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High number of Salesians at 19th Indian Catechetical Association Meet


By Gilbert Choondal
XIX ICA at Bethel, Shillong
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Bangalore, Feb. 16. .   Shillong: The 19th General Body Meeting of the Indian Catechetical Association (ICA) was held at Bethel Prayer Centre, Shillong, 11-13 February 2015. The 76 participants consisting of priests, religious and laity from across the country, among whom were a large number of Salesian Family members, deliberated on  ''Challenges and Concerns of Family Catechesis''.
There were seven Salesians participating in the meeting, namely, Fr. Gilbert Choondal (president ICA), Fr. Cletus Dsouza (Secretary ICA), Fr. Jerome Vallabaraj, Fr. Christy Antony, Fr. Bernadino , Fr. Briston and Salesian nun Sr. Caroline.

Apart from these seven Salesians,  a Salesian Co-operator Ms Milred who gave the keynote address,  Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB who presented a paper, and Fr. Joseph Puthenpurackal SDB who presided at a Holy Eucharist  for the participants added vitality to the Salesian presence.

There were a large number of participants from other Salesian Family groups too - namely, Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), Missionary Sistrs of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC) and Visistation Sisters of Don Bosco (VSDB).

The biting cold of North East did not affect the enthusiasm and spirit of the participants who actively participated with their papers and discussions. As the Church is moving towards the Synods of the century, Indian Catechetical Association is reflecting together with the Church on the challenges and concerns of family catechesis.

''This basic cell of the society and the Church is going through a social and ecclesiastical evolution. It is our task to reflect, review, renew and respond together to the challenges of family from a catechetical perspective,'' said Fr. Choondal, president of ICA, during his presentation of the dynamics of the seminar.

During the presentation of  his paper, Archbishop Menamparampil insisted that we need to seek to understand the families than to be understood in this era of varieties of difficulties families face.

The final statement of XIX ICA invited clergy, religious and laity to accompany the family together in mercy and compassion. ''Family Catechesis is learning and living the art of accompaniment,'' affirmed the Statement.

On the final day, the participants enjoyed a trip to the Don Bosco Museum, a state of the art showcase on the North East cultures. Fr. Sojan, the Chancellor of Kohima Diocese,  was the local coordinator who saw to the minute details of accomodation to help the participants have fruitful study days. Fr. Cletus D'Souza, SDB, the compere of the programme energized the sessions through his  active and live animation.

The 20th ICA Meeting is to be held in Bangalore on the theme, ''Catechesis towards a healthy Social Life'' on 3-5 February 2016.

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