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, […]

What's Mortal and What's Venial

In preparing the eighth graders for the Advent Reconciliation Service, I got into a good discussion with them about sin. Kids are full of questions about what “qualifies” as a mortal sin and what can be characterized as a venial sin. I was encouraged by how comfortable they were in asking questions about some very difficult subjects, such as violence, homosexuality, and adultery. One of the boys asked, “Is sex bad?” They all looked astonished […]

Respectful Discipline

In preparing the eighth graders for the Advent Reconciliation Service, I got into a good discussion with them about sin. Kids are full of questions about what “qualifies” as a mortal sin and what can be characterized as a venial sin. I was encouraged by how comfortable they were in asking questions about some very difficult subjects, such as violence, homosexuality, and adultery. One of the boys asked, “Is sex bad?” They all looked astonished […]

Feeling "At Home"

Here’s a good sign that my students are starting to feel at home with me. I put my Advent candles and purple cloth into place on the prayer table in the center of the room. One of the girls said, “I love purple! It’s my favorite color!” She walked over to the prayer table, took one of the purple candles, and carried it back to her desk, where she set it down and admired it […]

How Did I Get Myself Into This? (But I'm Glad I Did)

When I entered a doctor of ministry program a few years back, some people asked me what I would do when I was finished with the program. “Will you be changing jobs? Will you be getting a promotion? Will you teach at a University? Will you be getting a raise?” Well, recently I finished the course work for my D. Min. So what’s the first thing I did? I volunteered to serve as an eighth-grade […]

Welcome to Catechist's Journey!

Catechists are my favorite people. Why? Because catechists are intentional about their faith in a way that many Catholics are not. Catechists are very much aware of the call to live and preach the gospel in word and deed. Catechists are hungry to learn. Catechists are eager to get others excited about their faith in the same way that they are. And catechists like to have fun! I consider myself lucky to be part of […]

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