Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, Episcopal President of Malaysian Catechetical Commission
Jan 5 2021
Dear Rev Frs, Rev Deacons, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
THE Church in Malaysia celebrates Catechetical Sunday on 31st January 2021. The celebration this year will be different from ones in the past, as we continue to face the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. Certainly, the manner by which we celebrate the Eucharist or carry out parish activities and events, has been ordered by the requirements of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), to safeguard the health and well-being of parishioners. Parish programs and events are now mainly held via social media and other online means.
However, regardless of how much parish life – as we know it – has been affected, whatever the circumstances or challenges, the mission of the parish must to continue. Therefore, it may prove beneficial to ask ourselves: “How are we responding as a community of believers in the face of Covid-19?” “How creative and effective have we been in reaching out to the poor, sick, lonely, and the vulnerable?” “Have we adapted to the norms of the digital age, and learnt new methods of online communication to reach out lovingly to others?” The Covid-19 pandemic brings forth new challenges, but also opportunities for us to live and carry out the mission of Christ as members of the parish community.
The Catechetical Sunday message for 2021, highlights the importance of belonging to a parish community, and how each of us, as part of the community, can respond as an agent of Faith, Hope and Love, especially within our present circumstances. I earnestly encourage you to read the message and to discern as to what the Lord is saying to you during this time. The message is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, Chinese and Iban languages.
At the same time, I encourage you, together with your parish priest, to discover new ways to celebrate Catechetical Sunday in 2021 as a parish community. Regardless of the circumstances, it is a special day dedicated to remembering and recommitting ourselves to our roles and responsibilities in the task of catechesis; Be it as clergy, religious, catechists, parents, learners or as a parish community at large.
I pray that our parish priests, together with parents and catechists, will discover creative and effective ways of handing down the faith to our children. We must give Jesus to our youth so that they will know Him and be possessed by Him.
To all catechists, I express my gratitude for your dedication in continuing your ministry in the face of numerous challenges, and for willing to adapt and learn new knowledge and skills to impart the faith to our learners via online methods. To catechists who are still struggling to adapt to new ways of teaching, I encourage you not to give up, but to persevere in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills. Let us turn to the Holy Spirit for His guidance and help.
To all parents, I thank you for faithfully fulfilling your responsibilities by having your children attend catechism sessions, despite the various difficulties that come with online learning. It is essential for parents to ensure that their children continue to receive proper and regular education in the faith, especially during these times.
Finally, to all children and young people, never stop learning about God and your Catholic faith. Take the opportunity to participate actively and regularly in the classes conducted by your catechists. God loves you and wants to reveal Himself to you during these classes.
Wishing you a Blessed Catechetical Sunday 2021.
With warmest regards,