Assessment in Catechesis: Introduction

How do we measure effectiveness in catechesis? How do we know whether or not we have achieved our learning outcomes? We may feel as though we’ve had a very good session. One catechist I know judges success on whether or not the participants “had fun.”  That’s not a very reliable method of assessing whether or not someone has been further equipped to live as a disciple of Jesus. In catechesis, we are constantly assessing whether […]

Traditional Prayers – "Family Heirlooms"

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking aside each student and checking to see if he or she has taken to heart (memorized) a certain number of traditional Catholic prayers as spelled out by the parish curriculum. Before I do that, however, I plan to explain to the young people the importance and the value of knowing traditional prayers. Kids sometimes think that memorizing is a waste of time. But taking to heart […]

How Do I Get Them to See?

One of the frustrations I experience as a catechist is trying to get the young people to recognize the gravity of the material we are covering. One week, we were learning about the cross of Jesus. What could be more profound? A couple of students had the giggles that night and couldn’t seem to control themselves. I try to handle discipline problems with an even hand and a calm demeanor, but I admit that inside […]

Defining Liturgical Catechesis

I’m participating in a good discussion about liturgical catechesis at www.catechistconnection.net (site no longer live). Here’s my latest comments on liturgical catechesis in response to someone who defines liturgical catechesis the way I would define lectionary catechesis. “I think most people use the term lectionary catechesis to refer to what you’re talking about (lessons that flow from the Sunday Scripture readings). From my experience, liturgical catechesis is any form of catechesis that prepares one to […]

Stumbling into the Profound

In catechesis, we are always inches away from profound issues. Recently, I was collecting some confirmation assignments when one of my students told me that she hadn’t finished hers because “it was a bad week.” She wanted to know if it would be OK with the DRE if she turned in her material the following week. I urged her to be sure to do so. Several more times, she mentioned that “it was a bad […]

No Happy Medium

Working with eighth graders, I find that there seems to be no happy medium when it comes to their energy level. I can have them simply read from the text, which gets boring and makes them lethargic, or I can engage them in activities (my preference), which gets them overly excited and creates discipline problems! Sometimes, I feel like my own worst enemy: I get the kids engaged, and then I’m doing all I can […]

Ups and Downs

Some weeks, I feel like being a catechist is the greatest gift on earth and that I have influenced the lives of young people in profoundly significant ways. Other weeks, I feel like I’m completely inadequate and that I’m wasting my breath. Suffice it to say, there are ups and downs to being a catechist. What’s your greatest joy in being a catechist? What is the greatest challenge you face as a catechist?  

Planning and Preparation

When catechists ask me what is the most important advice I can offer to increase their effectiveness, I answer in three words: Plan! Plan! Plan! We tend to think that 95 percent of the task of teaching takes place in the classroom. Not so. As a student teacher back in college, I was taught (and I continue to firmly believe) that planning and preparation make up about 70 percent of the task of teaching. The […]

Where Do They Get This From?

One more thing about the Advent Reconciliation Service from last week. As the service was winding down and most of the kids had gone to confess their sins to the priests, I saw one priest walk over to another priest to confess. I quietly directed a couple of kids to look over to see that priests go to confession too. One girl’s eyes nearly popped out and she whispered to me, “I thought priests are […]

What

I mentioned in an earlier post that some behavior issues, especially among the boys, had been an ongoing nuisance. Finally, during the class preparing them for reconciliation, I calmly read the riot act to them. I said, “We are talking about God! We are talking about Jesus! To laugh and make light of things during this class is to make light of our relationship with God.” I went on to explain that, like a coach, […]

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