The Catechetical Organization of the Church

The catechetical system of the Syro-Malabar Church is organized in four levels: Synodal, Eparchial, Forane/regional, and Parochial.

1. AT THE SYNODAL LEVEL

At the Synodal level the organizational system has three main factors: i. the Synodal Commission for catechesis, ii. The Syro-Malabar Catechetical Committee which serves as an advisory body to the Synodal Commission, and iii. The catechetical centre which function as the catechetical office for the whole Syro-Malabar Church

The Synodal Commission for Catechesis

The commission consists of three bishops appointed by the Major Archbishop for a period of five years. One of them serves as the chairman of the commission as designated by the Major Archbishop himself. The main function of this commission is to coordinate, animate, and foster the catechetical ministry of the Syro-Malabar Church. This commission shall have a secretary appointed by the chairman in order to assist the commission in its functioning.

The Syro-Malabar Catechetical Committee

In order to assist the commission there shall be a committee consisting of representatives from each eparchy. This committee is known as Syro-Malabar Catechetical Committee (SMCC).The committee shall include from each eparchy the eparchial catechetical director and two representatives of the catechists, one religious sister and one lay catechist, together with the catechetical experts nominated by the Synodal Commission. This committee has to meet at least once in a year, in order to evaluate the catechetical activities of the Church, to find out solutions for the problems in the catechetical ministry of the Church, and to plan the catechetical programs for the future.

Syro-Malabar Catechetical Centre

Besides the Syro-Malabar catechetical Committee, both the Synodal Commission and the SMCC shall have an office at the Major Archbishops Curia Kakkanad. And this office shall be known as the Syro-Malabar Catechetical Centre. The secretary of the Synodal Commission for the Catechesis shall be responsible for the management of this centre. Its address shall be Syro-Malabar Catechetical Centre, Mount St.Thomas P.B.No.7, Kakkanad, Kochi 682021, Kerala, INDIA.

II AT THE EPARCHIAL LEVEL

Apart from the Synodal level, catechetical ministry of the Church is also organized at the eparchial level. It is actually at the eparchial level that the catechetical ministry is in its real action. At the eparchial level also it is organized under a department headed by a director and a council which assists the director to co-ordinate the catechetical activities of the eparchy.

Eparchial Catechetical Department

Each eparchy should have a catechetical department in order to co-ordinate animate and foster the catechetical ministry in the eparchy. This department should have a director appointed by the Bishop, and adequate staff for the running of the department.
The eparchial catechetical department shall be responsible for the animation of the catechetical activities of the eparchy, especially in the parishes and the Schools. It shall also be responsible for the formulation of syllabus and curriculum for the year for conducting examinations and issuing certificates at the eparchial level, and for the formation of catechists in the eparchy.

Eparchial Catechetical Council

The diocesan catechetical director shall be assisted by an eparchial catechetical council consisting of Forane catechetical directors, Forane secretaries, representative of the promoters and headmasters and five nominees of the Bishop. This council shall meet at least once in a year to evaluate, plan and organize the catechetical activities of the eparchy.

Eparchial Catechetical Centre

Each eparchy should have a center for the efficient conduct of the catechetical department. This centre shall be known as the eparchial catechetical centre. At this centre the catechetical department functions under the directorship of a priest appointed by the Bishop and with the help of the staff working at the centre. It functions as the animation centre for the whole catechetical apostolate of the eparchy.

III FORANE / REGIONAL LEVEL

Within the eparchy, catechetical activities can be further organized under the Forane or regional levels as per the need and size of the eparchy.
Forane / Regional Catechetical Director, Secretary and Promoters
Each Forane or region should have a director appointed by the bishop after getting the opinion of the priests from the Forane. In order to assist him in the catechetical activities of the Forane there should be a secretary, preferably, a religious sister. In order to help them promoters may be appointed by the eparchial catechetical director after getting the opinion of the Forane/ regional catechetical council. The director, secretary, promoters, and the representatives of the headmasters together with the Forane vicar shall be responsible for the co-ordination and animation of the catechetical activities of the Forane or the region.

Forane / Regional Catechetical Council

In order to assist the catechetical activities of Forane or region there shall be a Forane or regional catechetical council. The council consists of Forane vicar, director, secretary two representatives of the parish priests, catechism promoters from the Forane, and all the headmasters of the Sunday schools. Other representatives may be co-opted if need arises. They have to organize catechetical activities within the Forane/ region according to the directions given from the catechetical department of the eparchy. This council has to meet at least once in six months and have to evaluate plan and organize the catechetical activities of the Forane

IV. AT THE PARISH LEVEL

At the parish level, catechetical activities are organized under the directorship of parish priest. In order to assist the parish priest in the co-ordination and animation of the catechetical activities, every parish should have s team of zealous and competent catechism teachers. In the same way, every parish should have also a Headmaster or Headmistress in order to facilitate the catechetical activities of the parish. The parish priest and all the catechism teachers of the parish together form the staff council of the parish. 

Director, Headmaster, and Teachers 

The parish priest by his office is the director of catechism at the parish level. He has to co-ordinate and animate the catechetical activities of the parish in accordance with the directions of the eparchial catechetical department. In order to help the director in the catechetical activities of the parish, there shall be a team of catechism teachers appointed by the director. In order to co- ordinate and facilitate the catechetical activities of the parish as per the eparchial customs a capable catechism teacher is to be selected and appointed as the Headmaster or Headmistress of the Sunday School by the parish priest after due consultation with the staff council. Besides, another teacher is elected by the staff council as its secretary. He I she will be in charge of the official correspondence and keeping the minutes of the council meetings. 

Parish Catechism Council and Office 

The parish catechism Council consists of the parish catechism director, assistant parish priests (if any), headmaster I headmistress, secretary, kaikarns of the parish, superiors of the religious houses, at least two representatives of the catechism teachers, and a minimum of two representatives of the parents. This council has to meet at least twice in a year in order to plan and to evaluate the catechetical activities of the parish. Besides the staff council, there can be a Parents Teachers Fellowship (PTF) or Parents Teachers Association (PTA) in order to promote the catechetical activities of the parish. 

In the same way, every parish shall have a catechism office in order to keep the catechism registers, charts, teaching aids, and other reference books. Together with this, as per the eparchial regulations, a particular percentage of the income of the parish is to be set aside for promoting the catechetical activities of the parish.