A few days ago, our Vicariate of Izabal started distributing the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” which has been recently translated into q’eqchi for the first time. This is one of the 22 Mayan languages which are still spoken in Guatemala and the most predominant in our area. It was definitely not an easy task to translate a book of such doctrinal content into a Mayan language. First and foremost q’eqchi is not so rich in vocabulary and secondly due to cultural backgrounds which makes it difficult to explain some doctrinal issues and concepts in this native language.
This project was carried by a group of translators and religious experts from the Alta Verapaz department in Guatemala and took almost 2 years to complete. It was funded by a subcommittee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The text was then revised by q’eqchi priests and finally published in August 2014. A total of 10,000 copies have been distributed so far. This publication has been very well received in all the q’eqchi communities both in Guatemala and Belize. We have now started using the Catechism in all the Q’eqchi communities in our Vicariate.
This publication will be another important asset in the formation of Q’eqchi catechists and lay people who are so dedicated in this ministry. They will be able to study and discuss Catholic doctrine in their native language both in their homes and in community reunions held every week. Many q’eqchi people are participating with great dedication in several missionary activities being held in different Mayan parishes in Izabal.
The Bible was translated in q’eqchi almost 10 years ago. The translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in this Mayan language will certainly help the faith of this ethnic group to mature further. It’s interesting to note that all the photos published in this book were taken by the Maltese volunteers Mark and Ivan Galea who visited our parish a couple of years ago.