Thank God for Catechist Aides

On Monday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the first catechist meeting of the upcoming religious education year. The meeting went very well and there is a wonderful spirit among the catechists and staff. The pastor and DRE offered warm welcomes and the Deacon and his wife offered a very helpful formation session on understanding the Bible with a focus on the Old Testament.

I also had the pleasure of meeting my catechist aide. Most of the aides are high school students, however, my aide, Kris, is a professional 3rd grade teacher in a public school! She is very excited to be participating in the RE program and I am very excited to have her as an aide. Here is the e-mail I sent her as a followup:

Kris, thanks for sending me your contact info. I look forward to working with you. While the high school aides are nice to work with, I like the idea of having another adult in the room to team with.

I will rely on you a great deal, not just for taking care of business such as distributing materials and taking attendance, but for helping to facilitate learning, especially when we do group work which requires supervision and input for the kids.

If you’re comfortable with it, I will often ask you to share your thoughts and experiences concerning various topics. The more they hear from adult witnesses, the more they will feel encouraged to do so themselves.

I think your most important job will be to just develop a rapport with them…not trying to be their best friend, but establishing lines of communication that express the fact that we respect them, want to talk with them, and want to listen to them.

I will most likely send you an e-mail each week with some thoughts, ideas, and info about the upcoming session. Feel free to share any insights and suggestions along the way.

I look forward to working with you, Kris, as we embark on this spiritual journey with our 8th graders! Thanks! -joe

Let’s hear it for all of our catechist aides who are a very important presence in our catechetical settings!

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

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