Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Faith Formation of the people of God is one of the basic ministries of the Catholic Church. The basic objective of the catechetical ministry or faith formation is to help the members of the Church to personalize the faith of the Church and to help them become real desciples of Christ and active members of the Church.
The history of the Syro Malabar Catechism:
The catechetical heritage of the Syro-Malabar Church is as old as this Church itself. As was the case with all other Churches, among the St. Thomas Christians also there existed a system of catechesis by which faith was handed down from generation to generation. However there is no comprehensive and chronological exposition of the history of catechesis of the Syro-Malabar Church. Hence, many things have to be traced from the historical documents and living traditions of the Church.
After the Second Vatican Council, there took place radical developments in the field of catechesis. From 1968 to 1999, the KCBC was in charge of the Catechism for the Kerala Catholic Church. Although this system of common catechism for all the three Churches contributed in some way to foster unity among the Catholic Churches in Kerala, one serious drawback of this catechetical series was that it could not pay sufficient attention to the particular characteristics and traditions of the individual Churches. In between, a catechetical series named “Daivam Nammodu Koode” (God with Us) was prepared and published by the Inter-eparchial Catechetical Committee of Changanassery.
However, in the meeting held in January 1999, the KCBC, having taken into account the mind of the Universal Church and following the provisions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO 621 & I, 621 & 3) decided to entrust the responsibility of catechesis to the catechetical commission of each of the Individual Churches. Thereby, the catechetical commission of the Syro-Malabar Church became responsible for the co-ordination and animation of the catechetical ministry of the Syro-Malabar Church.
Syro Malabar Catechism in Kuwait:
The establishment of the Syro Malabar Catechism had waves in Kuwait also. The Catechism of the Syro Malabar Church was initiated in Kuwait in a smaller way in 2004 by some individual SMCA members and it was formally started in 2008 by Syro Malabar Cultural Association (SMCA), Kuwait in all 4 areas of Kuwait also in Malayalam language. It was systematically grown to a level in which more than 1200 students were studying in all 4 centers and in the year 2002, the Catechetical Commission of the Syro Malabar Church officially recognized the Faith Formation classes run by the Syro Malabar Cultural Association, Kuwait. However, the Faith Formation of the Syro Malabar Church was limited to the members of the Association and sizable number of Syro Malabar children in Kuwait were not able to attend these classes. This was a major concern for all involved.
The historical visit of Major Archbishop His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alencherry – the head of the Syro Malabar Church in Kuwait in 2014 was a turning point in this regard. His Beatitude has made agreement with the local Bishop & the Patron of our Association His Lordship Camillo Ballin to hand over the existing system of Faith Formation run by Syro Malabar Cultural Association to the local parishes in Kuwait. Accordingly, the Syro Malabar Catechism was introduced in all the 4 parishes of Kuwait from 2014-15 faith year onwards and Syro Malabar Catechism Classes started from September, 2014 onwards. All the teachers who were taking the classes in the SMCA Faith Formation Classes were entrusted to teach in the Syro Malabar Catechism Centers in the 4 parishes in addition to the existing Syro Malabar teachers in the parishes. The local vicariate has taken the permission to print the official text book series named “Rakshayude Pathayil” in Kuwait under loyalty basis. The books were printed in Kuwait both in Malayalam and English – left side in English and the same translated part in Malayalam in the right page. The medium of the course is Malayalam, but the students have the right to chose his/her preferred language to write the examinations. The Syro Malabar Catechism was successfully completed in all the parishes in Kuwait during the year 2014-15.
The course was arranged in a more professional way during the year 2015-16 and the number of the students were increased to total of 3,500 in all 4 centers. The Syro Malabar Catechism in Kuwait is co-ordinated by the Director in the Vicariate level and Directors in each parishes in addition to the Headmasters and about 150 teachers. Also, there are many committees in the vicariate and parish levels for co-ordinating the curriculum, examination and other activities of its centers in a centralized manner. Orientation classes are being arranged for the teachers for giving them proper training in the field of catechism teaching. Seminars, retreats and other enrichment programs are given to the children.