cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard ... ( Acts:
4, 20 )
What we have seen and heard we are telling you ... ( I John: 1, 3 )
I am involved in three different Catechetical Services, all attached somehow to our 'Residence Complex'.
One Group meets on Sunday Afternoons at our Center in Gad-el-Sid. This is primarily intended for children from the area of Gad-el-Sid itself. The Center itself grew out of the initial catechetical efforts of Br. Chamaoun s.j. However, the Center, though the property of the Jesuits, is not in fact a church, and those who attend, both children and catechists, have no clear affiliations. Some children who come to us, also go to other churches on other days, while others do not belong anywhere. Sometimes I give a slide show, with material they are unlikely to get from anywhere else. We open the center early, offering them various games with which to fill their time and enjoy themselves. Then they have the typical program, first the learning of religious hymns, then the lesson. The Catechists have their meeting after dismissing the children. But the Center also provides another, very positive, Religious contribution which may not always be available elsewhere: as many of these children are regulars at the Center, they actually receive a discreet but real formation in Christian values and principles through their participation in the Center's other activities.
Another group meets at our residence on Friday mornings. This group comes from two villages just outside of El Minia City, to the south: the villages of Garhy and Kidwan. We have to send transport for then every Friday. These children rarely go to church, as they don't have any in their villages. In one of these villages, most children don't even go to school because of the great distances. Religious ignorance is appalling in both villages. We provide a monthly Mass for them. Before we drive them back, we give these children, too, some time in which to play about in our playgrounds.
Finally I also fill in with some out-of-syllabus Catechism in our primary school. The idea here is to provide the students with religious background knowledge and education generally, alongside their official program, as well as to use various teaching methods to make class more lively and agreeable. The regular Religion teachers are present, and this gives them the opportunity to pick up new ideas. As I have complete liberty here, I try my best to give them what they can't get anywhere else, both in content and in method, using our Church for prayer sessions, the theatre for slide shows and the class itself for play-acting, Bible Reading, picture coloring and other activities.
The material needs in the Catechism Apostolate may not be as great as in other fields, but they are not negligible. As most Catechists are Volunteer University Students, we have to look for the necessary funding ourselves, as we cannot expect these volunteers to take on this burden. Expenses consist in the hiring of transport for childfren from far off villages, hand-outs in the form of Holy Pictures, sweets and other kinds of small encouragement gifts, various outings for the children and formation sesssions for the Catechists. Furthermore, there is always some equipment which has to be bought, repaired or renewed, such as projectors, films, syllabus books and games.
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