Katesismo Bol-anon is a catechetical book conceived and given birth primarily for the Bol-anon faithful who desire to deepen their knowledge and love for the God they have been worshipping. Its purpose is not to deviate from the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church contained in the official “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, nor, to satisfy that vain feeling to show off to the rest of the world that Bol-anons have finally reached the age of maturity in faith, capable of producing a catechesis out of their own human resource, effort, and creativity. It is rather to meet the particular needs of our people, for them to be able to adapt more and more to the ways of God vis-avis the ways of living in a world that has become secular, technological and digital in its orientation. The journey in faith together as a Diocese of Tagbilaran for the past seventy or so years, following faithfully the Sacred Scripture, traditional doctrine of the Church, and the Magisterium has formed within the Bol-anons a spirituality and culture that is uniquely Boholano. Because of its particularity the universal teaching of the Catholic Church can no longer fully address their social, cultural and spiritual needs. It is because of these needs that the Katesismo Bol-anon is born.
To accomplish this, the writers tasked to draft the project have to contend with questions relevant to the work. What is the level of faith of our people? How profound is their knowledge of God; how deep is their love for Him and how broad and encompassing is their concern for others, the environment, and other God’s creation? Has this faith been translated into human values that guide the day-to-day interrelationships of the community of people, the neighborhood, the family? Has it thoroughly influenced the culture of the Bol-anons? Confronted with challenges of modern paradigms of thought , of new ideologies, of the advances of science and technology, of the materialistic way of living, secular thinking, relativistic and cafeteria manner of following the norms of law and dictates of conscience, the post-modern view of human person whose concept of freedom is to be limitless, not to be constrained by external authority and objective laws, how strong is their faith to parry all these? Have they learn good lessons from them, incorporating them in their way of Christian living, instead of being carried away by these dangerous teachings? Are our people mature enough in their faith to be a beacon of light to the world of today, even to the point of questioning many of their assumptions and biases? Is there a new fresh new way of reaching this people, telling them with authority about Jesus and His answers to the deep longing of modern man? What method in catechism should we use today to reach our people sophisticated in the ways of the world, effectively proclaiming to them the Word of God, teaching them the content of the faith, leading them back to genuine Christian living, and, ultimately, bringing them back to God, to the true worship of Him?
The Katesismo Bol-anon is born out of this cognitional process, a rigorous and disciplined exercise of the mind and the will that the writers have willingly undergone for a purpose that is noble. In their heart, however, beats that longing and that prayer that the catechism they have helped to see the light of day would indeed be a relevant guide to usher the Bol-anons to the process of assimilation to God. As observed well by the great German author Goethe “eye could never recognize the sun were it not itself sunlike,” so the faithful can only know God if deep within them is sown and nurtured the initial knowledge of Him through catechism.
Of course, the writers of the Katesismo Bol-anon are fully aware that faith is a gift. But they also know that this donum fidei can only be received and assimilated by the individuals through tedious process of evangelization and long catechesis as well as their willingness to cooperate in listening and accepting the Good News of salvation. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI who described the role of catechesis to the life of the faithful: “Catechesis aims at coming to know Jesus concretely. It is theoretical and practical initiation into the will of God as revealed in Jesus and lived by the community of the Lord’s disciples, the family of God.” (Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism, Ignatius Press, 1997, p. 56).
After so much straits and travails in giving birth to the Katesismo Bol-anon, however, the writers have that consolation in that they have contributed a little to prepare the faithful to know God, help them to adapt to His ways and, hopefully, to again fall in love with this God.