What CAN Go Wrong, DID Go Wrong!

A few days ago, I wrote about ten things than can and will go wrong. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one of those things (#9 to be precise) DID go wrong last night! The catechist who was “on” for leading the class last night (I was scheduled to just sort of “co-pilot”) did not show up. I had nothing planned and a room full of 8th graders to keep occupied for 75 minutes! Luckily for me, a number of the students had to report for rehearsal for the Living Stations of the Cross, leaving me with only 6 students. So, what did I do?

First, I asked for their understanding as I quickly shifted gears and tried to mobilize. I told them that I would never come to class unprepared if I was scheduled to teach…that their time and my time is to be respected. Then, I sent for the office to deliver enough copies of the student book (which we hadn’t been using since we began immediate Confirmation prep) to the room so that we could go over the Lent and Holy Week seasonal chapters. I had no catechist guide with me, so I did indeed have to “wing it” as far as my leading discussion. Being so unprepared goes totally against every fiber in my body but I prayed to the Spirit to guide me and, of course, the Spirit did. I broke up the evening with a 15-20 minute meditation on the Stations of the Cross with the lights turned down. That went very nicely.

All in all, things went well. The kids were very good and very understanding. God gave me enough calm and insight to carry the class and we had some good discussion about Holy Week and the Triduum.

I guess even when we’re not scheduled to be “on” we should prepare!

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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

1 Comment

  1. Joe,
    I always am asked to fill in after my 8th graders have been are done (now). I love the winging it part. A chance to offer ideas and let the students (any age)
    embrace the Sacramental trip they are riding. I do plan from experience and that is the key, experience.
    End of story, retain Catechists at all costs, they have a lot to offer. God Bless.

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