.- A new Catholic group in the Philippines is helping to bring erstwhile Catholics back to their faith. Founder Henry Siy and his mostly lay companions, known as Defensores Fides, (Defenders of the Faith) have been working mostly on a one-on-one basis, to invite Catholics back.
Priests just can’t do the job by themselves, the group says.
"That's the problem with many of us [Catholics]. We put everything on the shoulders of priests," Siy, 52, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "Worse, we rest our faith solely on priests and we focus on rituals. We are what they call ‘sacramentalized but not evangelized,’” not knowing the true meaning behind the rituals.
Since its founding in 2000, the group offers help in apologetics, which is the defense of the truth of Christian doctrines.
"Many of us have a deep faith but it stops there. We no longer know how to respond if we're asked to defend it," Siy said.
The group offers nine to 12 courses covering the sacred Scripture, sacred and Church tradition, salvation history, the Blessed Mother, the papacy and Christology.
The group came together because of their faith. Siy, a management consultant in the chemical industry, had started a small Catholic bookstore, Totus, six years ago. He invited a handful of regular customers to a meeting to give him an idea of the books they liked, but they decided instead to form a group of "defenders of the faith," reported the Inquirer.
The group, whose members come from a variety of professions, focuses mainly on Catholics who have joined evangelical denominations and the rapidly-growing Mormon church.