By Jesuraj Rayappan
Jharsuguda: Catechists of Odisha state, eastern India, took time off to study a recent papal encyclical that addressed the universal call to holiness.
As many as 196 catechists along with five diocesan catechetical directors from six dioceses of the state attended the August 20-22 catechists’ renewal seminar on Pope Francis’ “Rejoice and Be Glad” (Gaudete et Exsultate) held at Utkal Jyoti Pastoral Centre, Jharsuguda.
Addressing the gathering on ‘call to holiness is a basic vocation,” Bishop Kishor Kumar Kujur of Rourkela said the sacrifices a catechist makes to proclaim Jesus is authentic missionary work. “Rejoice and be Glad and be an authentic missionary.”
Bishop Niranjan Sualsingh of Sambalpur highlighted in his homily about the holiness of the catechists and the importance of their role in the Church. In his talk, he stressed that the catechists should give importance to Mass.
The catechists are important because they are the first persons available to reach to people to give Jesus and teach catechism and love people.
Father Martin Paricha, catechetical commission secretary of Berhampur diocese, dealt on “What is Holiness: Following the Master.” He spoke on “spiritual combat in the face of destructive values”. While talking with the catechists, he mentioned about two subtle enemies of holiness that are contemporary Gnosticism and contemporary plagiarism. He encouraged the catechists to have joy and a sense of humor for giving Jesus to the people.
Speaking on the “Spiritual combat in the face of destructive values,” he explained to them that for holiness of catechists should have boldness, passion, love for the community and prayer. He too suggested to them to have a faith-filled prayer, faith-filled meditation on the Word of God, a celebration of the Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental reconciliation, and works of charity, community life, and missionary outreach.
In his address, Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur said that the catechists are to proclaim that in God, everyone has equal dignity but responsibility is different and be holy, doing small things in great love.”
Fr. Domingo Gonsalves, executive secretary for National Catechetical Commission, shared about his expectation of catechists and their contributions. He spoke about the service rendered through the catechetical commission to the Church.
Fr. Sagaya John, director of National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre, Bengaluru, and Father Bartholomew Bilung, professor of theology and general of Sambalpur diocese, also addressed the seminar.
The catechists expressed their happiness and satisfaction about the seminar. They were askedto take an oath of assurance to continue to live out the teachings of the seminar “Rejoice and Be Glad” in their own families, neighborhood, parish and society.
The seminar awarded three senior catechists from each diocese to appreciate their generous service.