Planting the seeds of faith

By Catherine Day 

3 October 2017 General Interest

Being a catechist is a rewarding experience that allows a person to sow seeds of faith and, grow stronger in their own faith. For Christine Jap, one of the Diocese’s youngest Special Religious Education (SRE) teachers, these have been the reasons she is enjoying her time as a catechist.

Christine became a volunteer SRE teacher at the end of 2015, after being influenced and inspired by three strong women of faith. The push to join was when she heard Trish Harrison explain that it didn’t matter if you felt underqualified.

"Her story really touched me," said Christine. "She was explaining she didn’t feel ready or qualified, but then something just moved in her and she felt that she should do it. That inspired me to sign up."

It also helped that her SRE teacher nurtured her faith development. "Even though the lessons were really short, I really appreciated the time and effort she put into it. She really went out of her way to make sure we felt and experienced God’s love," said Christine.

The biggest influence however, has been Christine’s mum. Encouraging Christine (and her brother) to pray every night, she has helped guide Christine to better understand her faith. "She has got a strong connection and relationship with God, and even though she never imposed the faith on us, she planted the seeds. I can see God is the centre of her life and it’s where she gets all her strength to persevere. She’s a real inspiration."

Currently teaching SRE to Kindergarten at Epping North Public School, Christine has found that each year level she teaches, brings with it joy and frustrations.

"The kindy kids are cute but they can’t sit still and get easily distracted. Years Five and Six are more mature in their understanding and you can teach them more advanced things. But they also have strong attitudes, and if they choose to be, they can be disrespectful. It’s challenging because I know they know it’s wrong."

Despite the challenges, Christine knows that she is planting seeds. "I love being able to share the faith and I know that if I do my best, the Holy Spirit will help nurture it later on in their lives."

While Christine is not volunteering teaching SRE, she is studying. She is in her final semester of Advanced Science at Sydney University and planning to next go on to a Masters of Teaching. She is hoping to become a science teacher. While Christine realises this means she would have to stop being an SRE teacher, she is truly thankful for her time as a catechist.

"It’s a great opportunity, and I get to have that experience of doing the behavioural class management, being in the classroom and being in front of students. I love sharing my faith, and this a great opportunity to grow in my faith."

More catechists are needed within the Diocese and if anyone is considering joining, hopefully Christine’s parting words will inspire you to make a difference These children, a lot of them don’t get exposure outside, so this is really important. You’ll grow in your relationship with God and you’ll make a difference to these children.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer catechist, contact Sharon da Roza, Administrative Assistant for CCD at the Diocese of Broken Bay on 02 9847 0492 or sharon.daroza@dbb.org.au

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001
news@dbb.org.au

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