His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith presided at the Negombo Regional Catechists’ Day on 22nd July 2013 held at the Loyala College. His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, His Lordship Bishop Emmanuel Fernando, Negombo Region Epsicopal Vicar Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Perera, and several priests and the Religious participated.
“Children will come to the life of God, when you impart the faith and teach them catechism through your devout life. Not only teach, but you also need to pray for them as Jesus Our Lord prayed. Just as the life of the apostles was changed by following Christ, surely the life of the children will be changed through your exemplary life. You need love them as Jesus loved the children. May you experience the faith in God together with the children. Thereby help the children know God and to love God. As you teach faith and catechism o the children, you also must improve and strengthen your faith. It is more important to talk to the hearts of the children than to their heads.” said His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith addressing the catechists.
Catechists’ Day was held usually on the diocesan level. Since His Eminence introduced the Regions in the Archdiocese in view of strengthening the faith of the people and children and to bring closer pastoral assistance to the faithful, in this Year of Faith, the Catechists’ Day is held on the Regional level in each region. This helps the catechists in each region to have closer pastoral relationship with the Archbishop and among themselves.
His Eminence further said, “ I sincerely appreciate your service rendering to the church by teaching catechism to the children. Who is the perfect example of faith ? Christ is the Teacher who gives us the perfect example as the teacher of faith. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation,’Catechesi Tradendae’, says, that ‘this teaching is not a body of abstract truths. It is the communication of the living mystery of God. Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.’ Therefore Christ is the teacher who gave the gift of faith to His disciples. Further, it says, ‘His teaching can only be explained by the fact that His words, His parables and His arguments are never separable from His life and His very being. Accordingly, the whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: His silences, His miracles, His gestures, His prayer, His love for people, His special affection for the little and the poor, His acceptance of the total sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the world, and His resurrection are the actualization of His word and the fulfillment of revelation. Hence for Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.’
His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze also addressed the catechists and reminded them the need for life example together with the teaching and the life of prayer. “ I came know about your commitment and your services in the Sunday Schools. You have taken the responsibility of your parish priest on to your shoulders to teach catechism to the children and also to build up a closer relationship with them and their families. As the children grow up, you need to help them to grow through a prayer life into their adolescent. You also need to improve your knowledge in catechism. There is the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’, it is important that you find time daily to read this book to improve your knowledge “.
Several catechists were award for their long and excellent commitment in the Daham Pasals ( Sunday Schools ).
Negombo Region Catechists’ day was organized by the Regional Coordinator Fr. Dinesh Priyashantha, and the Deans of Negombo, Eastern Negombo, Katana Fr. Julius Christopher, Fr. Linton Joseph and Fr. Amil Gomes respectively.