Catechist Recruitment via Webinar

Like in many parishes, the faith formation department at my parish is challenged to find enough catechists each year. We’ve held meetings and created a webpage with videos, job description, and links to useful resources. We’ve explained our need for catechists (and the benefits of being a catechist) in a family e-newsletter, the parish bulletin, and on Facebook. We’ve posted colorful flyers and asked for volunteers via the parish Twitter account. Whether we write long […]

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 […]

Now Here: The Effective Catechetical Leader Series

Just about 20 years ago, I was minding my own business at the Office for Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Chicago when Loyola Press approached me and asked me to contribute to a new series they were working on in collaboration with NCCL called The Effective DRE Skills Development Series. Not only did the series go on to touch the lives of numerous catechetical leaders, the contact with Loyola Press eventually led to an invitation to […]

Supporting Parents When Children Are Preparing for the Sacraments

Perhaps the question I am asked most when I’m on the road giving presentations is, “What can we do to get parents more involved?” Even Pope Francis issued a call for parents to “come out of exile” to educate their children. From start to finish—from the first day that parents bring their children to religious education until the day they complete their formal formation—we should be speaking to parents, not about how they can pitch […]

Faith Formation Isn’t Self-Improvement

You may hear parents or others in your faith community talk about catechesis like it’s a self-improvement course. While following Jesus and growing closer to God will hopefully improve our lives, the goal is not self-improvement. The entire message of Salvation through Jesus Christ is that we are incapable of saving ourselves and are in need of a divine intervention, which means a renouncing of the self. Our destiny is not to become a better […]

Possibly the Most Important Paragraph in a Church Document: RCIA #75

Several years ago, a campaign began to invite former Catholics to return to the Church: Catholics Come Home. But did you ever ask, “What are folks coming home to? And why? What am I doing to help welcome them to my parish faith community?” People stop coming to church for a variety of reasons. The question is, are we inviting them back to the very same experience that caused them to leave in the first place? […]

Change of Perspective in Evaluating Faith Formation Programs

For many faith formation leaders, this time of year is filled with the critical evaluation of our programs, our curriculum, and our catechetical efforts over the past 9–12 months. We invite feedback from catechists, parents, and sometimes the students as well. We assess our successes and our challenges, seeking to adjust and improve what we do as we plan for next year. As a busy DRE, I know I often used the same evaluation tools […]

Transitions and Connecting to the Community

Some years ago I ended a period of ministry at a parish and school that had become my spiritual home. During the time I served there, I had developed many relationships with catechists, parents, students, and staff, and I had participated in many affirming and community-building endeavors over the years. I had felt called to serve this particular place, but it was time to serve in new ways. I was not quite sure what the Lord […]

The Parent Panel for Parent Meetings

A few years ago, I posted about an approach I’ve been taking for parent sacramental prep meetings, particularly First Eucharist. Basically, I’ve been asking the catechetical leader to recruit four or five parents from the previous year’s First Eucharist class to form a panel that I can interview about their experience of bringing their children to the sacraments. I have had nothing but great success with this format as these parents eagerly give witness to […]

Finding God Kindergarten Now Available

The wait is over! Finding God Kindergarten has arrived! For over a decade now, the Finding God phenomenon has been touching the lives of young people in grades one through eight in parish religious education programs and Catholic schools. Now, Finding God Kindergarten completes the picture! Jesus famously told his disciples not to hinder future disciples—the “little children”—from coming to him. Loyola Press has always taken this charge seriously. It was with little children in mind […]

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