Colombo (AsiaNews) - Teaching catechism "is a gift of God. It is also a commitment to create good people in society. It is a service undertaken with pleasure, not work, that leads all catechists to personal growth. Today in Sri Lanka this service is needed more than ever”. This is according to the country's Catholic catechists, who celebrated National Day of the catechism on September 27th.
Erampa Fernando, Chaminda Costa and Sajith Perera, teachers at the Daham Wewala Pasala (Sunday school) of the Archdiocese of Colombo, told AsiaNews: "It is a gift from God to serve as catechists for children, because the foundation of the catechism has enormous value and meaning ".
Erampa Fernando, school principal, explains the importance of the work of catechists, who must be the first "living witnesses" of the word of God. "The catechism - the woman says - is a unique opportunity to introduce God into the life of a person, to speak of Jesus to others. When we 'teach' God's people, we must be the first faithful and live according to his teaching. Because we cannot witness to others that which is not in us. Otherwise we'd be lying to God and to ourselves and deceive even innocent children. "
Chaminda Costa, a teacher at the same school, agrees: "If I do not put it into practice at home what I teach to children in Sunday school, I cannot speak according to my conscience." For example, the man emphasizes, "if I do not pray, or do not pray the Rosary every day at home with my wife and my children, how can I tell the children to pray the Rosary every evening with their families?".
Fr. Jayashantha Perera of the National Seminary, agrees and during Sunday Mass said: "Catechism is presenting Jesus to others. So your every word, gesture, behavior, should not break or destroy the faith of others. You must not make others sinners and your lives should be consecrated without the divisions of race, caste, religion. " The priest then told how a child who once disdained teaching, is now an esteemed educator. He also won the "Regional wise good Teacher" for 2014.
According to Erampa, who has taught for 17 years, the role of catechists is a core value in contemporary society of Sri Lanka, where "every day we hear news of the killing of innocent children, sexual abuse against them, sometimes perpetrated by parents, relatives, or neighbors. " Unfortunately, "we cannot expect much from the schools. So we must put greater attention during Sunday school. As catechists we have a great responsibility to guide and protect the children of our country”.
Finally, Sajith Rukshan Perera, another teacher of 25 years, concludes: "We are truly grateful to God for choosing us as catechists in our parish. We are very proud of the work we do. "