Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Don Bosco was acutely aware that God called him a for unique mission on behalf of the poor young people. God had bestowed singular gifts upon Don Bosco and was asking him to dedicate himself entirely to the young; “I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys.” (C 1). This mission to which the Lord had called him is characterized by its focus on the young, especially the poorest of them (C 26)… “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life.” (C 14). But together with his field of work Don Bosco sensed the unique purpose of his mission: to reveal to the poor youngsters the love of God. He also discerned the motivational principles underlying a style of ministry suited to this end: the approach of the Good Shepherd. Don Bosco’s whole life was a strongly unified life project: “He took no step, he said no word, he took up no task that was not directed to the saving of the young.”(C 21).
The Tiruchy Province has opted for the young who are socially and economically poor as the target group. For the holistic development of the young in the province, youth ministry is carried out with the support of the commissions and departments having four dimensions (Education & culture, Evangelization & catechesis, Groups and Movements and Vocational guidance) at the base. These dimensions are the animating bodies in the province under the Provincial and Youth Pastoral Delegate.
The Dimension of Evangelization and Catechesis
1. Evangelizing the young is the first fundamental goal of the Salesian Mission. The project is radically open and positively oriented to the full maturity of the young in Christ C 31) and to their growth in the Church. Spiritual formation is the very heart of personal development (GC 23, n.160). we assist and foster human growth by providing an itinerary of evangelization and education in the faith (GC 23, n.102-111).
2. Evangelization is a complex process involving diverse elements but the central element of evangelization is the explicit proclamation of Jesus Christ as our only saviour (EN 24). To evangelize is to proclaim the good news of Christ in every area of society, so that we might transform society from within (EN 18).
3. Constant accompaniment through education to faith at different levels directs the young towards an encounter with Jesus Christ. The ultimate goal of integrated catechesis is a synthesis of faith and culture in life.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Role of the Director
- The director is appointed by the provincial.
- He represents Christodayam in all legal matters concerning it.
- He is in charge of the Education to Faith dimension in the province.
- He, with the help of the experts animates the province and the local communities through faith formative programmes.
- He ordinarily animates province level liturgical celebrations like Ordination, Profession, Funeral, Anniversary of deceased Salesians…etc., at the request of the Vice Provincial.
- He plans, executes and evaluates the activities of the department in collaboration with the regional directors and members of the department.
- He is responsible for the maintenance of the office and its assets.
- He maintains the Christodayam magazine and the blog through which faith formative materials are distributed.
- He mobilizes the resources for the department activities.
- He submits the monthly programme, periodical reports and accounts to the provincial, Vice Provincial, Youth pastoral delegate and the provincial economer.
The Role of the Assistant Director
- The assistant Director is a Salesian appointed by the provincial
- He will assist the Director and collaborate with him.
- He is responsible for the functioning of Christodayam in the absence of the Director.
- The assistant director is normally the regional director of Tiruchy region.
The Role of the Regional Director (RD)
- The RD is a Salesian agreed to take up the responsibility at the request of the Director in consultation with the Youth Pastoral Delegate.
- The RD works in collaboration with the Director. He coordinates all the faith formative activities of the respective region.
The Regional Coordinator (RC)
- The RC is a lay person appointed by the Director in consultation with the respective RD.
- The RC is responsible with regard to the arrangement for the seminars and trainings conducted in the regional level.
- He is in touch with the RD to get to know the spiritual needs of the faithful especially the young.
- He does this service on a voluntary and part time basis without any claim of remuneration.
- PC is either a Salesian or a lay person (Usually a Sunday Catechism teacher) who acts as a link between the department and the faithful under the care of the local community.
- S/He does this service on a voluntary and part time basis without any claim of remuneration.
- S/He coordinates all the activities at the local level, networking with the RD.
VISION STATEMENT OF CHRISTODAYAM
We strive to serve the dimension of ‘Education to FAITH’ primarily in the Salesian Province of Tiruchy by deepening, strengthening, and nurturing the faith as a basic conviction, instilling the Gospel life style with social experience therefore to attain the fullness of life in the hearts of the faithful especially the young.
MISSION STATEMENT OF CHRISTODAYAM
Christodayam is committed to proclaim good news to the whole creation especially the young people through animations, publications, and celebrations and thus making everyone Christ’s faithful followers. Through systematic and structured catechetical programmes to children, youth and adults the centre paves way towards creating a believing, celebrating, living, praying and witnessing community for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
OBJECTIVES OF CHRISTODAYAM
- To guide the children, youth and adults to deepen, strengthen and to nurture their intimacy, communion and personal relationship with Jesus Christ to be a better human being to create a better world.
- To promote knowledge of faith by developing a structured religious education program centered on Christ.
- To inspire young to live a life of witness in their own families knowing and living the TRUTH.
- To impart a missionary spirit to go beyond their comfortable existence and a sense of commitment to create a just society rooted in the Tamil culture.
- To make the faithful care for the creation, experiencing the divine in all the created.
AIMS OF CHRISTODAYAM
The centre aims
- To make an impact of Catechesis through cultural forms and arts of Tamil Nadu.
- To promote Bible study groups.
- To promote a spirit of community among various groups.
- To form animators of various pious groups and associations of the parishes.
- To present Creed, Sacraments, Morals and Prayer in a joyful and experiential way.
- To offer prayer experience through personalized way.
- To help the faithful to convert the Knowledge of catechism into praxis.
- To enable the participants to be morally sound and spiritually satisfying and pastorally relevant.
- To guide the participants to integrate catechesis with human experience, inevitable questions on life, problems of day-to-day life, their aspirations and their search.
- To Collaborate and coordinate the Catechetical activities among the Salesian presences in Tiruchy Province, Indian Salesian provinces and the dioceses of Southern Tamil Nadu.
- To establish contacts with national, state and diocesan Catechetical Centers
- To spread the relevance of Ecological catechesis.
- To produce Audio-Visual Aids on Catechesis.
METHODOLOGY OF CHRISTODAYAM
Methodology of Christodayam is Anthropological approach or Human Approach or Incarnational approach i.e., the message of Jesus Christ is effectively handed down with human approach. The following aspects are the content of this approach: Evocation of Human Experience, Interpretation of Human Experience, Interpretation in the Light of the Word of God, Rediscovery of the Problem in the Light of God’s Word and Application to Life.
FUNCTION OF CHRISTODAYAM
Christodayam (A Don Bosco Centre for the Integral Faith Formation) aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church’s Tradition. Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium (CT, 18). The department of Christodayam also stands for coordinating all the activities of faith formation of the children, youth, adults in the Salesian Province of Tiruchy and Southern Tamil Nadu. This department is headed by the director and assisted by a team of priests and lay people. The full-time director coordinates the all the activities of faith formation of the children, youth, adults and offers an organic, systematic, relevant and well-designed faith formative programmes with an obligation to initiate the faithful into the fullness of Christian Life.
Director : Fr. Jeyan Joseph M.Th (Catechetics)
Commission : Fr. John Bosco, Fr. Samuel
In a nutshell, the Christodayam Catechetical Centre is like a flame, holding out its light to all who are disposed to follow the way of life of living their faith meaningfully and convincingly so as to become living witnesses to the Person of Christ. The primary aim of the centre is to make Jesus Christ known, loved, lived and proclaimed with an unfailing commitment and fidelity to the building of the Kingdom of God.
LOGO OF CHRISTODAYAM
- Christodayam: Christ +Today+AM. Christ says today that I am who am.
- A centre that coordinates all the activities for the integral faith formation.
- The circle symbolizes the world to which the message of the Gospel is to be taken (Mk. 16:15)
- The rising Sun is Jesus Christ who is the centre and foundation of catechizing initiatives (Lk. 1:79)
- The flames represent the presence of the Holy Spirit that illumines everything.
- The Cross is not a symbol of worship alone, rather a way to salvation and to maturity in faith. It also represents that faith is a journey to walk and not a destination to arrive. It reveals the embracing nature of the love and compassion of Christ on the Cross.
- The Word of God is that which guides and inspires the journey.
- The Colours: Blue = Universality; Red= Radicality of Christian discipleship; Orange: Endurance of all these virtues is essential to be an authentic disciple of the Lord.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CENTER
Initiatives of catechetical animation of the province were started in the year 2008 by Rev. Fr. Amalraj Susai SDB the then Provincial with the help of Fr. George Chinnappan, SDB. The Provincial Chapter of 2010 decided to have a Centre for this noble purpose and to set a Salesian aside as a full-timer for the work of coordinating and animating the Evangelization and Catechetical ministry in the Salesian Province of Tiruchirapalli. The Centre was born in 2011 and Fr. George Chinnappan SDB, was appointed as its part time Director initially. He was the director of the centre till 2017 till he was appointed as the secretary, Catechetical Commission, TNBCLC, Tindivanam.
The Centre had a very humble beginning with limited faith formative programmes which were planned with utmost commitment and executed with fidelity and enthusiasm. Then Fr. John Baptist SDB was in charge of the centre from 2017-2019. He did his best in the field in the animations and preaching retreats. Fr. Jeyan Joseph was appointed as its third director in 2019. The year began well with so many activities, animations, publications but due to Corona pandemic everything came to a standstill in March 2020. From then on the activities of the department took an alternative path to go online in its organization.
Now the Centre is growing rapidly and systematically spreading its faith activities to wider range, with faith animation programmes, Publications and Productions. With the assistance of a dedicated team of provincial commission for Evangelization and Catechesis, the Centre is growing by leaps and bounds.
Regular Activities of the Centre
From its very beginning, the faith formative programmes have been the main focus of the Centre. Catechetical Programmes to this effect are conducted at various levels. The priority of the Centre is to mainly offer Catholic formation through Catechetical Leadership Training programmes for the leaders such as Catechism Teachers, animators of Small Christian Communites, Parish council, Pious associations, School staff and students, College staff and students, parish youth, parish teen groups, minor seminarians and major seminarians, priests and religious. This notable faith formative programme has been successfully and consistently carried out by the Centre. The Centre is deeply committed to the authentic spiritual and human formation of the SCC Leaders and Catechism teachers.
1. Child Catechesis
- Sunday Catechism and School Catechism
2. Pre-adolescent Catechesis
- Alter-servers Training programme
3. Adolescent Catechesis (10th, 11th 12thStd Students of Schools and ITIs.)
- Annual Retreats
- Monthly Recollections & Confessions
- First Friday Masses
- Pious groups in the schools
4. Youth Catechesis
- Youth Charismatic Convention
- Youth Christian Leadership Training Programme
- Youth and You Cat
- Youth Pilgrimage
- Youth Retreataiment
5. Adult Catechesis
- Catholic Teachers Basic Training
- Rural Catechists Basic Training
- Anbiam Animtors Renewal Programme
- Pious Group Animators Renewal Programme
- Married Couples Renewal Programme
6. Special Faith Formative Training Programmes for Young Salesians
- Basic Training in Practical Youth Catechesis
- Certificate Course in Youth Ministry
- Course on Spiritual Direction
- Christian & Salesian Leadership Training Programme
- Basic Training in Liturgical Animation
7. Catechetical Renewal Programmes for Religious
- Certificate course on Basic Training in Catechesis for religious
- Perpetual Preparation Course
- Religious Leadership Training Programme.
- Certificate Course on Spiritual Direction
- Basic Training in Liturgical Animation
- Annual Renewal Retreats
8. Catechetical Renewal Programme at the Diocesan Level
- Certificate Course for the Catechism Teachers
- Catechetical Leadership Training Programme for the Animators of SCCs and various Pious Groups and Associations
- Formation of Lay Catechists
- Holy Family Day Celebrations
- Gospel Choir
REGULAR CATECHETICAL PROGRAMMES
1.CTBT: Catechism Teachers Basic Training
CTBT is a three months course programme conducted every month in Tamil for the School and Parish Catechism teachers in the Salesian Province of Tiruchy. The Course focuses on Spiritual, Sacramental, Biblical, Doctrinal, Liturgical, Psychological, Theological, Moral, Social and Human formation of the catechism teachers, in short it aims at the Holistic formation of the Catechism Teachers. This is done through a series of seminars, with the knowledge and skills necessary to become professional teachers in catechism. This has been carried out for the past 3 years (2010-2013). After completing the course, the teachers are given “Certificate of Participation” from the Centre in collaboration with TNBCLC (Tamil Nadu Biblical, Catechetical, Liturgical Centre and so far 150 catechism teachers have profited from Southern Tamil Nadu.
2.ALBT: Anbiam Leaders Basic Training
ALBT is a three months course conducted every month in Tamil for the animators of Small Christian Communities in parishes. This Certificate Course aims at training the animators of Anbiams so that they can effectively catechize and lead the members of the Small Christian Communities effectively. The animators of SCC are given Biblical, Sacramental, Moral, Doctrinal, Liturgical, Psychological, Social Formation, Christian Leadership and Communication Skills. The Holistic formation of the animators of SCC. This is a three credit course with 36 hours of compulsory classes, spread over the period of three months duration. The course is usually conducted on two Sundays of every month. The seventh Sunday would be the day of the Convocation.
3.UCBT: Untrained Catechist Basic Training
Another important venture of the Centre is to equip untrained Catechists. The parishes of Southern Tamil Nadu have number of rural sub-stations where the animators are the untrained catechists who hardly know anything except knowing some prayers, therefore the Centre has taken a special commitment in identifying these untrained catechists and training them to be knowledgeable catechists if not the professional ones. There is so much of positive response for this course. This is a residential course organized for three full days. Even illiterate Catechists attend the course and benefit. This is done every year with lots of eagerness and commitment.
4.YLBT: Youth Leadership Basic Training
One of the primary target groups of the Christodayam Catechetical Centre is the youth of the Province. The Christian Leadership training programme focuses on guiding them to learn Leadership qualities from the Holy Bible. The topics for the youth leadership training are: The Need for Leadership, The Requirements for Leaders, Identifying Leadership Gifts, The Biblical Character for Leadership, The Attitude of Leaders, Understanding the Scriptures, Old Testament Context, Philosophy of Christian leadership, The Four Cs Of Christian Leadership, Characteristics of a Christian Leader, Traits of effective Christian leader, Leadership qualities of Don Bosco, Practical skills in Christian leadership and the need for Servant leadership.
5.VEBT: Value Education Basic Training
This Catechetical programme targets Non Catholic students and the staff. It focuses on Spiritual, Psychological, Moral and Social formation of the participants. Values and value system of the individual and the society are inevitable to create a peaceful and an egalitarian society. This course is done through case-studies with anthropological approach. Personal Values, Social Values and Good Manners are the base in this course. It is conducted in zones.
6.ASBT: Altar- Servers Basic Training
The Convention of the Altar servers is a customary spiritual event of the Christodayam department which aims at the spiritual formation of the Altar Servers through group experience. It is a special attempt to instill in them the knowledge of Catechism of the Catholic Church in attractive ways like Worshipping, Praying, Praising, Dancing, Acting, Playing, Singing, Drawing, Listening and Writing. The theme of the Altar- Servers is to help them to be with Him and to serve Him willingly. The objectives of the training is to give them the value of the group experience and to help them to understand, learn and interiorize the Catechism of the Catholic Church faster and better through group activities. It is also to offer them the opportunity to discern their vocation and to help them to understand and practice their duties and responsibilities as effective altar servers. Finally it is to help them to strengthen the altar servers units in the parishes with clear model annual plans. This is usually conducted in Don Bosco ITI in the month of February.
Music Ministry is organized in two occasions of the year: Advent and lent. Christmas Catechetical Concert is an Orchestra consists of 8 Trained Salesian professional musicians whose goal is to catechize the faithful in three Salesian parishes through Popular Devotional songs on Christmas. There will be six Gospel preaching for 10 minutes by Salesians followed by the popular devotional songs. This initiative of Christodayam aims at helping the faithful to understand the original meaning, significance, importance and obligatory nature of Christmas. The purpose of this programme is to make a qualitative difference in their Christian living. The methods of catechizing are: music, preaching, videos, handing over leaflets and Confession. The content of the Christmas Concert is: What is Christmas? Why is Christmas? For whom is Christmas. During the lent, the Lenten music ministry is formed with trained Salesian professional musicians who will be catechizing the youth of the province through music ministry with three important topics: Sin, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness. We also give a basic training for children in summer and other suitable time to play instruments.
8.LTBT: Leadership training Basic Training for School & College Staff
The Christodayam department is always willing to visit many schools and colleges targeting the students and the staff helping them to identify themselves as leaders. Personality development, self- knowledge, self- esteem, self, self image honesty, integrity, team work and sacrifice, are the main topics of the leadership training programme.
The Centre has been publishing catechetical and value-based books every year, which is much appreciated and keenly looked for as resource materials. The Centre has brought out 10 books so far. Our latest publications is: ANBIAM ORU IRAI ARASU PANIYAGE(SCC is a service towards the Kingdom of God) which is a manual for the Animators of SCCs. ILAYA YESU (Young Jesus) is a Manuel for the animators of Youth catechesis.
Our Centre has been regularly coming out with Audio Productions of devotional songs. The Centre has 13 audio productions to its credit. The recent production is a DVD on the children Bible. Most of the catechetical productions, publications are done with the collaboration of Alaihal Media.
CATECHETICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMMES
Catechetical Research Programmes aims at the faith renewal of the Church of Tamil Nadu through the qualitative and practical catechetical research programmes. Research programme is a state level symposium on Catechetical theme such as: The Contemporary Challenges of Youth Catechesis in Tamil Nadu. It is conducted once in two years and 6 speakers with 6 moderators will be presenting papers and participants will interact with them. And outcome of symposium is a practical relevant set of pastoral guidelines.
SPECIAL CATECHETICAL PROGRAMMES
1.Kalai vazhi Maraikalvi (Catechesis through Traditional Arts)
Kalai vazhi Maraikalvi is a special attempt to present Jesus Christ through traditional Arts of Tamil Nadu. These attractive ways produce an unforgettable experience for the participants. This creative effort has only one clear objective that is to create an impact in their Christian life thus making a necessary and qualitative difference in their daily living. Catechesis through Arts consists of the following creative ministries: Gospel Choir, Gospel Dance, Gospel Plays, Bible Debates, Gospel Games, Gospel Songs, Bible Stories, Bible Case- Studies.
2.Alai vazhi Maraikalvi (Catechesis through Mass Media)
Catechesis through Mass Media is an inevitable aspect of Christian living. Catechesis is understood faster and better through media. Therefore it would be a sin on our part if we don’t make use of the right use of the media in spreading the Good News to the people. This course aims at helping people to first of all understand the positive and negative aspects of Media and the ways and means with which we impart Jesus Christ. The course consists of the following aspects: Catechesis through Short movies, Catechesis through face-book, Catechesis through What’s App, Catechesis through Bible SMS, Bible Animation Movies and Cartoons for Children. Catechesis through Twitter, Catechesis through Internet, Website for Christodayam, Power Point Programmes on Papal Documents and Salesian Documents and Christodayam Magazine.
3.Thiru Avai Vazhi Maraikalvi (Catechesis through The Teachings of the Church)
Catechesis through the Teachings of the Church is an obligatory course for the participants which aims at Spiritual, Psychological, Social, Pastoral, Sacramental, Doctrinal, Biblical, Liturgical Catechetical, Theological, Moral, and Human formation of the Participants. In short this Course is both inevitable and obligatory in nature. It is integral faith formation for the faith renewal of the participants.
Activities of 2022-2023 (Planned and executed)
- 2 Certificate courses (6 days) for the catechism teachers, 3 (3 days) Catechetical Leadership courses for the BCC leaders and 10 weekend workshops for children and youth based on Eco-catechism. (Already completed)
- A handbook of Prayers, adorations, novenas, rosary and prayer services on Salesian saints and environmental days both in Tamil and English. (The English manual is getting ready) Tamil (Vaanga Kondaduvom) is already released.
- A Basic Prayer Book in Tamil (Kudumba Jeba Kaiyedu) at the request of the Parish Commission is to be distributed. (Already printed)
- Ilaya Yesu a catechism book for teens and youth in two parts is to be printed. (Already Printed)
- Various prayer cards that are in day to day usage is to be printed in new Tamil translation. (Already printed)
- Ecological Catechism Book (Suzhaliyal Maraikalvi) to be printed for youth. (Already printed)
- Altar Servers Convention
- Domestic Staff Retreat
- Zonal level Catechism teachers animation.
Annual plan for the upcoming year (2023-24)
- Regular Province, Zonal level Animations of Catechism teachers, Altar Servers.
- Catechists’ Congress(Village catechists, Koil pillai, catechism teachers and other lay faith formators) to be organized at the province level.
- Sunday Catechism Plan for all catechism teachers of salesian parishes is To be prepared
- Weekly plan for conducting the prayer of the Church is ready to be printed.
- Catechetical Manual for Children & Altar Servers is to be prepared.
- Survey of the faith formation in the province (Silver Jubilee initiative)
- Salesian Material for Youth
- Experience of the Salesian veterans INT & INM
- Manual based on Jubilee themes for the Salesians is to be prepared.
- Christodayam – Catechetical Emagazine is to be updated and released every month.
List of activities carried out
- Animations for various groups on Church Documents, Salesian Themes and General Topics.
- Organization of Children, Youth and Adults in our settings in faith formation.
- Classes on Evangelization and Catechesis
- Retreats and Recollection Preaching
- Publication of Catechetical materials/ Magazines
- Use of Mass media in Education to Faith.
- Province Level liturgical Celebrations.
Creative contribution and Publications
- Holy Eucharist was telecasted live through DB media YouTube channel.
- The need to care for the environment through ‘ Pirapokkum Ella Uyirkkum’ series was uploaded in Alaigal Media YouTube channel during the Year of Laudato Si.
- Weekly liturgy materials and Prayer aids for various feasts and important days are sent through Whatsapp.
- Annaiyai Arivom, a web series on Mother Mary was telecasted in May 2020.
- Publications –being the Year of Youth in Tamilnadu a Book on holistic formation of the young (Enakku Naane Raja) was Published through Alaigal Media.
- Christodayam – Monthly E-Magazine for faith formation.
FR. JEYAN JOSEPH SDB