The fourth PanHellenic Meeting of Catechists took place at the Pastoral Center “Saint Paul” in Posidonia on Syros island from the 28th until the 31st of August with the participation of three hierarchs from the Catholic Church, Their Excellencies Archbishops of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, Athens Fr. Sevastianos Rossolatos and Syros Island Petros Stefanou. Around 80 catechists, priests, monks, nouns and lay people from Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa, Corfu, Patras, Tinos, and Syros, worked on the subject: “Catechism as first proclamation for the increase of faith. The missionary turn in Catechism”.
His Excellency the Archbishop of Syros island during his opening address welcomed the catechists in Syros and wished that the meeting will bear fruit in the field of catechism and will be of everyone’s benefit. At the place where the meeting took place there was also a book exhibit in which the Hellenic Bible Society participated. The representative of the Hellenic Bible Society, Mr. Giorgos Sochos, also addressed the meeting during the opening session. Due to their inability to attend the meeting His Excellency the Archbishop of Naxos and Tinos Island Fr. Nikolaos Printezis and the Mayor of Syros-Ermoupolis Mr. Giorgos Maragos sent their written greeting address.
The opening of the meeting was declared by the President of the Synodal Committee for Evangelization and Catechism and Vice President of the Hellenic Bible Society His Excellency Archbishop of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris who had the first presentation on the: “The semantic definition of the Terms New Evangelization, Re-Evangelization and First Proclamation: A general presentation”. The next presentation was by Fr. Markos Foskolos, vicar of St. Nikolaos in Chora, Tinos island and Archivist of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos-Tinos on the: “The First Proclamation in the New Testament and the early Christian communities”.
The first presentation of the second day came from Fr. Yiannis Maragos, Doctor of Theology, director of the newspaper PAROCHIAL BELLS and vicar of the St. Panteleimon in Foinikas. The imaginative title: “Oh mother, in what kind of world have you brought me” or “The new evangelization in the modern world of postmodern era” directs us to substantial content that caused concern to the people who attended the meeting. The second presentation by His Excellency the Archbishop of the Catholic Church of Athens, Fr. Sevastianos Rossolatos was entitled: “New Evangelization: Who? What? How?” and it was based on the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) that is the voice of the Catholic Church today.
During the third day Mrs. Anna Maria Printezi-Vasileiou, theologian, presented on: “The First Proclamation in Catechism” and Mrs. Antonia Zaloni, also a theologian presented on: “New Evangelization and family”. During the meeting the catechists participated in experiential workshops and all ecclesiastical provinces of the catechetic movement made presentations.
The last of the meeting was devoted to its evaluation and the catechists that participated had the opportunity, to express in front of the pastors and the prelates, the ones responsible for the catechetic work of the Catholic Church, their concerns and present the new reality they experience in which they are called to transmit the message of the gospel. The catechists that literally come from every part of the world asked from their Bishops, with passion, courage and optimism, to continue to support them in their effort and to provide them with opportunities to get to know each other and involve themselves in creative discussions.
The prelates on their side thanked the catechists for their great efforts, especially in difficult social situations, to respond to the mission the Church has entrusted them. His Excellency the Archbishop of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, president of the Synodal Committee for Evangelization and Catechism, when concluding the meeting was particularly encouraging and urged everyone to take advantage of every opportunity they get to acquire further education and seek access to every form of information to enrich their intellect and their knowledge so that they can be of benefit to the people whose catechism they are responsible for. He also highlighted that this was the purpose of the book exhibition that took place during the meeting with the participation and presence of the Hellenic Bible Society’s representative, and the display of their excellent publications and of course the presence of Fr. Savvas Freris, Jesuit hieromonk and member of the Hellenic Bible Society’s Board for his effort to disseminate the good book! Finally, he asked everyone to trust their efforts in the power of the Holy Spirit so that they will receive the light in their minds and their hearts!
The meeting concluded with an Archbishops Concelebration in which Their Excellencies Sevastianos Rossolatos, Archbishop of the Catholic Church of Athens, Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, Archbishop of Corfu and Fr. Petros Stefanou, Bishop of Syros island, surrounded by the priests that participated in the meeting.
Source: Catholic Diocese of Syros