Four Tips to Recruit and Train New Catechists

Just when I think I have a fantastic team of catechists in place someone moves out of town, schedules change, or some other issues arise, and I find myself searching for new catechists, often at the last minute. Recruiting and training catechists is an annual endeavor for every catechetical program. Here are some simple strategies I have used to recruit and train catechists. 1. Find people in your parish with teaching experience. Teachers can make […]

Unique Approaches to Scheduling Catechist Formation

Recently, I came across a couple of parishes that take a unique approach to scheduling catechist formation so that it is integral to their faith formation program and not seen as something optional. One parish that holds their faith formation sessions weekly on Monday evenings designates the first Monday of each month for catechist formation. The young people do not have classes on that evening, but catechists are required to attend. Since the formation sessions occur […]

How to Prepare Catechists for the New Year

As a parent, I know that pleas for volunteers come fast and furious in the fall. These pleas arrive just as we are trying to get our own children to practices, lessons, and school activities on time. When homework, dinner, laundry, and outside job responsibilities are added to this seemingly endless list, I am reminded that my catechists are under a lot of pressure. I ask a lot of these volunteers. As DREs, we must […]

Confident Catechists: How to Prepare for the New Year

During Advent and Lent, the Church prepares for the feasts of Christmas and Easter. Similarly, summer is the season when catechists prepare for the upcoming catechetical year. The more time we take to prepare, the more comfortable and confident we will be echoing the Word of God in our classrooms. Prayer, Prayer, and More Prayer The most important thing we can do to prepare for the new catechetical year is to pray. Through prayer, the […]

Training and Retaining Volunteers

Training and retaining volunteers is a major responsibility of a DRE. In my parish, we have about 200 volunteers assisting in various ways with faith formation, and my staff and I have the responsibility of ensuring that they are equipped to do their ministry. Preliminaries for Volunteers Long before we allow someone to volunteer, he or she fills out a volunteer application, which includes reference checks. In our archdiocese, as in others, we must follow […]

Understanding Church Tradition—Free Catechist Meeting Resource Packet

When journalists report, listeners or readers want to know the source of the information and whether or not those sources are reliable. When it comes to religion, it helps to know the source of the information we are being asked to embrace as the truth. For Catholics, we identify our source as Scripture and Tradition—not two sources, but one single source that comes to us in two ways. Scripture, of course, is the written Word […]

A Catechist’s Bill of Rights – The Right to Formation and Training

Today we hear a lot about people demanding their rights! Fortunately, we live in a country that guarantees those rights according to the Constitution. If there were a “catechist’s bill of rights,” one of those rights would be training and formation and I wish that more catechists would speak up, demanding this right. I’ll never forget my friend Brian Lemoi, Director of the Catechetical Office in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FLA, telling me that, […]

Calling Forth Catechists: A Catechist Role Description

As you set forth to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist, it’s a good idea to have a role description in place to describe what you are calling them TO. Be careful not to make your role description so demanding and lofty that not even Jesus would qualify! Keep it simple and basic so as not to scare anyone away but specific enough to narrow the field so that you’re not […]

Being, Knowing, and Doing

Several people have asked me about a presentation that I’m giving in a number of places called Being, Knowing, and Doing (BKD). The Being, Knowing, and Doing workshop guides catechetical leaders through six mini-inservices that can be easily replicated for use in training parish catechists. In these mini-inservices, I demonstrate how to creatively engage catechists and help them discover, embrace, and proclaim their faith more effectively. Each of the inservices demonstrates how to form catechists in […]

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