The importance of Catechesis in helping the faithful to actively live in their faith cannot be controverted; and for them to be effective agents of the evangelization apostolate of the Church, the must be properly grounded in the faith; the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev, Augustine Obiora Akubeze has emphasized.
The CBCN President, who is also the Archbishop of Benin City made this remark in his homily while celebrating the opening Mass for the first national Catechetical Summit of the Church in Nigeria. The ceremony which took place at the CSN Resource Centre, Durumi, Abuja, from November 27 to 30, 2018; had Revamping the Catechetical Apostolate in Nigeria, as its theme. It was attended by over 300 delegates from all the Archdioceses and dioceses in the country.
Making reference to the documents of the Second Vatican Council on the subject matter, Archbishop Akubeze declared: “The purpose of Catechesis is to ensure that “the living faith of the faithful becomes manifest and active through doctrinal instruction and the experience of Christian life” (Canon 773). Catechesis seeks to aid the faithful to be active in living out their faith. Catechesis achieves this goal through the Christian life and doctrinal instruction.”
He continued: “From this we can see that Catechesis is broader than preparing candidates for baptism, confirmation, and first Holy Communion. Catechesis embraces the entire Christian life. Catechetical programs for families, youths, single persons, physically challenged, religious, priests, and bishops. Since Catechesis embraces the entire life of the faithful, there must be the first recognition that Catechesis is very important in the life of the Church. It is at the heart of the mission of the Church. Doctrinal instruction is part of Catechesis. This is the aspect that deals with establishing Catechetical program for those preparing for the sacraments and helping those in the Church to grow in their understanding of the faith.”
The CBCN President noted that the aim of the summit is; among other things; to put in place a systemic order for reworking of the Catechetical Apostolate in Nigeria. He emphasized: “At the end of this summit we should have a clearer picture on specific ways to harmonize Catechetical syllabus for the nation; assist in creating a template for catechetical procedures in dioceses; seriously consider completing the review of the National Catechetical Directory for Nigeria; and establish a form of Ratio Fundamentalis for the formation of Catechists.
The Archbishop added” “We should also understand what Catechetical Apostolate is; the uniqueness of the exercise of the apostolate in Nigeria; and point out areas where Catechetical Apostolate can be refashioned in Nigeria. Speaking on the readings of the Mass, Archbishop Akubeze reminded the faithful, that they remind us of the great harvest at the end of time; and the need to prepare for this end by living good Christian life to able to be among the those who will inherit heaven at the end of our sojourn on earth.
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