National Catechists' Training Centre

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Official name National Catechists’ Training Centre.
Country / Continent Pakistan / Asia
Director of the institute Brother Dennis Marasinghe, FSC.
Legal holder of the institute Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Coutts – Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Faisalabad.
Sponsor of the institute Catholic Bishops Conference, Pakistan
Year of foundation 1963
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 7
Staff members of your institute
Contact Rev. Bro. Dennis Marasinghe FSC


Chak 51 G.B.

Samundri, Disttr. Faisalabad



Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

National Catechists’ Training Centre.

Director of the institute

Brother Dennis Marasinghe, FSC.

Legal holder of the institute

Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Coutts – Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Faisalabad.

Catholic Bishops Conference, Pakistan

Vision / mission statement

To build a Christian community in Pakistan founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ where the faithful may experience and witness the joy and peace of resurrected Christ. OUR MISSION Our mission is to train and form Catechists to proclaim the gospel to the remote parts of Pakistan so that the people of God may be educated and grow in faith and where the values of Gospel are affirmed and the Kingdom of God is manifested and glorified.

Main areas of work

Formation of future catechists.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Young men chosen by the Catechists commissions of various dioceses and sent to the Training Centre for formation.

Year of foundation


Organisational structure of the institute

This is a project of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan. But directly it comes under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the diocese where the Institution is situated. In this case it comes under the Bishop of Faisalabad. The responsibility of running the Institution is given to the De la Salle Brothers. All the formation work is done by them and their lay collaborators. Financially this Institution is supported by MISSIO. The Bishops too contribute for each participant from their respective dioceses. Their contribution goes as the local contribution for this great project. The course is for three years. At the end of three years the participants receive a diploma and return to their own dioceses to begin their apostolate.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

(employees) 7. No freelances and no volunteers.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

6 * Brother Dennis Marasinghe, FSC. Brother Qamar John, FSC. Mr. Eric Sylvester, B.A. Punjab, Diploma in Theology, Ireland. Mr. Isaac Emmanuel, M.A. Philosophy. Seven years of Seminary study (Manila), Ms. Saiqa Friad, Diploma in Religion teacher’s course (Pastoral Institute – Multan – Pakistan), Ms. Bimla Eric B.A. Punjab & Diploma in Adult Literacy (Urdu).

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

Deepen and strengthen the Gospel Values in the Catechists at the formation stage. They have to swim in very rough waters.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

Getting to know the life and the teachings of Jesus. To make the Gospel values part of each participants’ life and ways of bringing this message to the others.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

To spread the word of God and the teachings of the church and to strengthen the faith through sacraments.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

The first and foremost service we provide to the church in Pakistan is the formation given to the future evangelisers. Secondly we help them and provide opportunities in building the basic Christian Communities in and around the villagers where the centre is situated.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

We accompany the young men who are in formation.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

In the area of catechists and liturgy the formees are in the process of gaining knowledge at present.

What notion of God inspires your work?

God of compassion and trust.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

Totally if it is personal.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

We get feedbacks from the Priests and older Catechists and Teachers of various schools, where the trainees go for practical work during their training period. We use these comments as a launching pad to analyse their performance and to guide them in their pastoral work and their approach to various difficulties which they will have to face in their real ministry.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

What will happen in the future to the faithful in our society is anybody’s guess. “To stand together for what we believe” is the approach we take in forming the future catechists in this Institute.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

Holistic formation of the future Catechists. They are given courses in various that will help them in their future work. We invite visiting experts, such as local experts in Theology, Scripture etc. to conduct seminars. They are sent to attend various religious courses given by other Pastoral Centres in the country. They are also sent for pastoral work in the far flung villages where Priests hardly go.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

We do not publish anything. But the students are encouraged to send articles to the local Christian magazines and periodicals.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

As I have mentioned earlier, it is the formation of the future catechists. The people who spread the good news to the poor.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

The evaluation is done through the Diocesan Catechists Commissions and with the Parish Priests with whom they are working. During the training session (three years) like in any other teaching Institution, regular examinations are conducted to see their improvements.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

The most important development that we are dealing at present is to prepare theses students how to handle crisis situations. The ever increasing problems of the religious minorities and how to speak of the love of God with those people who are badly affected by the recent floods and heavy rains.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

The main difficulties we are confronted with in this work, to find enough teaching material in the local language, to find dedicated teachers of religious subjects and the financial crunch.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

Same as on question no. 16.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Ours is a very important Institute to the local Christians. I feel without the help of the Catechists the church will not flourish. The Catechists are the back bone of the Catholic Church in this country. I hope and dream the continuation of this Institution and adaptation of the latest methods according to the times.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

All the students and the majority of the staff are lay.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

I am a member of the National Catechetical Commission and we meet four times a year. Through this means I communicate my experiences and results with the local church at large.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

The cooperation with the Bishop’s Conference and the Centre is excellent. It takes place at all levels where it is necessary.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We are linked to the National catechetical Commission.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

At international level our linkage is with MISSIO who supports us financially. A full report of the working of the Centre is sent to them annually.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

In the Centre we do not have anything of this sort except to study the Islamic laws on various topics.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

On hierarchical level it is superficial and at lower levels as far as I know there is not ecumenical cooperation.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

We are only associated with catholic teachings.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

By providing us with reading material that will help the students and the teachers. We would have loved to have exchange of people. But the language barrier will not allow it.

  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.