A research team from the University of Santo Tomas is undertaking the pioneering study that will describe the present state of the Philippine Catechetical Ministry. The project, commissioned by the Episcopal Commission on Catechism and Catholic Education (ECCCE) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – began in July 2016 and targets a census of all catechists and catechetical directors and coordinators from 86 ecclesiastical territories in the archipelago.
Using exploratory and descriptive designs, the mixed-methods study is divided into two phases, aiming to 1) determine the demographic profile of Filipino Catechetical Directors / Coordinators and Catechists; 2) assess the needs of the Filipino Directors / Coordinators and Catechists in the catechetical ministry; 3) identify programs for the Philippine Catechetical Ministry (PCM); 4) trace the history of the PCM; and 5) conduct an institutional analysis of the PCM.
The project fuses the academic and scientific nature of research with the pastoral identity of the subject, aiming to provide scholarly interpretations of faith-based endeavors. “We are getting data from all the ecclesiastical territories, first through online means, then through paper-and-pen surveys, so that we can begin analyzing these on a diocesan, ecclesiastical province and national scale,” said Prof. Clarence M. Batan, PhD, lead researcher.
So far, the survey has gathered a total of 1,869 responses from catechists who responded online. From the sample taken, catechists came from Antipolo, Caceres, Cebu, and Tagum. A majority of them were middle-adult female, married catechists, with college degrees (except for Tagum). Catechism (except for Antipolo) is usually done in the public school, followed by parish-based.
These catechists receive formal formation through certificates in religious education, and most have been in the ministry for 1-5 years.
Online word clouds created through the responses revealed the words
“Jesus, love, God’s, Lord, serve, contented, and know” as common descriptions of their lives. Also, the word “love” dominated the answers when asked “How would you rate your commitment as a catechist at the moment?”