Experiencing love in communion with Christ
Sr. Paras, the local community superior of Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus in Intramuros, Philippines, encourages people to let love flow in our words and actions and be engaged with Christ in our daily lives.
Sr. Evangeline Paras, a Filipina local community superior of Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, has been serving the Lord for 13 years in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines.
She expressed that the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus is dedicated to leading people towards God through their charism.
“Our congregation was built in 1958 by Venerable Alfredo Ma. Obviar,” she continued. “We are involved in the Formation of Catechists in different Dioceses in the Philippines.”
Sr. Paras addressed the need of extending the love of God to the people.
“I believe that the world needs to be transformed; a world where love reigns in the hearts of all men, and where beauty and goodness surpass all things,” she explained. “Love can only be experienced when Jesus is truly alive in every man.”
Sr. Paras also conveyed that transcending the love of God is important for others to also be seen and felt.
“Experiencing God’s love is not something that we keep to ourselves. God’s love is bound to be shared with others through our own acts of love,” she told Vatican News.
Sr. Paras discussed that her task in the congregation as Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Ristorante delle Mitre, a Catholic-themed restaurant owned and managed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), also helps her to enact her vocation of love by preparing and serving food to the leaders of the church and the people.
“We serve the people with love, I share the love of God through serving the bishops, the chief Catechists of every Diocese in the Philippines,” she added. “By serving good and healthy food, I hope to inspire to nourish the people, not just spiritually but also physically.”
Sr. Paras also pointed out that they share every blessing to those who are in need.
“We go beyond what we always see physically; we reach out to the different dioceses, especially those in the outskirt areas,” she emphasized. “We attend to the lost, the least, and the last.”
Aside from serving food to the bishops and the poor, Sr. Paras shared that they are providing “material resources to those in need of bibles and catechetical materials, “she added. “With the help of Ms Elvira Yap-Go, a Church donor, and the Ristorante delle Mitre, we are also able to give the poor people a livelihood.”
She said that the efforts of reaching out to the marginalized people is presenting God in the world.
“We help the people transform the world into a better place to live; God is faceless so we serve Him through our needy brothers and sisters,” she said.
Sr. Paras also conveyed that the congregation is engaged to disseminate the Gospel by “proclaiming the Good News through Catechesis of all walks of life, in all places and, in all contexts,” she elaborated. “Catechesis is an irreplaceable service, we impart the Catholic Faith through the formation of catechists in different Dioceses who eventually do the catechesis in public schools. Through these, we are able to multiply ourselves, bringing the teachings of the Church to more people.”
Engaging with Christ
Sr. Paras shared the vital role of catechism in leading people to know and have a union with Jesus Christ.
“The goal of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but also in communion with Jesus Christ,” she said.
She also hopes that the use of Catechesis will strengthen the faith of Filipino Catholics.
“We belong to a Filipino congregation, we do our best to live authentically Filipino. Being faithful to who we are is to be true to ourselves and make sure that Filipino Values and the Catholic Faith are integrated.” she continued. “I believe that what is truly human is deeply divine; Just as Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, we too must live our life according to Jesus Christ.”
She expressed that the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus have also been “active in the formation of BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities),” she added. “We invite the people to our liturgical celebrations. We give retreats and recollections, bible sharing, and we interrelate their experiences to the stories of Jesus Christ.”
Sr. Paras believes that continuing to disseminate the Gospel will lead people to have a closer relationship with God.
“We strive to faithfully proclaim the Gospel in our words and deeds. Our loving presence, grateful life, and cheerful acceptance strengthen the faith of people,” she said.
The Filipina sister also hopes “to enlighten the minds of the people by bringing Jesus to families and communities,” she continued. “We are helping the people in their spiritual and temporal needs, that is also our little way of offering help to the society,” she said.
Aside from these, Sr. Paras said that the congregation is having spiritual activities with the people in the communities by “organizing vocation campaigns, offering catechetical formations, and home visitations,” she furthers. “We also welcome them in our local communities, befriend and love them with the love of Jesus.”
She highlighted the significance of working together with people in the community to spread the Catholic faith, “We pray with them, invite them to participate and collaborate with us in the mission,” she explains, “most importantly, we pray for the people and ask the Holy Spirit to unite us all.”
She concluded the interview by inviting everyone to “let love be lived and seek the face of God in all things. Where there is Catechesis, there is love!”