– CBCN President calls for minimum wage for Catechists
Worried by the current poor remuneration for catechists in Nigeria, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze has called on bishops to look into the welfare of catechists in their various dioceses.
In his address at the opening ceremony of the First National Catechetical Summit in Abuja, November 28, Most Rev. Akubeze said there was an urgent need to revamp the renumeration of catechists.
“The Church in Nigeria is ever grateful to many Catechists who make huge sacrifices to pass on the Gospel message to the people of God. We know that our Catechists are among the poorly remunerated and at times not well respected in our society. I want to use this opportunity to urge all diocesan bishops to seriously consider revamping the remuneration of Catechists in their dioceses. Let us provide for their welfare. We need to establish a minimum wage for those on full time and those on part-time. We know that we have financial constraints but we must know that prioritizing the welfare of Catechists is core to the mission of the Church.
He recalled that the issue of remuneration of workers in the Church was addressed in Canon 1286. “This Canon stipulates that administrators of ecclesiastical goods ensure that just wages in line with the civil labour be observed following the Catholic social principles. Do we consider full time Catechists remuneration along the newly established minimum wage? We must think seriously spending on the training of our catechists and their remuneration and social welfare.”
The theme of the summit is “Revamping the Catechetical Apostolate in Nigeria” (Full text in our next edition).
Earlier in his homily, Most Rev. Akubeze, who is the Archbishop of Benin, expressed the need for catechesis, saying that “a lot of Catholics are not well grounded in the faith.”
He said it will not be out of place for priests to do some catechesis during their homilies and to indulge in intensive study to equip themselves, for “nemo dat quod non habet”. (No one gives what he doesn’t have)
“The purpose of Catechesis is to ensure that “the living faith of the faithful becomes manifest and active through doctrinal instruction and the experience of Christian life” (Canon 773).
“Catechesis seeks to aid the faithful to be active in living out their faith. Catechesis achieves this goal through the Christian life and doctrinal instruction. From this we can see that Catechesis is broader than preparing candidates for baptism, confirmation, and first Holy Communion.
“Since Catechesis embraces the entire life of the faithful, there must be the first recognition that Catechesis is very important in the life of the Church. It is at the heart of the mission of the Church.”
The prelate said that, doctrinal instruction is part of Catechesis. “This is the aspect that deals with establishing Catechetical program for those preparing for the sacraments and helping those in the Church to grow in their understanding of the faith.
Reflecting on the Readings, the Archbishop said: “We are told in the Gospel reading that the time of the great harvester is at hand. His coming cannot be predicted. However our attitude to his coming should not be one of fear and anxiety. It should be an opportunity for a new beginning.
“This brings us to another kind of harvest which we may be familiar with. It is neither an agricultural harvest nor the one that will bring history to a final divide. It is the harvest in our own lives as we reap what we have sown.
“Now is the time to begin sowing the seeds of another harvest, a new harvest to come later on which will be rich and generous. Today is the time to begin sowing the seeds of a harvest of new spiritual life and vitality; to live each day to the full and to make it productive for ourselves and others. To do this more effectively will be to pay more attention to catechizing our people.”