06/18/2007, 00.00
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Survey among teenagers to see how to improve teaching catechism

by JB. VU
Parish in Ho Chi Minh City tries to understand how young people view learning the tenets of the faith. It brings together parents to discuss results.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The religious education of teenagers is one of the many difficulties and challenges Vietnam’s Catholics face. In order to better address the issue, Ba Chuong Parish in the Archdiocese of Saigon conducted a survey among young people and then discussed the results with parents.

“Surveying teenagers about catechism showed that 100 per cent of them found public school education very intense which left them little time for catechism. Still 70 per cent of them found that studying the catechism was helpful in making them strong in their faith and convictions,” Brother Lang told AsiaNews. “They know that they are studying the catechism to meet the needs of their families and parish.”

“In studying the catechism, teenagers think that they can improve their personality, sensitivity and understanding as to how to deal with their friends. In short, they think about catechism as a human issue, not for its catholic beliefs,” Sister Thiet said. “For this reason, all of us, catechists, parents, priests and nuns want to give teaching some orientation. Last but not least we need to know more about teaching methods, understand adolescent psychology and know more about what worries parents in relation to their children’ studies and life.”

“The survey taught us something,” Brother Nhan noted. “Even if the teens consider catechism as important as public school education, their priority goes to the latter. This is fair because a public school education can offer them greater ‘benefits’ than catechism. Still parents were sufficiently aware that even if their children were missing something in terms of their faith, they were still ‘safe’. But they also knew that without an education their children had no hope in terms of finding a job, having a future, even having enough to eat. For this reason, they send them to school on Sundays rather than let them come to church for catechism.”

Parents have a really important role to play in teaching and educating their children in the faith. Adults who lead a life in the faith will be a good example for their children, reminding them of the importance of learning catechism.

For this reason priests are planning to set up groups of parents to discuss issues that touch upon teaching catechism to their children as Ba Chuong parish did.

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