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Catechesis and Cooking Lesson in One

Chrisma Bangaoil, a volunteer catechist and formator, integrates teaching catechism and cooking for 12 young boys and girls at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish of the Diocese of Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte province, southern Philippines on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Photo supplied)

The Pentecost Sunday on June 5 was a busy day for a Filipina Catholic lay missionary, who taught catechism to a dozen of children ages 8-12 in the southern Philippines inside the parish’s kitchen. 
 
The venue was not due to the unavailability of space. Chrisma Bangaoil used the kitchen as her classroom to use cooking to teach catechism.
 
“I had 12 young boys and girls in my cooking class after our third Mass this morning. I taught them how to make chocolate chip cookies, butter cookies, chocolate pancakes and tuna patty,” said Bangaoil, a volunteer catechist and formator at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish of the Diocese of Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte province, southern Philippines.
 
But the truth is that she wanted to integrate catechism into the process. 
 
“I first taught them the different cooking utensils and the ingredients. I asked them where the flour came from, the eggs, the butter, etc. We talked about how God gave us all the means to be able to do something good,” said Bangaoil, an assistant professor at the Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas, Manila. 
 
As she and the children were mixing the ingredients, they talked about how they are different but when they are willing to give their best and combine it with others' best, they can produce something good. 
 
“When we started cooking, we were able to liken the fire to the fire that is the Holy Spirit. We talked about how a heart that burns for Jesus can warm many others who feel unloved,” Bangaoil shared. 
 
In between, she quizzed them on fractions, language (translations), housekeeping and science (like how not to cry when peeling an onion, and what melts butter and chocolate).
 
“We all did not notice the time as we were all enjoying ourselves. It was 12:30 afternoon (local time) when we finished cooking our tuna patties. But we could not eat just yet because we did not have rice,” she said.
 
One boy volunteered to ask for rice from the priest’s residence. He came back with a rice cooker with only about four cups of rice. 
 
“Then I asked them 'do you think this is enough?'. They answered in unison, “Share, share na lang, ma'am” (We can share, ma’am).
 
“As I was apportioning the rice, I asked them if they remember that story about Jesus feeding the multitude. Three of them said yes. Over lunch, I related to them the story,” the lay missionary said.
 
After lunch, each one helped clean up the kitchen. For almost four hours, they forgot about their gadgets (cell phones), Bangaoil said.
 
Ten-year-old Mia Kyneburga B. Bayer who is in her 4th grade said she enjoyed the lessons especially when she was asked to be the one to flip the pancakes.
 
According to her, she learned about sharing and that work is done faster when people help each other. Mia said she is excited to attend again.
 
On the other hand, James Paul A. Gudmalin, an 8-year-old boy who attended together with his older brother, said that he enjoyed and that he learned to ‘add chocolate chip toppings on the cookies and to help’. 

 

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