By Agnes Chai
KOTA KINABALU — As wonderful as Zoom, Facebook Live, Google Meet and texting are, they cannot facilitate the kind of interactions necessary to provide good catechesis to our children.
The closing of the Church imposed by the coronavirus lockdown, though tragic and unprecedented, has provided a massive chance for the Church to leap into the information age.
Kudos to the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Sunday School catechists/teachers, who together with the support of parents and guardians have not flinched from daunting challenges to pioneer new and effective technology based catecheses for the ongoing faith formation program.
Challenges encountered by almost all groups ranged from line connectivity, glitches, lesser opportunities to interact, distraction from the comfortable home surroundings and from younger siblings around, needing more focus to adapt from classroom to online environment, getting tired and losing focus easily, to the inability to be disciplined.
However, many parents have acknowledged the silver lining in home Sunday schooling when they cut down on the hassle to rush and commute the children to their class. They also realized that the pandemic has inadvertently provided for them to be able to journey in the faith with their children by learning together.
It is indeed a boon for the teachers when parents were able to participate fully in the faith formation of their children. Family catechesis involves parents as the primary educators in the faith and provides opportunities for them to catechize their children directly.
On the bright side, teachers are happy to know that students value the person-to-person interaction to ensure quality sharing of information and knowledge on Faith, etc; and that they actually value the classroom ambience over other environment.
Meanwhile, both teachers and parents realized the importance of information technology and the need to play their role in being knowledgeable and updated, while accepting teaching and learning online as a new norm not only in the Catechetical Ministry but in their life as a whole.
Even though the Church is preparing to reopen with restrictions, it is uncertain what reality will look like as part of “a new normal”. Ministry leaders need to consider what changes they need to make to their ministry workflows and be prepared to throw out the old norms of ministry and to embrace new methods moving forward.