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 […]

How Will You Grow This Coming Year?

I’m enjoying watching all the new life bursting forth from the earth this spring—a reminder that nature seeks to grow! As part of God’s creation, it is in our nature to grow as well. Unlike plant life, however, we can be tempted to ignore that natural tendency. Such is the nature of the deadly sin of sloth: it is not just laziness; it is spiritual laziness. Sloth causes us to be distracted from that which […]

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 […]

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 […]

Challenges and Successes of Being a Catechetical Leader

Every year as a Director of Religious Education has its own unique challenges and successes. I keep telling myself that if I’m doing the same thing as the year before, then I’m doing it wrong. Here are some continual challenges I face and the ways I have found success amidst them. Challenge 1: Recruiting Catechists I have a large program, and even though I have some very dedicated catechists, I also have an average turnover […]

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, […]

Thank You, Rochester, NY!

I spent a wonderful day in Rochester, NY, yesterday. In the afternoon, I met with about 100 catechetical leaders and in the evening with about 40 catechists – both times focusing on the concept of sacramentality and how our sacramental preparation efforts can be more evangelizing. Thanks to Jonathan Schott, Consultant for Catechist Faith Formation for the Diocese of Rochester, and to all of the staff of the catechetical office for organizing the events and […]

Joe’s PowerPoints for Catechist Formation and Parent Meetings

In my travels around the country, I have many people ask if they can get a hold of my PowerPoint presentations to use for their own parish, whether it be catechist formation or parent meetings. Occasionally, I am able to share but it’s impossible for me to respond to the many requests I receive. Now, however, you can acquire FOUR of my PowerPoint presentations (scripts included) to use in whatever setting you need them for! […]

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