Reflecting on the Year

Many of us catechists are either finished or close to wrapping up the “year” in religious education. This is a good time to reflect on this past year, asking the Lord to help us learn and grow from the experience. Here is a reflection you may want to use to review your past year. (I’ve written it in such a way that it is best read aloud by an individual who is leading others in the reflection, however, it can also be used in private with minor adaptations).

We often tell our learners to use their imaginations. Now it’s your turn. Use your imagination to reflect on this past year as a catechist.  (Pause.)

First, find a position that feels most comfortable to you. (Pause.) If you like, close your eyes. (Pause.) Now relax your entire body—your neck . . . your shoulders . . . your arms . . . your legs. (Pause.) Feel all the tension flowing out of your body, into the air and away. (Pause.) Now be very still and listen to the rhythm of your breathing. Listen. (Pause.) Feel your breath go in and out, in and out, in and out. (Pause.) Now let’s begin. (Pause.)

In your imagination see yourself in the place where you’ve been teaching this past year. (Pause.) Imagine that you are there all alone, slowly walking about the room, recalling the times that you were teaching. (Pause.) Imagine that you can hear the echoes and see the shadows of the experiences you shared with your participants over the weeks and months. (Pause.)

Imagine that in the midst of this remembering, Jesus enters the room. As he comes in, you go to meet him. He’s obviously glad to see you. Listen to him tell you how glad he is to be with you. (Pause.)

Jesus asks you what you were just doing. Tell him that you’ve been thinking about this past year and your service as a catechist.

Listen as Jesus thanks you for being his disciple and for sharing his Good News with others. (Pause)

Jesus asks you, “What moments in your teaching this past year do you feel best about?” (Pause) Take some time to recall these moments and share them with Jesus. Tell him why these moments were special. (Pause)

Tell Jesus what you are most thankful for as you recall this past year. (Pause)

Jesus asks you, “What were your biggest struggles this year?” (Pause) Take some time to share with Jesus what you struggled with. (Pause) Listen as Jesus responds. (Pause)

Talk to Jesus about specific individuals in your group. Tell him about the gifts you recognize in them. Tell him what special needs some of them have that you are concerned about and how you tried to reach them. (Pause)

Jesus asks you how you are doing with your own faith life. Talk to him about where you feel your relationship with him is at this point in your life. (Pause)

Ask Jesus for the grace to grow closer to him. (Pause)

Jesus asks you if you will consider serving as a catechist again. Thank him for this special invitation and calling and talk to him about how you would like to respond at this time. (Pause)

If you feel ready to respond to this call, tell Jesus what specific help you will need to grow as a catechist in the coming year. (Pause)

If you are not ready to return as a catechist, ask Jesus for his help in discerning how you can best use your gifts to serve others. (Pause) Listen as Jesus speaks to you. (Pause)

Jesus reminds you that the Holy Spirit is always with you to guide you.(Pause.)

You’ve discussed a lot with Jesus already, so now just rest in his love. Words are no longer needed. Be still together. Know how much he cares for you. (Pause.)

You recognize that it’s time to go now. Thank Jesus for the gift of this past year and for this time you just spent together. (Pause.)

Gradually bring yourself back from your reflection.(Pause.)

End this prayer time by giving praise to the Trinity: “Glory be to the Father…”


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. Thanks for this reflection, Joe. I love it! I’m sending it home to my catechists. Luanne

  2. Thanks, Joe!

    As always, great and I look forward to sharing with my catechists.


  3. Luanne and Terry, I’m so glad this will be useful for your catechists! Let me know what kind of feedback you get from them.

  4. Joe, How providential. I have my wrap-up meeting with my catechists tonight and I am most grateful for this reflection. I think it is just what they need to hear. Thank you for putting the right words together.
    Easte Peace!
    Sr. Constance

  5. Sr. Constance, thanks for the message…happy I can “team” with you to serve your catechists.

  6. Thank you, Joe, for this special reflection.
    I always have a post-year gathering for my “first year” catechists. I hope to incorporate this reflection into my session with them.

    Take care,


  7. Joe,

    This was my first year as a catechist. I was assigned 4th grade. Co- taught 20 kids with another rookie teacher. We managed. I am going back, feel called but your reflection sure helped. Thank You


  8. Candace, I am so glad that I was able to be a part of your reflection on your first year. I’m sure you did nore than just “manage!” Get a good rest over the summer and get ready to come back renewed! -joe

  9. Joe,
    Hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you for sending all of your good thoughts and wonderful and ideas and reflections. I appreciate it very much.

  10. Diane, thanks for the message. I have fond memories of working with you and the DREs of the River Oaks Cluster.

  11. Hi Joe! This Saturday I am having a luncheon for my
    catechists and those who help in our program. I have purchased a present for each catechist/helper and I will place your beautiful reflection with it.

    Mary Anne

  12. Sr. Mary Anne, thanks for letting me know about your plans for gifting your catechists and helpers this Saturday. I hope they enjoy the reflection. It was good to see you at NCCL. Have a good summer!

  13. Dear Joe: thank you for this reflection,it help me a lot.It was time in the reflection when I cry and time when I was laugh of the good time I spent with the kids and jesus. Thank You and God bless.

  14. Karina,
    Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you found this helpful. Hopefully there was more laughing than crying (unless of course they were “good” tears)!

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