The average catechist in the Philippines is a middle-aged married woman, spending one to five hours of volunteer work a week, partial results of the National Catechetical Study in 2016 showed.
Clarence Batan, director of the UST Research Center on Culture, Education and Social Issues (RCCESI), said the results showed how female catechists play a significant role in linking young people to the Catholic Church.
“Times have changed; what remains is that we still have an army of volunteers, making sure that catechism or the whole catechetical mission is done primarily for the young,” Batan told the Varsitarian in an interview.
The study, which began in August 2016, aims to develop a profile of catechists and the catechetical ministry at the census level, with all 86 ecclesiastical territories in the Philippines represented.
Joan Trocio of the UST Institute of Religion said catechists face the challenge of bridging the gap between what should be taught and the experiences of students.
“[The] world is beset by the lures of economic gain and advancement in technology, which bring about symptoms of moral decline,” Trocio told the Varsitarian.
The research is a timely contribution ahead of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, she said.
As of March this year, 15,000 out of 25,000 expected responses of catechists, directors and coordinators have been gathered. The researchers aim to finish data gathering in December.
The RCCESI is the research arm the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.