Catechists need to be aware of varied dynamics among Hispanic students
Presently, the diocesan Office of Religious Education and the Office of Hispanic Ministry are collaborating by providing training for Catechist in the Hispanic community. Twenty-eight catechists from four parishes came together once a month for three months for this training. All are very enthusiastic and committed to providing a good faith formation for their students. I have shared many anecdotes, stories and tips from the many years of teaching various levels of catechism in the past.
Some of the children in our classes are born here in the U.S. of immigrant parents. Some were born in another country and share immigrant status with their parents. Some, like me, were born in the U.S. as was my father but not my mother. I share this because there are very different dynamics in all those different family situations and for our catechists to be the most effective they need to be aware of these dynamics.
Many times in the 15 years I have worked with this office, I have received calls from non-Hispanic teachers. Teachers that are loving and caring as their faith dictates, they should be want to know how to better serve our population in their faith formation. I often pray for these teachers because without caring adults like them our Hispanic children might believe the unkind rhetoric they sometimes hear as to who they are in this country.
I shared with the catechists that it is an honor and a responsibility to form children in their faith, but an honor that comes with much responsibility. Not only do we impart knowledge to them, but we must be a model of our faith by living a faith-filled life.
These catechists understood that very well because many came from small villages where a priest came every so often to celebrate Mass and give the sacraments of initiation to children. The more fortunate lived in cities where churches and sacramental life were part of daily living. These catechists are enjoying the classes and are very thankful to their parish priest and our offices for aiding them on their faith formation path to help them better serve their children.
To all you catechists, thank you and God bless you.
Adeline Torres is director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Gary. This column appeared in Spanish in the NWIC print edition dated Nov. 24, 2013.