Newly commissioned catechists to ‘serve with the ‘spirit of grace and humility’
Catholic Education WA Catechist Service Team Leader Dr Pina Ford thanked all who contributed to the initial formation of the catechist’s formation course, and all who had made the day’s celebration possible, at the Eucharist for Commissioning on 4 November at St Michael the Archangel Chapel. Photo: Amanda Murthy.
By Amanda Murthy
A spirit of common commitment to catechetical ministry and an acknowledgement of the integral role catechists play in the Church were the central theme as 62 catechists were commissioned last week.
Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton celebrated the Eucharist for Commissioning at Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel on Wednesday 4 November, joined by concelebrants Frs Kenneth D’Souza, Stan Bendowski, Vinh Dong, and Francis Tran.
Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce, CEWA staff, Archdiocesan agency staff, and candidates with representatives from their parish communities were among the present congregation.
Upon commissioning the candidates, Bishop Sproxton addressed them with words of encouragement.
“The focus of the ministry of catechists is the person of Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World. Through your commitment to this ministry, you have responded to your baptismal call,” Bishop Sproxton cited.
“I commission you to share your faith with children, with people with intellectual disabilities, and with those who wish to embrace the Catholic faith.”
During his homily, Bishop Sproxton reflected on the readings of the day, then related the life of Saint Charles Borromeo: “an extraordinary leader and shepherd of his people”, whose feast fell on the same day, as an example to follow.
A candidate being acknowledged at the start of the Eucharist for Commissioning held on 4 November, at Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel. Photo: Amanda Murthy.
“The first reading of today really reminded us of the many ways in which the spirit of service is rendered in the Church. And of course, it begins by people responding to a call, call of God in their heart to offer a service,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“Even deeper than that, it is the result from an encounter that we have with God ourselves in our lives.
“When perhaps we have discovered the depth of God's mercy for us, the depth of His love for us – this is why then that we are able to make a response because we are overwhelmed by love, overwhelmed by the mercy of God,” he continued.
“It is for this reason that we say that we love God, we love God with our whole heart, with our whole spirit, and it is for this reason that we want to do something in order to further this kingdom of God.”
Bishop Sproxton went on to describe St Borromeo, who was born in a privileged family, with so much temptation surrounding him, instead chose to serve God’s people with the “spirit of grace and humility”.
“A lesson for each of us who have a ministry we are involved with in Church, is to study this man and understand that call of Jesus to us will demand humility,” Bishop Sproxton cited.
Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton encouraged those present at the Eucharist for Commissioning to live with humility, with a sense of service, and to be focussed on the people ‘we’ are sent to serve, not upon ourselves, on 4 November at St Michael the Archangel Chapel. Photo: Amanda Murthy.
“The way in which we live with humility, with a sense of service, we are focused on the people we are sent to serve, not upon ourselves.”
“So we ask God to send His spirit upon us and help us in the various ways that we serve Christ in the Archdiocese of Perth, I congratulate all of you who are being commissioned tonight and I encourage those who are on their way to being fully accredited as catechists. I thank God for you. It is good to see a younger generation of people as well.”
At the conclusion of Mass, CEWA Catechist Service Team Leader Dr Pina Ford thanked all who contributed to the initial formation of the catechist’s formation course, and all who had made the day’s celebration possible.
“The Eucharist for Commissioning Catechists and give thanks for their service has been a yearly event for over 30 years,” Dr Ford said.
“It is satisfying to think that even in this year when a pandemic has altered our practices, it could still be celebrated, and in such a beautiful and joyful way. Just as inspiring is knowing that the faith and commitment of Catechists shone even more brightly in the uncertainties of this this year.
“They persevered through the changes in their parishes, especially those connected with the preparation and celebration of the sacraments, and through the different ways of delivering formation, including the challenge of online delivery. Nonetheless 52 catechists completed their training and were commissioned – more than in any previous year,” she concluded.