AMERICA – Catechists: evangelizing force of the Church, especially in this period

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Brasilia – Several countries in Latin America celebrate “Catechist’s Day” every August 21, on the occasion of the feast of Saint Pius X, who was the editor of the “Major Catechism”. This year the publication of the Apostolic Letter “Antiquum Ministerium” with which Pope Francis establishes the lay ministry of the Catechist has given a greater impetus to the appointment and the initiatives related to it, despite the limitations still in force due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Brazil, on the last Sunday of August of each year, the Church remembers catechists with gratitude and affection, recognizing the importance of this ministry at the service of evangelization. This is explained in the note from the Episcopal Conference sent to Agenzia Fides. In a video, on behalf of the Brazilian Episcopate, the Archbishop of Curitiba and president of the Episcopal Commission for Biblical-Catechetical Animation, Monsignor José Antônio Peruzzo, expresses his gratitude for the catechetical ministry, for the vocation of the catechist and for freedom and availability to give an answer to Jesus. “Even if they are in another part of the world, they will remember your person and your testimony as a catechist. If when giving catechesis, in addition to the passion for catechism there is also the joy of following the Lord, they will never forget the testimony given”, emphasizes Bishop Peruzzo. In the video, the Archbishop highlights that “catechesis and catechists are an evangelizing force of the Church in Brazil”, but here it is not about greatness, but about being “chosen, called and sent”. “Catechist, with great gratitude and affection, I want to tell you that one day the Lord Jesus will give you a big hug, a big hug of gratitude for having accepted and dedicated time and intelligence, affection and creativity, everything so that the name of the Lord Jesus be understood and loved. May the Lord multiply the blessings for you, dear catechists, for the blessing they are for the Church”, concludes Monsignor Peruzzo. In addition to the video, the Biblical-Catechetical Animation Commission also sent a Letter to catechists throughout Brazil. On Catechist Day, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bogotá, Monsignor Pedro Salamanca Mantilla, as president of the Commission of Catechesis and Biblical Animation of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, addressed a special greeting to the catechists of the country, thanking them for the service they provide within the Church: “It is an essential, fundamental service, which consists of accompanying people so that they strengthen their adherence to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, become more and more conformed to Him, and become decisively incorporated into the life of the Christian community”. The bishop stressed that, if this ministry did not exist, the Church could not fully fulfill her evangelizing task and also reiterated the urgent need for the presence of catechists in the current context that humanity lives. “At this time, this service is indispensable, because there are many people who have not met Jesus Christ, who have not had the joy of meeting him, and people who, having known Jesus Christ, are not yet on the path of growth to maturity. of the human being in Christ. That is why we need you”, he said. Before, families passed on the faith to younger generations, but today many families are no longer able to do so, because their members have other priorities or “they have not received the joy of the Christian proclamation”; furthermore, “the social environment tends to values different from those of the Gospel”. On the occasion of the National Catechetical Day, on August 18, the community of catechists of the diocese of Tacuarembó, in Uruguay, shared a celebration meeting via zoom convened by the diocesan bishop, Monsignor Pedro Wolcan and the Catechetical Commission. The meeting was attended by catechists from the four pastoral areas of the diocese and some priests. Two face-to-face trainings will be held shortly, one on September 17 in Tacuarembó and another on September 18 in Rivera. Also in Paraguay, the diocese of Mercedes proposed to the catechists of Soriano and Colonia to celebrate Catechist Day by sharing a moment of prayer in virtual mode, extending participation to the families of the catechists. Led by the Bishop of Mercedes, Monsignor Carlos Collazzi, the participants thanked God for the ministry received and prayed for each other and for the health situation that the country is going through. In Asunción, Chile, the national Catechist Song contest was launched for Catechist Day organized on Sunday, August 22. “This is your opportunity to create a song that represents catechists and their evangelizing mission in the formation of missionary disciples”, the organizers encouraged.