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A jubilee for catechists

The celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy draws to a close in two months’ time. However, the celebratory spirit of the universal Church is not winding down. This Sunday has been designated as the Year of Mercy Jubilee for Catechists. The Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee for the Jubilee of Mercy has invited catechists to celebrate together and reflect on this special day for which we all have much to be thankful.

In invoking the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis described evangelisation as the sign and witness of mercy. He says, “At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.

“For this reason, I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective” (#3).

The pope is encouraging people to bear witness to the path of evangelisation and conversion. It is with indebtedness that Hong Kong has seen over 3,000 adults receive the sacrament of baptism every Easter for the past decade.

While statistics do not tell the whole story, they do reflect the importance of the work and dedication of a group of catechists in guiding people through an encounter with God.

The theme for today’s celebration is, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:13). Its greater significance is in encouraging catechists to reflect on and deepen the challenge of their mission.

It is a time to question how they accompany the catechumens entrusted by God to them, so that they too may be able to encounter our merciful and compassionate Father during the process of the catechumenate.

“The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child” (#6).

Witnessing to the faith is a process which helps people to understand and accept the good news of the kingdom of God and catechists not only play the highly important role of sharing their faith, but also living it out before the face of the merciful God.

While they are of course not perfect, they are nourished by God’s merciful love, see it, hear Christ’s call and are willing to continually develop and grow in their image of him. Catechists, through their involvement in this process learn to understand more about their own inadequacies and experience of God’s grace working within them.

“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love” (#10).

Christians must be living signs of the Father (#18), making God’s love a visible and tangible living sign, so as to enable all catechists to thank and praise our Father with gratitude and a festive heart. SE