VATICAN - From September 8th to September 10th, 2022, the Catechetical Office of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem participated in the Third International Congress on Catechesis, entitled "The Catechist, Witness to the New Life in Christ”.
The Congress was launched on September 8th by Mgr Rino Fisichella, President of the International Council for Catechesis, with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, and the reading of the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (8:28-30), which focuses on the idea that we should be well aware that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him", as we are all created in His image. Mgr Rino then explained the significance title of the Congress, “Catechist, Witness to the New Life in Christ".
The next lecture was entitled “Called to freedom: the Kerygma and the new life", and was given by Mgr Antonio Pitta, from the Pontifical Lateran University. It focused on the fact that Christians who have joined the body of Christ through baptism have their own way of expressing freedom, and revolved around Saint Paul to the Galatians 5:13 and the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) 1691-1715. This lecture was followed by another entitled “Antiquum ministerium: the vocation of the Catechist” which focused on finding our calling into catechism, as an ancient service in and to the Church. The day concluded with a third lecture entitled “The Synodal Perspective for an Evangelizing Catechesis”, which focused on the power of hearing with Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
During the second day, which began with a Mass celebrated at St. Peter's Basilica, Dr. Robert Cheaib from the Lyon Catholic University (France) gave a lecture on personal freedom, civil responsibility and awareness of the Church, entitled “Personal Freedom and Ecclesial Consciousness”. Another lecture, "The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes: catechesis in the Service of Conscience Formation", focused on participation in social life.
The second part of the day was more of an interaction session. First, Sister Anna Nabili and her team told stories carrying a spiritual message by performing a dance. Then, people were split into groups according to their language in order to discuss different topics such as responsibility and participation in social life [CCC 1913-1917]; truth, communication, and the digital question [CCC 2488-2499]; difference and reciprocity between men and women: gender ideology [CCC 369-373, 2331-2335]; Christian formation regarding the final stages of life [CCC 2276-2279]; and Ecological education for the care of the 'common home' [CCC 2415-2418; LS 137-162].
During the third day, the last lecture of the Congress, entitled “Joyful messengers of challenging proposals: catechist, morality, and holiness”, focused on the link between a catechist's joy and holiness and the sharing of the Word of God to the youth. Some people then presented some of their pastoral experiences regarding Christian education from different regions of the world.
For the end of the Congress, the participants met His Holiness Pope Francis, who spoke of the importance of Christian education in our daily lives and how to carry God's message with love, while always highlighting Christ's growing presence within us. "Never turn away from this source of love, for it is the condition for being happy and full of joy always and in spite of everything. This is the new life that sprang up in us on the day of Baptism and that we have the responsibility to share with everyone so that it can grow in each person and bear fruit," he said. After the meeting, Father Remon Haddad, director of the Catechetical Office, had the privilege to meet the Pope personally to deliver greetings to His Holiness.