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Manila Priests asked to teach catechesis in public schools

13 May 2009


Peace of the Risen Christ!

A Year of Priests from June 2009 to June 2010 has been announced by Pope Benedict XVI during an audience on March 16 with members of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.  In part, it is to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the French parish priest and saint, John Vianney, often known as the Cure D’Ars, whom Pope Benedict called “a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.”  The Pope presents St. John Vianney as model for priests today: “He was present to his people; he visited them, taught them and reconciled them in the confessional.”

Just as the on-going current Year of St. Paul from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009 has enabled us to think about and reevaluate our contribution to Christian life, we hope that this Year of Priests will help us reflect more deeply on the role of the priest in the Church and how priesthood functions within the whole community of the People of God.

We affirm the great contribution of the Clergy in the life and mission of the Church, particularly in their threefold exercise of the office of Jesus as prophet, priest and shepherd.

The 2007 National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines states that “the sheer number of Filipinos who need to be given basic catechesis, coupled with the continued high population growth, confirms PCP II’s judgment that catechesis is the most basic area of renewal in the Philippines and should receive first priority.  The National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR), in evaluating the results of PCP II after ten years, renewed this judgment by making Integral Faith Formation the first of its nine pastoral priorities.  The challenge for the Church in the Philippines is clear: the actual size and continued growth of the Catholic population demand a concerted effort in the ministry of catechesis.  This will involve developing new catechetical ways and methods and more effective means for recruiting and forming competent catechists” (n. 22).

The Fourth Synod of Manila in 1979 on its Statues affirms “that catechetical instruction is the foremost means proper to the Church’s educative function.  It is therefore imperative to recognize the strong need to emphasize the importance of catechetical instruction in the Archdiocese of Manila.”

The Archdiocese of Manila Presbyteral Council, after its meeting on February 11, 2009, requests you, the Clergy of Manila, to volunteer your services, possibly once a week, to teach Catechesis in the Public Schools nearest to your Parishes.  It is a most fitting way to begin our celebration of the Year of Priests and to conclude the Year of St. Paul.

Attached is the list of public schools nearest to your Parish.  For more details regarding this, please coordinate with your fulltime catechists.

Thank you and God bless!

Sincerely yours,

Archbishop of Manila