JARO, Iloilo City, Oct. 20, 2013—Speaking of the challenges that catechists face in this era of new evangelization, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma reminded them to always work for the love of God and for the glory of God’s kingdom. 

Today’s catechists should always foster a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, to know Jesus by heart, to live a personal experience of the faith, said Palma during the 25th anniversary celebration of Western Visayas Regional Association of Catechetical Commissions, Training Institutes and Schools (WV-RACCTIS) on October 11. 

Palma said the catechist is called towards a constant conversion to holiness to get closer to God. 

He cited a consideration he brought up with some pilgrims during the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod wherein he told pilgrims that it would be a pity if we celebrate the canonization of the second Filipino Saint but if we ourselves do not strive for holiness. 

He further said that catechists should always keep in mind that it is the Holy Spirit who is working through them.  

Palma also recalled in his homily that WV-RACCTIS’ foundation 25 years ago took place during the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist in the Philippines 

Now, Palma said, we all look forward to the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress scheduled to be held from January 25 to 31 of that year in Cebu City.

WV-RACCTIS marked its 25th foundation anniversary with a 9 am Mass led by Archbishop Palma at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles in Jaro. 

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, newly-appointed Bishop of San Carlos, and priests representing the eight Western Visayas dioceses that belong to WV-RACCTIS concelebrated with Archbishop Palma. 

A new set of WV-RACCTIS officers led by Fr. Francis Ledesma of Bacolod Diocesan Commission on Catechesis, as its new Chairman were inducted after the Mass. 

The outstanding catechists of the West Visayas region were also given recognition floowing the induction ceremonies. 

The WV-RACCTIS is set to publish a historical souvenir book which will feature the catechetical realities in each of the parishes in the West Visayas Region. This historical book is expected to serve as a rich document for the Chanceries, seminaries, school libraries and catechetical centers of the region. 

In a circular issued for the event, Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo highlighted the significance of 2013 in view of the two important Church events that happened during the year. 

“For us in the Visayas region, the Year 2013 is doubly significant as we do not only celebrate the 25thanniversary of the collaborative inter-diocesan evangelization services of RACCTIS but also because of the newly-canonized Bisaya Catechist, St. Pedro Calungsod,” Lagdameo said. 

“May this celebrative event in the Year of Faith, in the catechetical life of Western Visayas as hosted in our Archdiocese become a renewing experience and joyous celebration of the Catechetical vocation,” the Jaro Archbishop added. 

The event concluded with an “Agape” and program at the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary hosted by the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ACCCE). 

Thousands of delegates coming from the eight Western Visayas dioceses of Jaro, Capiz, Aklan, Bacolod, San Carlos, Kabankalan, Romblon, and San Jose de Antique joined the celebration in Jaro. 

The event themed “WV-RACCTIS@25: Working in Faith and Mission”, was held during the occasion of the National Catechetical Month in Jaro. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)