Catechists: A Life-Threatening Vocation?

I mentioned in my post yesterday how, in many places of the world, the catechist is seen as one of the most respected people in the Catholic community because he or she is the one who forms disciples of Jesus.

The flipside of this prominence is that, in some countries where the Gospel is a threat to the political and economic status quo, catechists are seen as a threat and they are often singled out as the primary target of violence and even murder.

Today we celebrate the feast of one such person: Saint Peter Lieou, a Chinese native, a convert to Catholicism, and a catechist who was martyred in 1834 during the persecution of Christianity by the Chinese government.

Most of us catechists in the United States do not take our lives into our own hands when we go to teach. This is not true in some parts of the world. May we take inspiration from those catechists who place their lives on the line to impart a way of life that they and we hold firmly as the way to salvation.

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. Joe

    Another inspiring catechist – Black Elk. He didn’t have things happen to him because he was a catechist; rather, he became a catechist because of what happened to him and his people. As a young teen, he witnessed the massacre at Wounded Knee.

    Some years ago I stood on the hill there, and was so sad. I carry his story along with me and tell it where it makes sense.


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