Combatting the Drop-Off Mentality – Peoria Style

I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Diocese of Peoria, IL, on Saturday (8/2) with about 175 catechetical ministers and was privileged to deliver the keynote and the closing talk for the day. In between, however, I enjoyed sitting in on some workshops delivered by local catechetical ministers.

I really enjoyed participating in a breakout session for catechists of 5th and 6th grade children (since I taught 6th grade last year) that was led by several catechists from St. Patrick parish in Tolono, IL, who did a splendid job of facilitating the session.

PeoriaOne of the issues that came up was parental involvement and the catechists from St. Patrick shared the fact that their parish adopted a policy that requires parents to enter the building at the end of class to pick up their children.  Children are not dismissed and sent out into the parking lot to be picked up by “drive by” parents. As a result, they said, there is increased interaction between catechists and parents on a regular basis. They said that some parents grumbled about this at first but now they see it as part of the routine (and better for the safety of their children as well!)

It’s little things like that that can change the climate of a parish!

Thanks to all the good folks in the Diocese of Peoria who made my day so enjoyable, especially an enthusiastic catechist named Jon who kept me company all day and made me feel so at home! Here’s a look at the crowd being addressed by Mr. Craig Dyke, the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life, who was the master of ceremonies for the day.


About Joe Paprocki 2136 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has more than 30 years of experience in ministry and has taught at many different levels. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Catechist’s Toolbox and Under the Influence of Jesus.

5 Comments on Combatting the Drop-Off Mentality – Peoria Style

  1. Ruth writes:

    We have family catechesis. Parents do the teaching . Parents meet in groups of 5 couples directed by a guia couple. It works good

  2. Lisa writes:

    What a great idea! We have a similar issue with “drive by” parents as well. Do you know how large the program is (how many children this pertains to)?

    Lisa Durant
    Catechetical Coordinator
    St. Michael Religious Education

  3. Tina writes,

    Wow! As a 5th and 6th grade catechist, I’d love to have been present to gain the wealth of knowledge and experience from so many dedicated fellow catechists. Did anyone keep a hard copy of the responses? What a treasure that would be!
    Keep up the great work!

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