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Pontifical Societies Approve Children´s New Faith Formation Program

Updated: July 30, 2006 05:00 PM GMT
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We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our family is the Church and children have a mission in the Church.

These are some of 41 topics included in a recently approved faith formation program for children belonging to the Pontifical Society of Children and Youth Missioners (SEKAMI, Indonesian acronym) in a region of eastern Indonesia.

The Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia´s pontifical mission aid societies (KKI, Indonesian acronym) approved this "module" (guideline or handbook) for its members aged 6-12 during a workshop held July 12-15 in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, 1,870 kilometers east of Jakarta.

SEKAMI, the Indonesian chapter of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, is one of the country´s four pontifical mission aid societies that try to promote a missionary spirit among Catholics. The other three are Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Pontifical Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.

SEKAMI, whose members range in age from four to 14, has been operating in Indonesia since the early 1970s.

Father Herman Yoseph Babey, the KKI director of Denpasar diocese, told UCA News, "The themes presented in the module are in line with those recommended by the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies in Rome." The priest, 39, expressed a hope that the module will fulfill the expectations of SEKAMI animators who often complain about the shortage of teaching materials.

The materials elaborate what it means to be a missionary as well as various aspects of Church, the Sacraments, the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit. The program is distinct from catechism classes regularly conducted in parishes.

Divine Word Father Patrisius Pa, KKI´s national director, and 23 KKI officials representing seven of the region´s eight dioceses took part in the workshop and drafted the program. Those officials oversee all four pontifical mission aid societies in Ende and Kupang archdioceses, as well as in Atambua, Denpasar, Larantuka, Ruteng and Weetebula dioceses. Newly established Maumere diocese, previously part of Ende archdiocese, did not send a KKI delegate.

Sister Dionisia Duka, Kupang´s KKI director, told UCA News: "The workshop followed up the KKI Nusa Tenggara regional meeting in Weetebula on Sumba Island last year." During the meeting in Weetebula, she said, "each diocese was assigned to work on" on various topics for the program.

Participants at the recent workshop authorized KKI Denpasar to do final editing of the module and to publish it as a guidebook for animators. Father Pa told UCA News on July 16, "We hope to have it published this October."

Faith formation for SEKAMI members is often conducted in parish churches as well as in "basic ecclesial communities" that have SEKAMI members. According to KKI, the Nusa Tenggara region presently has 8,000-9,000 SEKAMI members.

After the workshop´s closing Mass on July 16, 37-year-old Ana Angela L. Bini, a participant from Weetebula, told UCA News, "We discussed materials that are very hard and challenging, but we finally finished the module."

At a Mass celebrated on July 11, the day before the workshop began, Divine Word Father Yulius Bere, Kupang´s episcopal vicar, told the participants, "Your working meeting shows how our churches in Nusa Tenggara are paying great attention to the faith formation of our youngsters." In this way, he said, "we are responding to God´s call to proclaim the Gospel to all people."


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