The Catholic Bishop of Lokoja Diocese, Most Rev. Martin Olorunmolu has emphasized the need for the overhaul of the methods of teaching Catechesis in the Nigerian church to make her effectively relevant and compliant in the new Evangelization apostolate of the Universal Church.
The Bishop expressed this need in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the first national Catechetical Summit of the Church, held recently at the CSN Resource Centre, Durumi, Abuja. The four-day programme which had Revamping Catechetical Apostolate in Nigeria as its theme, was attended by over 300 delegates, including some members of the CBCN and a representative of the Vatican.
According to Bishop Olorunmolu who is also the CBCN Chairman for Religious Education, Catechesis and Biblical Apostolate: “The common view of many of our leading Catholics in Nigeria today (clerics, religious and lay faithful) is that the time is overdue for serious review (or an overhaul) of our age-old method (s) of teaching our Catholic faith to our people.”
The bishop also regretted that many Catholic children can no longer be taught the faith properly due to some pertinent reasons while the parishes are not really up to-date in this perspective and even knowledgeable adults are still used to the penny catechism methods.
Justifying the need for the summit, the local ordinary of Lokoja Diocese queried: “In general, what practical, realistic and effective programmes can we organize for our church members to ensure an on-going catechetical or doctrinal formation for them even after they have received the three sacraments for Christian initiation and some other sacraments (like marriage). Bishop Olorunmolu re-emphasized the importance of Catechetical instruction in the life of the Church, using the documents of the Church to assert his position.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Archbishop Franz-Peter Tebartz Van-Elst, Delegate for Catechesis at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization at the Vatican; while speaking on the invaluable importance of Catechesis in the life of the Church commended the efforts of the Bishops of Nigeria at organizing the summit. He added: “As Delegate for Catechesis, I am particularly grateful for the invitation to attend the First National Catechetical Summit and, on behalf of the President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, would like to take the opportunity to wish the organizers and participants every success.”
In his own message, the CBCN Episcopal Chairman for the Pastoral Department of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Most Rev, John Ayah of Uyo Diocese, noted among other things that:“Proper Catechesis has been emphasized by several Church doctrines and even extra magisterial teachings as a recipe for building up the faith of the Church
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