January 25, 2007
By Atty. Irene Guevarra

“Faith is man’s grateful response to God’s gifts to us,” explained Bishop Teodoro Bacani during the first of the year-long catechism sessions held at the EDSA Shrine Main Chapel last Thursday, 25 January 2007 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Introduced by Fr. Victor Apacible, EDSA Shrine Rector, as one of the best theology teachers, Bishop Bacani held his “pupils” in rapt attention as he expounded on the framework of the catechism sessions and the first topic.

Speaking in Filipino, Bishop Bacani recalled that as early as January 1991, the 2 nd Plenary Council has envisioned the building of a community of disciples, putting emphasis on “community” rather than on “organization” and “discipleship” rather than on “membership.” This is because, as St. Augustine declared, “We follow Christ, not by walking but by believing.” Indeed, in his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote, “We live by faith and not by sight.”

Toward this end, Bishop Bacani continued, there should be kerygma or proclamation of the Word of God and didache or catechism, which is education for maturity in faith. Catechism is particularly important for Filipinos in order that our faith may be divorced from ignorance and superstitious beliefs. Catechism is necessary so that the Filipino faithful may know that the Sto. Niňo de Cebu and the Sto. Niňo de Tacloban are one and the same; and that the birthday of Sto. Niňo is December 25. Catechism is necessary so that there may be more than 15% Catholic churchgoers, and catechism is necessary so that Filipinos may learn to live their faith.

On this score, he said that we are very fortunate because on October 11, 1992, the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. Suited to the lay faithful’s lives, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is divided into four (4) topics: Creed, Liturgy, Way of Living the Faith and Prayer. This will be the pattern of Bishop Bacani’s lectures.

On the first topic of Creed, Bishop Bacani taught that faith embraces the whole person. Faith that resides in the mind is BELIEF (PANINIWALA). This is to know something in a special way. Faith that resides in the heart is TRUST (PAGTITIWALA). This is inspired by power (kapangyarihan) and caring (malasakit) combined. Faith that resides in the hands and feet is OBEDIENCE (PAGSUNOD o PAGTALIMA). This is in accordance with the statement of St. James that “faith without work is useless” and the “obedience of faith” referred to by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans.

True to Fr. Vic’s introduction, Bishop Bacani is a very effective teacher and communicator. Employing what in the computer age can be considered the old-fashioned lecture-cum-whiteboard method, Bishop Bacani nevertheless held the listeners’ interest and enthusiasm throughout the one-hour lecture. His use of simple language, anecdotal examples and experiential approach probably made the difference. Indeed, his listeners had begun to mature in faith as they thanked God for His gift to the EDSA Shrine in the person of Bishop Bacani.

The lecture series is held every Thursday at the EDSA Shrine Main Chapel from 6 to 7 p.m. It is open to everybody.

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