants and students from the Children’s Liturgy.