Alas, the catechetical year with my 6th graders ended with more of a whimper than a bang last evening! Suffice it to say that their eagerness to be done with Monday night religious education sessions outweighed any anguish they were feeling about not seeing Mr. Paprocki any more!
Part of the problem stemmed from the usual shenanigans that one encounters when supervising a large group of pre-adolescents attending Mass on a Monday evening after a long day of school and after-school activities/sports. I won’t bore you with details but asking kids to stop doing the Macarena during the closing song might give you a hint as to their level of giddiness.
Following that, I had 15 minutes left to take them back to the classroom to try to bring some closure to our experience together. Needless to say, there was not sufficient time to establish a proper mood for doing so. The best moment was when we thanked our aide, Alex, for his service during the year and gifted him with a token of appreciation which he seemed delighted with. I had just enough time to quickly go through the activity I had planned with them but I was not able to establish the proper mood for it because of their eagerness to leave. I was able to tell them how much I enjoyed teaching them and what a wonderful class they were and we prayed a quick closing prayer together before Alex and I met them each at the door with a handshake, a wish for a good summer, and their bottle of holy water which, I think, they were hoping was going to be some kind of a treat like a donut hole or a candy bar!
I did receive a thank you card and a gift card from one student which was very thoughtful.
And then, just like that, it was over. Thus, is the life of a catechist. A group of young people enters your life…you experience many profound, joyful, and wonderful moments with them, interspersed with the occasional moments of frustration; you see them grow in their knowledge and relationship with the Lord, and then they are gone from your life. And you are left wondering, hoping, and praying that you made a difference.
I am profoundly grateful for the privilege of entering their lives over this past year and I thank the Holy Spirit for walking with me on this journey!