Catechists have been urged to ensure that they have practical faith, which they should inculcate in people, especially catechumens, as they are enjoined to have an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, so as to faithfully and convincingly pass His teachings to others. The charge was given by Very Rev. Msgr. Paschal Nwaezeapu, Dean, Lekki Deanery/Chaplain, during the 2023 Quarterly Lekki Deanery Catechists’ Training, with the theme, “Catechism in the Modern Day”, held recently at Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Lagos. Msgr. Nwaezepu urged the teachers to interpret their work as catechists, adding that they need to constantly update their knowledge to be able to adequately pass on the faith in the light of the world today.
Urging them to get practical in their approach, Msgr. Nwaezeapu reminded the people that Christianity is practical and not theoretical, emphasising that the catechist should teach the faith as a living and active faith with shared experience, not just as theories or an abstract thing. According to him, “Building a relationship with God involves hearing from Him. As a Catechist, you must learn to hear God and teach the catechumens how to hear God, train and equip the catechumens on how to evangelise, and how to pray.” On the Church Mission, he said: “The mission of the Church is evangelisation, the Church is missionary in nature. There are four components in the Church’s mission, namely; one; Go. We are a going Church. Go into the world and call people.
Two; Make disciples. Three; Baptise them and four; Teach them.” Stating that the sacrament is not a magic wand, Msgr. Nwaezeapu said catechists need to teach the sacraments at the beginning of the journey, not at the end. He said: “After the reception of each sacrament, the sacrament received should reflect in the lives of the recipient and live out the full meaning of what we received. In the sacrament, there is a giver who is always faithful, and the recipient is always the challenger.”
On catechesis being an aspect of the Church’s mission, the Chaplain said, “Teach them to observe all that I command you. It is an all-inclusive command to teach, hand on, and observe all the instructions of Christ, thus all need to observe the teaching of Christ, including the catechumens. “Making disciples is the centre of the mission. Bringing others to be disciples that will in turn disciple others is the centre focus of the mission, a soul-winning exercise.” For his part, Dr. Bisi Aina, President, Lekki Deanery Catechists Association, said the event was fulfilling as it had over 40 Catechists from the deanery in attendance. According to him, “The event was attended by catechists from the following Parishes; Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Catholic of Church of the Pentecost, Jakande, Lekki, Ave Maria Catholic Church Ikate, Lekki, Catholic Church of the Transfiguration, VGC, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Chevron, Catholic Church of the Epiphany, Ologola, SS. Philip and James Catholic Church, Lekki-Epe Exp, and St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ikota.