Dear parents and children,
“…he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.” Mk 6:34 Jesus himself was concerned that the flock should receive catechetical instruction.
Today, on the Baptism of the Lord, John the Baptist tries to dissuade Jesus from being baptized. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus prevails over John. ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him. (Mt 3: 13 – 15)
Indeed, the life of a young Catholic is centred around the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. I am sad to learn that some of our Sunday School children, while they attend the lesson, do not attend or participate in Holy Mass.
This is most unfortunate because much of their instruction in Sunday School is centred around the Holy Mass. Catechetical instruction would gravitate around the signs and symbols of the Liturgical Season. So, Sunday School teaches about Advent and Christmas, and it would be connected and reflected by what the church celebrates in the Masses throughout Advent and Christmas. The Church in its liturgy would celebrate and preach about the Advent Wreath, the lighting of the Advent Candles, the crib, the birth of Christ, the visit of the shepherds, the presence of the Angels, and the coming of the Magi, the wise men from the East.
Hence, the Church’s teaching (lex credendi) is articulated and made manifest in the celebration of the liturgy and prayer (lex orandi).
“Catechesis is nothing other than the process of transmitting the Gospel, as the Christian community has received it, understands it, celebrates it, lives it and communicates it in many ways.” (General Directory for Catechesis #105)
There is a deep connection between catechesis and the celebration of the Mass. The word catechesis comes from the Greek meaning “to echo the teaching” meaning that catechesis or the teaching of the faith is an interactive process in which the Word of God re-sounds between and among the proclaimer, the one receiving the message, and the Holy Spirit! Catechesis is a life-long process of initial conversion, formation, education, and on-going conversion. Through word, worship, service and community, it seeks to lead all God’s people to an ever-deepening relationship with God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the Hymn, “We Remember“, echoing the faith in remembrance, celebrating it at Mass, tells us how we should live out our faith.
“We remember how you loved us to your death,
And still, we celebrate for you are with us here.
We believe that we will see you,
When you come, in your glory, Lord.
We remember. We celebrate. We believe.”
One must come for Sunday School and participate at the Mass as well. Both are essential. One cannot come for one, and be absent in the other. This message goes out, especially to parents. You have to send your children to Sunday School AND ensure that they come for Mass as well.
I earnestly ask for your cooperation to this end.
Fr. Gregory Chan
Church of the Assumption
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Church of the Assumption
12.01.2020, Given on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord