25th catechetical day of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese

Organized by the Catechetical Office of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese, the 25th Archdiocesan Catechetical Day was held on August 28th at the Archdiocesan Centre for Youth Pastoral Care Ivan Pavao II. (NCM) in Sarajevo.

Catechetical Day, a regular annual seminar for Catholic religious teachers in primary and secondary schools in the Vrhbosna Archdiocese, gathered about 90 participants from the entire diocese, who were welcomed by the director of the Catechetical Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the head of the Catechetical Office of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese rev. Tomislav Mlakić.

Gathered, in the NCM Renovabis Hall, among whom were the Archbishop of Vrhbosna, cardinal Vinko Puljić and the host - the director of the Centre, rev. Šimo Maršić, first were greeted by rev. Mlakić who also presented the points of the program.

A brief talk from cardinal Puljić followed, during which he pointed out that such a joint gathering and exchange of experiences is very important. He also followed the words of rev. Tomislav and confirmed that catechists are really a big family and reminded them that they have a role, not only to teach young people, but to proclaim the Word of God.

In the continuation, Archbishop Vinko gave a lecture on the topic of Personal Work on oneself. He conceptualized his presentation in 10 parts and in a clear and concise way through the sub-topics he spoke about the qualities that should be adopted by a religious teacher. He told them how they should: know themselves, accept themselves, love themselves, change themselves - to convert, to live in truth, to have a clear conscience and be like children, to believe in God and to design their lives by accepting their cross, to forgive in order to liberate the forces of love, be free, love God above all things, and your neighbour as yourself so they do not fear anything.

Explaining the need to love oneself in order to be good religious teachers, the cardinal recalled the sentence found in both Leviticus and Mark: “Love your neighbour as yourself”. “The ability to love yourself, others and God is the main criterion of good mental health . This is the criterion of maturity. The criterion by which a person becomes confident. You have already heard my example, I will not say the parish in which it was. Before Confirmation, I questioned the children, asked them: ‘Children, what is the most important lesson in life?’ One little girl replied: ‘The most important thing is to learn to love, who does not know how to love - does not know how to live’. Yes. It is not kind of love that is imposed by public opinion today. It is the love that Jesus Christ proclaims to us. God gave the greatest revelation when He revealed to us that He loves us. He who has not experienced love is incapable of love. Love is itself - God. Whoever enters the world of love, enters into the mystery of God”, cardinal Vinko emphasized, also adding that where there is no sacrifice, there is no love.

After explaining the desirable features, participants were able to ask questions.

After the lecture there was an occasion for the sacrament of confession, and then a holy mass was celebrated led by cardinal Puljić together with seven other priests.

After the biblical readings read by the religious teachers, as well as the prayer of the faithful and the proclaimed gospel, the Cardinal delivered an appropriate sermon.

He pointed out to the religious teachers how they reveal to the children the mysteries of God, the Word of God, the gospel, and urged them not to do so only with their mouths, but with their hearts. “God, open their minds and hearts not to receive what I am saying, but to receive You. That is actually power (...) You know when Jesus chose his disciples, he prayed all night, and then he chose them. That is the secret - we cannot receive God’s work without God’s help”, he said and called on those present not to give up in their mission, but to do so joyfully, with a smile, but also with prayer.

Finally, he stressed the importance of carrying hope, witnessing hope, and living hope.

At the end of the Holy Mass, the distribution of canonical missions for religious teachers was organized.

Afterwards, an employee, of the Archdiocesan Centre for Youth Pastoral Ivan Pavao II., Josip Milanović, addressed the audience. “The past year has been challenging; last year was different and the meeting we had last year somehow helped us all together. We have achieved significant results together and we have called our short conversion Together we can do more”, said Milanović, adding that they wanted to look back at the long-term cooperation, joint activities and every contribution made by catechists. He pointed out that they are grateful from the bottom of their hearts for everything they have done.

At the very end, the director of the Centre, rev. Maršić, once again thanked everyone.

Socializing continued with a joint lunch.