Tf: rush for places in England's two catechetical sunnier schools next year is on. Already more than half of the 950 vacancies have been filled, and the remainder should be snapped up by the end of January. All places for nuns are filled.
A spokesman for the National Catechetical Centre, which is organising the schools in Liverpool and London, said this week : "The demand is terrific but we are still accepting applications from priests and laity.
"We turned away at least 100 applicants for the 1965 schools and it could he more this time."
The Liverpool school is to he held at Christ's College from August 26 to September 2, and the London courses at Dighy Stuart College, Roehampton, from September 4 to September 11.
About half of those attending the schools will be teaching nuns, priests and brothers, and the remainder, lay people. The demand for lay catechists has exploded as more Catholic children attend State schools.
At both Liverpool and London it is going. to he a "oneman show", said the Centre's spokesman. That one man is Fr. Johannes Hofinger, S.J., Director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute, which has its headquarters in Manila, Philippines.
Said the director of the National Catechetical Centre, Fr. Hubert Richards, in London this week : "We are very fortunate to get Fr. Hofinger. We are caught up in a floodtide of interest in catechetics. At present we have more than 500 part-time students attending schools in London, Southampton and Farnborough."
Considering there was a lecturing staff of eight at last year's summer school at Hopwood Hall, Manchester, it would seem that the task was almost beyond Fr. Hofinger. But those who hold this view have not reckoned on the amazing ability of this Jesuit, wl won unanimous praise when he gave four lectures daily to the Belfast summer school in 1964, and three daily to 600 students at St. Peter's College, Birmingham. the same year.
An Austrian, he joined the Jesuits in Innsbruck. where he received his doctorate in 1937 with a thesis on the history of Austrian Catechetics.
On volunteering for missionary work, his superiors appointed him to teach Dogmatic Theology to Chinese seminarians in Peking. With the fall of China to the Communists he went to Manila.
He is internationally famous for his writings on Catechetics and Liturgy and has lectured extensively in East Asia, North America, Africa and Europe. in 1960 he organised a successful International Catechetical Study Week in conjunction with the Eucharistic Congress in Munich. His visits to Belfast and Birmingham in 1964 are part of his ninth world lecture tour. KERRY STF,PHENSON