Here is a wonderful testimonial about my new book, The Catechist’s Toolbox (Loyola Press). This endorsement was written by Sr. Judy Dieterle, Associate Director of the Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Thanks Sr. Judy!
Over many years now as an Archdiocese we have provided training for new catechists as they step before their first group of learners. Our “handout” packet was continually growing, along with major concerns about destruction of trees and copyright issues around who actually created what we were distributing.
A year ago we did a major revision, refocusing the intent of the program and decided to provide a book for each participant rather than giving out a packet of handouts. The challenge was finding a book that contained what we needed.
This year at the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership one of our coordinators drew my attention to the advanced copy of The Catechist’s Toolbox. I took it to my room overnight, browsed through it, and returned to the booth the following day to order four hundred copies for our training program for new catechists.
Since then I have read the entire book. It offers an easy-to-understand comparison between the tools used in home repair and the tools needed by an effective catechist. It is extremely practical for the new catechist, offering many suggestions on how to transmit the faith to different age groups and learning styles. It offers ideas for praying, for developing learning objectives, for maintaining discipline, for assessment, and much more. The anecdotes and cartoons are enjoyable and keep it very easy to read.
Some of the aspects I like most about The Catechist’s Toolbox are the emphasis from the start on the vocation of the catechist, the necessity of ongoing formation and training along with the encouragement to participate in the certification processes of the diocese, the quotations from the Catechetical Documents, and the Scripture references and prayer at the end of each chapter. We will be using this book to help train the new catechists and each of them will return home with a copy of the book so they can continue to glean its riches. We anticipate training around 400 new catechists this fall and look forward to the time when something of this caliber is available here in Spanish too.