DEPARTMENT OF CATECHESIS
Archdiocese of Tellicherry
The Catechetical Centre is the central office of the Department of Catechesis of the Archeparchy of Tellicherry. It is situated at Sandesa Bhavan, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre.
"To Grow in Christian Maturity through Faith Formation" (Lk 2:52)
Aims and Objectives
-To Co-ordinate all the Catechetical activities of the Archeparchy.
-To promote and organize Sunday school catechism programs on parish, Forane and Archdiocesan level.
-To organize training programs and theological study programs for Catechism teachers.
Organization and Functioning
1. General Observations
The Archeparchy has a well organized system of catechesis for children and youth up to the age of eighteen. 98% of the children and youth in the Archeparchy attend Catechism classes regularly. This regular formation program is of twelve years duration. Young people above the age of 18 are catechized by means of seminars, short term courses, conventions, and retreats. Adult catechesis is provided at the basic Christian Community Gatherings. Further formation is given through retreats, seminars, and conventions conducted in parishes, Forane Centers and the Archeparchial Catechetical and Pastoral Centre. The co-ordination of all these programs is the responsibility of the Archeparchial Catechetical Centre.
2. The System of Sunday Schools
Catechetical formation is given to children mainly through Sunday Schools and therefore the whole program is usually known as Sunday School Catechesis. In all the parishes and filial churches we have Sunday school catechesis under the supervision of the parish priests. On every Sunday we have special Holy Masses for children from 5 to 17 years old. After the Mass they attend Catechism classes for two hours. There are 12 classes from standard I to XII. We are following the text books of the Syro-Malabar Catechetical Committee. At the end of every academic year we conduct an annual examination and thus the promotion to the next standard is duly determined. Those who complete successfully the XII standard are awarded with a Diploma in Catechism.
Total number of Sunday schools : 213
Total number of students : 41392
Boys : 20757
Girls : 20635
Total number of teachers : 3157
Laymen : 1053
Lay women : 1347
Sisters : 641
Brothers : 75
Priests : 31
4. Forane Districts
The whole Sunday school network in the Archeparchy is divided into 16 Forane districts. Each district has a Forane executive committee which co-ordinates the activities of the Sunday schools in the respective Foranes. Each Forane has a Director who is appointed by the Archbishop and a President elected by the Forane committee.
5. Organs For Effective Functioning
a. Archdiocesan Catechetical Committee
On the Archeparchial level there is a Director and an Archdiocesan Catechetical Committee of 55 members headed by the Archbishop to co-ordinate the Catechetical activities of the whole eparchy.
b. Central team of Trainers
The Archdiocese has a Central Team of 30 persons including priests, sisters and lay people. They conduct different training programs for catechists. They are convened twice a year and refresher courses on different subjects in theology and catechesis are given to them by experts.
c. Sunday School Visitors' Forum
In order to inspire and co-ordinate the Catechetical activities in the Sunday schools, Sunday school visits are conducted. A team of two expert teachers is appointed for this purpose in every forane. Thus a comprehensive evaluation of each Sunday School in the Archeparchy is made every year and suggestions are given for improvement.
d. Headmasters' Council
Every Year a two days' Conference of the Sunday school Headmasters is conducted for evaluating the activities of the past year and for planning and organizing the activities of the current year.
e. Sunday school Parents-Teachers Association (PTA)
In order to improve the functioning of our Sunday schools, we find it necessary to get the involvement of the parents who have great influence in the formation of children. So we try to instruct them by conducting orientation seminars and workshops on the parish level. This makes them aware of their responsibility in the faith formation of their children.
Director and Office Staff (2019)
Director: Rev. Dr. Jacob Vennayappillil
Rev. Fr. George Puthumana
Rev. Sr. Tercitta NS
Mr. Joby Moolayil
Training Programs for Catechists
To increase the efficiency and to deepen the commitment of our catechists we conduct the following programs.
1. Introductory Seminar
It is a five days training program conducted every year for the beginners as catechists. A basic theology of Catechism and theoretical and practical introduction to the method of teaching are given in this seminar. Every year around 100 teachers participate in this training.
2. Four Days Seminars
This seminar is conducted every year on the Forane level. Current issues on theology, morals and teaching methodology are dealt with in these seminars.
3. One-Day Seminars
This is conducted on the Forane level three times a year. All the teachers in the Forane regularly participate in this program.
4. Advanced Self-Study Pogramme for Catechists (ASPCT)
ASPCT is a training program for advancement through self study. Every year we select a topic-theological, liturgical, biblical or historical. Some introductory classes on the selected subject are given and an important book on the topic is made available for self study. After sufficient self- study and preparation teachers have to appear for an examination. Those who pass the examination are awarded with certificates and the rank holders are encouraged with cash awards.
5. Theological Studies of Three Years Duration (BTh.)
A large number of our Catechists are attending the advanced theological courses conducted by the Alpha Institute of Theology and Science run by the Bible Apostolate of the Archeparchy.
6. One-Year Pastoral Theology Course
A few selected catechists are sent for a one-Year Pastoral Theology Course conducted by the Pastoral Orientation Centre of the Kerala Catholic Bishop's Conference at Erankulam.
7. Personality Development and Leadership Training Program for Teachers
This Program aims at the development of teaching skills of the catechists. Orientation to be good Christian leaders in society is also given due importance. This seminar helps them to work as mature and active Christian leaders in parishes.
8. Retreat for the Catechism Teachers
Once in every two years we conduct specially oriented retreats for the catechism teachers on the forane level. This aims at enhancing their generosity and deepening their commitment to the ministry.
Special Training Programs for Children
1. Intensive Catechism Course (ICC)
This is an 8 days catechism course arranged every year during summer holidays. The participants are students who are selected by the governmental agencies for their best performance in studies. They study from VI to XII standard in residential schools run by the State (Navodaya, Technical and Central School). These students are unable to attend the regular Sunday Catechism classes.
2. Viswasolsave (Celebration of Faith)
This is a five days activity oriented summer program in which all the Sunday school students participate. A special work-book is provided for each class on five themes. Their performance is evaluated then and there and prizes are distributed. The students are divided into small groups and are given group assignments. The students are very enthusiastic about this program in which the whole parish participates in different ways.
3. Vision and Mission Program
With the aim of promoting vocations we conduct a one day program for the X class students at forane level. It helps the students to think about their future and thereby to select the proper state of life.
4. Additional Text for Non-detailed Study
In addition to the official Catechism text books of the Syro-Malabar Church, we provide the students of IV-XI standard with another short text dealing with the lives of Saints and morals for non-detailed study.
5. Retreat Program for Students
In association with the Cherupushpa Mission League (CML) the Children's Association of the Archeparchy , we conduct special Retreats for different age groups of students: - Angels Retreat (Std I-IV), Jesus Retreat (Std V-XI), Youth Retreat (Std XII). Special teams consisting of priests, sisters, major seminarians and selected laymen are trained for this purpose.
Department of Catechesis
Catechetical and Pastoral Centre