INDIA: Salesians in Guwahati Province train 125 catechists thanks to Koch Foundation funding
The “Training and Faith Formation of Catechists” project prepared catechists to work in Roman Catholic parishes.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 14, 2021) Salesians in India were able to train 125 catechists with a year-long program thanks to funding Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, received through the Koch Foundation. The “Training and Faith Formation of Catechists” project prepared catechists to work in Roman Catholic parishes throughout the Salesian Guwahati Province, headquartered in Assam, India.
The catechists who completed the training are qualified to serve as educators in a variety of religious topics. This training enables laypeople to reliably convey Catholic Church teachings in a way that is understandable and relevant to the local circumstances of their particular parish. Motivational classes give individual laypeople the means to live their faith in a deeper and more authentic fashion in their daily lives.
Funding was utilized for printing booklets and stationery, other expenses for the faith formation trainings, food, lodging and an honorarium for the priests leading the training. Participants were also provided travel assistance.
“The project had such success that Salesians will continue the program on a yearly basis with their own meager resources,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesians are determined to bring the faith formation training to lay leaders so that they in turn will be able to move into the various villages to strengthen the faith of Christians, as well as bring new people to faith.”
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued by youth in India. The country, which is home to 1.34 billion people (18 percent of the world’s population), will have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country by 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. While India has the world’s largest youth population, it has yet to capitalize on this, leaving some 30 percent of this population without employment, education or training.
India has the world’s fourth-largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India,
according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
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