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Column: ALWAYS for DCHerald August 3-9, 2008 issue

The Significance of Action Songs in Catechesis


by
ERWIN JOEY E. CABILAN

Human Experience in Catechesis

Human Experience is vital in catechesis. Without it, people can hardly connect the contents of
our Christian faith into our daily life. The General Directory for Catechesis (1997) enumerates some
essential reasons why Human Experience is very important.
1. It arouses in the human person interests and even questions which, at the very essence,
constitute the person’s basic human desires;
2. Experience promotes the intelligibility of the Christian Message and;
3. Experience can be a locus where salvation and liberation can be realized, if it is assumed by
Faith.1

Since catechesis is more concerned on effective communication of the contents of Christian Faith, 2
we have to consider a very significant catechetical dimension which is highly regarded. The
dimension which I would like to refer to is Methodology. Almost everyone in this ministry has
accepted that there is no single best method in doing catechesis. But this should not be a “sweet
temptation” that allures us not to be creative and innovative in communicating the Christian Message
to all strata of humanity. Instead, this idea should move us to explore more strategies that are not only
relevant and effective but are life-giving and Faith-inspired as well.

A Brief Look on Music in Pinoy Culture

Music is the soul of any human culture. Through this form of art, people of any social grouping are
identified. By way of music, we can express our deep seated sentiments be it joyful or sad, consoling
or desolating. We, Filipinos, are one among the people around the world who are so passionate with
music. By only listening to the songs played, our hearts are moved to sing along with it even if we can
hardly hit the right notes.

Music in Pinoy Catechesis

Many catechists consider music as an essential element that we can employ for an effective
catechesis. Not only that we invite the catechized to listen and to sing the song but we also create
proper actions so that their participation can be more vivacious. As a result, we employ Action Songs
in our catechesis either in a classroom setting (formal education) or in a seminar setting (non-formal
education).

Actions Songs in Catechesis

What are some key principles in using Actions Song in catechesis?

For effective use of Action Songs in catechesis, the following principles can be considered.

1. Choose Action Songs that are related to the subject matter/topic that you are sharing to your
participants.
2. Action Songs should be “sing-able” and “do-able” according to the capacity of the catechized.
(age, physical vigor, etc.)
3. Catechetical Action Songs promote authentic human values.
4. Catechetical Action Songs communicate Christian Message.
5. Catechetical Actions Songs have the following purposes:
a. To energize the participants.
b. To stimulate the catechized to focus on the activity that they are going through.
1
GDC (1997) 152.
2
NCDP 67.
c. To enable the catechized to discover the message and the values being emphasized in a
particular catechetical session.
6. When used as an activity within Phase I, give follow up questions so that they can discover
what rules number 3 and 4 emphasize.
7. By way of Action Songs, the catechized can absorb the salient points of the
lesson/topic/subject matter of catechesis. Thus, these serve as synthesis.

Jesus Christ, our Action Song

When the heart is touched, the mind is stimulated to reflect on things that are worth reflecting.
If music is the soul of the human person, let it also be a way for the human person to fill his/her life
with truth, with beauty and with goodness. Sing along with it. Dance along with it. We may not be
able to produce a very good choreography. We may not be able to sing with correct tune or hit the
right notes. What is necessary is to uplift the whole human person towards the fullness of meaning,
Christ Jesus. He is the Logos, God’s Music that we sing and dance.