Bogota (Agenzia Fides) – From 27 to 30 June, Villavicencio in Colombia will host the sixth national congress for catechists. Catechists from 54 dioceses will attend the Congress organised by the General Direction of the Parish School for Catechists (ESPAC) with the active collaboration of the diocese of Villavicencio which has arranged everything to accommodate about 1500 Catechists Group-Coordinators. ESPAC is a programme of formation at a distance aimed at forming in parishes under the guidance of the parish priests, catechists able to bear witness to the faith as pastoral workers specialised in evangelisation and mission. This being a programme of formation at a distance, the number of schools depends on the number of parishes taking part. Each school functions in the parish under the direction of the parish priest who reports to the Bishop of the diocese who, in turn, is represented at ESPAC by a diocesan delegate.
Thanks to the sound and serious doctrinal, pastoral and spiritual formation it offers to Catechists, in keeping with Chapter 4 of the General Directory for Catechesis, ESPAC is having great success: at present about 11.500 catechists are preparing after six six-month study periods to receive from their respective bishops the mandate of Catechist.
The national congress for catechists ESPAC in Colombia has become an inter-diocesan event unique for the large number of dioceses involved and also for the festive integration of Colombia’s different cultures. The sixth Congress will focus mainly on two themes. First to discern ways to respond to challenges posed today by the need for diversified catechesis in the ambit of the processes of new evangelisation and Christian initiation. Secondly to outline the profile and role of the ESPAC co-ordinator: identity, preparation and task as operator responsible for catechesis at the parish and diocesan level. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 26/6/2003; lines 23, Parole 306).