News & Media

From September 18 to 20, 2014
Catechesis in the Middle East : Issues and Challenges in the light of the New Evangelization

On Thursday September 18, 2014, the Faculty of Religious and Oriental Studies at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) and the Catholic Commission for Catechism in the Middle East organized an international colloquium on catechism in the Middle East. The event was inaugurated with a Holy Mass celebrated by His beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and the rest of the East, assisted by the Metropolite of Tyr for the Greek Melkite Catholics and Director of the Commission for Catechism in Lebanon, Metropolite Michael Abras, the General Superior of the Lebanese Maronite Order, Rev. Fr. Abbot Tannous Nehme, the Director of the Catholic Commission for Catechism in the Middle East, Rev. Fr. Claude Nadra, and the Dean of the Faculty of Religious and Oriental Studies, Rev. Fr. Ziad Sakr, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Gabriel Caccia, representatives of Catholic Oriental Churches, a number of bishops and priests, along with the University President, Rev. Fr. Hady Mahfouz.

After the Holy Mass, journalist Bassam Barrak inaugurated the colloquium by saying: “The Middle East is the bleeding East of the wounds of Christian religion. It is the region the most attached to Christian testimony in words, practice, knowledge and education.”

The Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Gabriel Caccia stated: “Amid the difficulties facing numerous faithful in the Middle East, we should provide them with an effective support through a Christian education taking their situation into consideration”

The Dean of the Faculty of Religious and Oriental Sciences at USEK, Rev. Fr. Ziad Sakr, stated: “This increasing care to the subject of catechism in the East showcases the honest will to clarify faith constants, images and ideas tarnished by heresies, wars and policies.” He concluded: “Modernity resides in gathering the old and the new, the faith constants and modernism, preserving the identity and facing the challenges of today.”

The Director of the Catholic Commission for Catechism in the Middle East, Rev. Fr. Claude Nadra, addressed the attendees from the Middle East by saying: “…Your presence is a Christian education by itself because it is the presence of a faith, a testimony of hope and an act of love. We all know that the love of the Christ was consecrated on his cross and the crosses we bear are the signs of our hope to achieve salvation…”

Rev. Fr. Hady Mahfouz, USEK President, declared: “We are filled with joy in this University due to the ‘joy of the Gospel’ which enlightens the meaning of being and the meaning of daily work…Thanks to the teachings of Pope Francis who said that every day beauty is reborn in the world, it is transformed by the tragedies of history, it is the power of salvation. Every evangelist is a tool of this dynamism.”

The Director of the Commission for Catechism in Lebanon, Metropolite Michael Abras considered the subject of this conference is of an utmost importance amid the situation in the Middle East. He concluded: “We will continue our role in education, in proclaiming the good news careless about the difficulties and challenges since Christianity is a ‘mission of liberation, salvation and joy’.”

Finally, Cardinal Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rai brought the session to an end by saying: “In his Apostolic Exhortation, the ‘Joy of the Gospel’, Pope Francis defined three fields of work to achieve the new evangelization and these are the field of pastoral work with the practicing faithful, the second is working with the baptized people who do not live according to the requirements of their baptism and the third is the work with those who do not know or completely rejected Jesus Christ.” He added: “The Church spares no effort in working with these people…Catechism addresses them to build and strengthen their faith.”

Website of the colloquium
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
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