Catechist Witness Talks

On Sunday, I attended Mass at St. Emily parish in Mount Prospect, immediately before my Theology on Tap presentation. After Communion, a young man (probably in his twenties), came up to the microphone and gave a witness talk about his calling as a catechist. He did an excellent job of talking about the need for catechesis and the spiritual growth that comes with serving as a catechist. He also extended a powerful invitation to folks to consider the call to serve as a catechist.

As he spoke, I felt a sense of pride, listening to someone articulate what most of us catechists firmly believe about our ministry and our calling. I wanted to jump out of my seat and applaud him. I settled for sitting up tall in my seat, proud to know that the ministry I love was being so eloquently spoken about.

Many parishes use these types of witness talks (usually about 3 minutes long) as part of their recruitment of new catechists. I think it is not only a very effective recruitment strategy but it also serves to elevate the awareness of the vocation of the catechist in the parish.

If your pastor or DRE invites you to give a witness talk about serving as a catechist, please consider this wonderful opportunity to talk about a calling that is near and dear to the heart of a half-million people in the United States: the calling to serve as a catechist!

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. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the affirmation of this approach. I am going to try it this year for the first time(this coming weekend!). Is there an outline of points the witness talks should cover?

    • HI Sue. I would simply ask them how they became a catechist, what they enjoy most about the ministry, what the greatest challenges and rewards are, and why they would encourage others to consider becoming a catechist. Keep it simple! I hope this helps.

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