Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Working with catechists

This month we’ll be training the catechists in the Dulce Nombre parish on how to use the material to prepare parents and godparents for the baptism of infants and children under seven.

Up till this point, parents who wanted their children baptized had to be in base communities. The parish is still promoting base communities, but is opening up baptism to all families who want their children baptized. this doesn’t mean merely dispensing sacraments; the parents and god-parents will have to participate in five sessions and a short retreat.

I prepared the material and Padre German and I reviewed it – correcting my errors in Spanish.

The material is participative, with several questions for the participants. This is a change since many people here are accustomed to receiving or giving  charlas –talks – where one person talks and everyone else listens.

Padre German and I will be doing the training sessions in four places in the parish.

He couldn’t make the first one yesterday because of a clergy meeting and so I did it solo in the village of Agua Buena Concepción.

I arrived just in time and found 24 catechists ready to begin. After personal introductions, a song, and a prayer, we went outside the church where we met and I ask them to line up according to age, without speaking. It sort of worked, but what I found encouraging was that about half of those present were under thirty, including two fourteen year olds. (I was NOT the oldest participant, though.)

I began by walking through the rite of baptism – with “parents” and “godparents,” using a statue of the baby Jesus for the infant.

Then we worked on the material together.

I think it went well and I know they were appreciative of the different methodology. I just hope that they get used to using a participative approach.

The only major problem we had was the rain.  Usually during this time of the year it only rains late in the day, but yesterday heavy rain storms started in the late morning. In the tin-roofed church it was hard to hear and I had to shout to make myself heard.

I planned to finish at 1:30 but they had so many questions about the new policies that Padre German has for the parish that we didn’t leave until 2:30. It was great to experience their openness about the past and about the new policies. I'm hopeful.

I made it back to Santa Rosa about 4 o’clock but went straight to the mechanic, since there was a strange noise coming from the right front tire. I even stopped once since I thought I might have a flat tire. It ends up that they’ll have to install a new “bomba de frenos,” a brake pump, which they might have to send for from San Pedro.

Ah, the “fun” of a twenty-year old pick up which navigates terrible roads.

I fee very good about our workshop and I’m looking forward to others.

I even got to hold a super-friendly baby during the workshop, while her mother worked in a small group or ate lunch.

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