ASIA/CHINA - "Year of Catechism" in the Diocese of Xiamen: doctrine and sacraments preserve the faith of those who follow Jesus

Thursday, 7 March 2024 catechism   evangelization   mission   sacraments  

Xiamen (Agenzia Fides) - In Xiamen, in the Chinese province of Fujian, the “Year of the Catechism”, inaugurated by Bishop Joseph Cai Bingrui on May 1, 2023, the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, is coming to an end. The program, characterized by numerous initiatives aimed at groups of people of different ages and cultural backgrounds, has so far aroused great interest. Without wanting to draw premature conclusions, the first signs in the everyday life of the parishes confirm that the initiatives of the “Year of the Catechism” have helped to promote familiarity with the content of Catholic teaching and access to the sacraments among the baptized. Under the motto “Proclaiming the Good News of the Lord’s Salvation,” the “Year of the Catechism” began with the distribution of a Chinese translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to all participants in the opening service. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the large and rich official exposition of the entire Catholic catechesis and teaching, and the current version was compiled under the supervision of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and approved by Pope John Paul II in the 1990s (see Fides 5/5/2023). The Xiamen Diocese Commission for Pastoral Care and Evangelization decided to dedicate a special year to the catechism with the aim of walking together in the faith and also using the study of the catechism as a valuable opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. "Equipped with the catechism and strengthened by the Word of God, we respond to the command of the Lord Jesus to proclaim the good news of his salvation," emphasized the Bishop of Xiamen in the letter announcing the special year. During this special year, the study of the catechism was promoted in community meetings before and after Mass every Sunday in the cathedral. Every week, 10 points of the catechism were deepened, read, studied and in some passages even memorized. Every Thursday a catechism course for catechumens was held in each parish. Catechism meetings for young people were organized on Saturdays. Weekends were also organized to exchange experiences. The aim of the intensive program, launched last May, is to offer baptized Catholics more opportunities to deepen their understanding of the essential content of what the Church teaches and suggests to believers who want to walk with Jesus. The pastoral program implemented by each parish encourages everyone to participate in the liturgy and to receive the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession frequently. Spiritual exercises have been proposed for Advent and Lent to accompany everyone in their vocation "to respond to the command of the Lord Jesus, to proclaim the good news of his salvation", as Bishop Joseph Cai Bingrui recommended in the presentation letter for the Year of the Catechism. The community work around the catechism also benefited pastoral and charitable initiatives for older people and people in precarious circumstances. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 7/3/2024)