Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Years Teaching in the CCD Program

By Church law, all parishes are required to have CCD programs, which provide religious education for the children of the parish. CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) has a long history in the Church and depends for its successful operation on lay volunteers to teach its many programs.  Parishes have always had difficulty in getting volunteers for the programs; finding suitable candidates, says the Peace Weekly, is "like picking a star from the sky."

The Incheon diocese recently held a ceremony to thank those who have devoted themselves to this work over the years. Few have been in the program for three years, even fewer have been teaching for 10 years, and unique in the Incheon diocese was Sophia,  who has taught continually for 30 years. Sophia, now 54 years old, has been teaching for over half of her years in her parish CCD.

Baptized in 1981, only two years later she was asked to teach by the sisters of the parish. For many  reasons she did not go into the religious life, but always wanted to be a teacher. She manages her own art academy and teaches in the parish during weekends. Thoughts of marriage were put aside as something that was to be considered later.

Asked to divulge her secret for devoting so much time to volunteer teaching, she answered: "There is no secret; the teaching is God's mission to the likes of me. He gives me the grace for which I am thankful. I take pride that I can cooperate in the pastoral work that has brought me to this day."

After so many years of service, many would have passed on their work to others. But not Sophia. She works diligently, listening to her recorded sermons to improve them for the children at Mass. To improve her teaching methods she goes to seminars and programs conducted by the Protestants, and gets in touch with her students at least once a week by telephone or by text messaging. She also visits the neighboring schools to contact the students she's unable to reach by these methods.   

When her students graduate from high school and  come to her to offer to teach in the CCD program, she feels great pride and joy. The young people today, she says, because of work or preparing to find work, and tending to personal needs, find service to the Church by volunteering to teach catechism a great burden.

At frequent teachers' meeting, Sophia will often pray: "
Lord, may I be convinced  that my compensation is not here in this world but with you in the next. May I on this earth make you known, and with the children I teach realize that one day we are destined to be with you in glory. Amen."

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