Cathecathical Association

The St. Sebastian Cathecatical association was started with the aim of teaching the children of Aquem the word of God, more about their religion ,imbruing in them morales and values and a sense of pride in their Parish. And, as such, there are various groups that cater to different ages- from the pre-communion groups for tiny tots to the junior youth group for young teens.
But don’t get the idea that it is all class and no play. During the year there are various activities that showcase the myriad talents of the youngsters. Annually, during the mid-term break (Oct – Nov), there are competitions to celebrate ‘Children’s day’, drawing competition, poster competitions, prayer, dance competition are held and the children are encouraged to participate whole–heartedly. The annual picnic is also held during this period.
During the Advent season, there are card and star competitions. The young ones get together for the week long X-Mass program and enthusiastically join in the singing , dancing, fancy–dress, sports day.
Another regular feature of the Christmas celebrations is the distribution of gifts to the poor children. Catechism students are given a secret Christ friend and are told to pray for her/him. On the Sunday before the 25th of December they are told to reveal themselves to their Christ friend and exchange gifts with her/Him. There is also a practical gift that is collected and then given to the poor children of a previously selected area on the sports Day. A few games are also organized for the poor children.
Students are made aware that while it is the season to be jolly , there are many who don’t have much to laugh about. They are taken to visit the aged, the sick, the orphaned and the dying – to sing carols, distribute goodies and bring good cheer.
At the end of the cathecatical year, students display all they have learnt and achieved at a special programme for their parents. Also included is a prize–distribution wherein those students with well – kept books, regular attendance and good all–around performance are rewarded for their efforts . Parents, who have seen to the regular attendance of their charges, also share in the lime-light and are rewarded. This end-of-year celebration is also one in which winners of the various all-year activities are made to shine and after the students and parents are applauded, it is time to cheer the efforts of the catechists who have worked tirelessly though out the year for the betterment of each and every student.
While the spiritual tutoring of the students is taken care of by the catechists, what about their own training?
The catechists are sent for retreats and given talks; that every year a few are chosen to be specially trained as catechists at Pastoral Institute old Goa ; and they themselves go to interact with catechists from different parts of Goa – for seminars and other spiritual training.
It is the catechist who sees that every child shines her/his light to the world and does not hide it under the bushel. Every chance is given to a child to participate in the Mass, especially if it is organized by their own Group. Some children are trained to do the various reading, others form the choir and are taught the hymns to be sung, while still others are sent for offertory. No child is left unheeded. And if there are students who do not get a chance for this mass, they will definitely be given a chance the next time around.
But getting up in front of a crowd to sing or read is not for all children. There are others activities in which they are encouraged to shine – drawing competitions, poster competitions behind the scene preparations, etc are often where they excel. No one is kept back for lack of trying. Often they have to be cajoled, flattered or even forced to participate and if that what it takes to get students to come out of their shells, then that’s what the catechist do.
And while the students get the chance to display their talents, it is the teachers who get the satisfaction at the end of the day, of a job well done.