Supporting Our "Rookie" Catechists

Here’s an e-mail from a “rookie” catechist who is getting through his first year with the ups and downs that come with it. Luckily, it sounds like he has good support from his DRE, fellow catechists, and from the catechetical community that gathers here on my blog. Let’s hear it for our rookie catechists!!! Thanks for bringing “new blood” to our ministry! We’re here for you!   

After reading your entry about from February 22nd about “When Being a Catechist Isn’t Easy”, I felt like you were at the Ash Wednesday service ,last night that my 7th grade RE class and I attended.  Two of my best students (in terms of classroom participation) were acting up and even though I was giving them “The Look of Death” from across the pew, they would stop for a few minutes and then pick up right where they left off.  I came to terms with it, talked about it with the class for a few minutes after Mass and left it that I hoped to see much better behavior at our Reconciliation Service next week.   

I am a first year Catechist with a mere 18 classes under my belt.  I am a numbers person by trade with absolutely no formal teaching experience and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your site.  I visit it almost daily as part of my morning reflection.  You and some of the site resources you listed have given me ideas on how I can help both me and my students to not only learn about our faith but to live our faith.   

My DRE is supportive and both my resource Catechist and the other Catechist at my grade level are very helpful.  It’s nice to have another source that I can go to anonymously on the web to get some really good ideas.  THANK YOU  THANK YOU  THANK YOU and keep up the great work.   

P.S. A follow-up e-mail tells me that behavior was better this past week. Praise God!       


About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Ah yes, the “Look of Death”…sometimes it works, sometimes there’s nothing else to do but walk over and say…hello…I would love for you to come and sit next to me! Fear of that kind of embarrassment, in my experience, usually puts a stop to the behavior.

  2. Besides being a “rookie”, this is a hard time of the year. Sometimes being a “veteran” it isn’t any easier. I find the prayer of St. Francis keeps my role alive…as an instrument. I still feel very inadequate… Keep up the good is good work and God is there…

  3. Mary, you’re right…spring fever does tend to creep in during late winter! Good advice about the Prayer of St. Francis. Like the Apostles, all of us are inadequate to carry on the mission of Jesus, but with his saving grace, we are made more than adequate! It is indeed good work!

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