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Don Bosco Nitika's 'ASK' Answers Catechetical Queries Online
By Nirmal Jamreet Toppo
Kolkata, May. 29. Don Bosco Nitika Catechetical Centre based at Kolkata, has initiated ASK - Answers for Seekers of the Kingdom. The talks live-streamed on YouTube Channel Kolkata Salesians is the initiative of Nitika Director Father Gilbert Choondal, as several catechetical seminars are cancelled with the COVID-19  lockdown. Father Choondal answers questions on Catholic faith raised by the viewers, after ASK Online collects questions through emails, Whatsapp and SMS. The talk show started on 01 May 2020 and is viewed by about 1000 people from across the world. Nitika Catechetical Centre plans to launch similar content in Bengali, Santhali and Hindi. Over 100 topics are discussed already at ASK Online. Father Patrick Lepcha hosts the same programme in Nepali.
Don Bosco Nitika Director Father Gilbert Choondal answers queries during the ASK Online live-stream.
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''While listening to homilies, I have had several questions, but I could not ask. It is not a classroom,'' says Christopher Hembrom, a youth from Liluah parish in Kolkata.
Several parishes have begun live streaming liturgical services, yet the absence of interactive communication has prevailed. Hence, ASK Online surfaced as a new way of catechising the youth and adults through the method of question-answer.
Father Vincent Dcruz, Catechetical Director of the Archdiocese of Bombay says, ''There are several questions our adults face on faith. ASK Online is an apt intervention at this Lockdown.'' Shibani George, a viewer from Bangalore said, ''After I became Catholic, I had several doubts and questions on Catholic Faith. ASK Online is an answer to my search.'' MumbaiSalesians' Father Franco Pereira, Catechetical Director based in Kuwait says, ''I have requested all the catechists in Kuwait to attend ASK Online either offline or online. It is an extremely useful resource for them.'' The coronavirus with the lockdown has raised several existential questions which the Faith can answer. ''A catechetical approach to some liturgical, biblical and theological queries is apt response to bolster confidence in the believers,'' says Cresentia Toppo, a viewer from Odisha.

Father Choondal says, ''The lockdown became an opportunity. Online catechesis has two advantages. First, it is a family Catechesis as all in the family are watching and learning. Second, this type of catechesis can reach many faithful unlike classroom.''

Apart from several social service programmes, free education to slum children and vocational training programmes, Nitika Don Bosco has revived catechetical instruction programmes since the last two years.


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