Pray for Our Young Catechists

The following thoughts are from George, a young catechist from out West, who sent me an e-mail sharing some of his thoughts about being a catechist. Let’s pray for this thoughtful young man and for all of our young catechists and potential catechists out there!

As you already know, being a teenager has its ups and downs.  Most of the time, I am faced with the challenge of finding scholarships for college and finding time for friends.  My academic schedule is rigorous; I have five advanced/difficult courses in my seven period schedule.  Added on to that, I have to find the time to plan two different lessons for my CCD kids (the primary plan and the secondary plan).  Finding time to do all of these things have been difficult, but I have managed well.  The holy spirit has guided me along this process, and I am glad that things are going well.

One of the things that really hurts me on the inside is the fact that many teens these days don’t have a strong religious base.  When I lecture to the eighth grade confirmation class, I stress the fact that being scrutinized about believing in God shouldn’t lower a person’s religious beliefs.  I have had many times where my fellow classmates at the high school will criticize me for being a religious education teacher.  I am not an athlete, nor am I a popular kid at my school.  My classmates find it entertaining to basically mock me about my love for Jesus and his preachings.  In fact, I don’t even stress that I am a religious education teacher; when a kid asks me what I do on Wednesday afternoons, I tell them the truth.  I pray for those kids often, knowing that the holy spirit hasn’t guided them yet and that God has a plan for me that will be rewarding in the future.  I just wish it could come sooner sometimes. 

After reading your book, I truly believe that the holy spirit wanted me to write this email to you.  It is basically an email of thanks.  Your book, without a doubt, comes from what you believe in the deepest parts of your heart.  In my community of only 5000+ people, I have great difficulty in finding adults who can mentor me and encourage me to continue my actions.  As with many teenagers in the United States, I feel as if the little things that we do never get recognized.  In fact, I am only one of two high school helpers in my religious education program; the other high school helper is my aide in the fourth-fifth grade class.  With this lack of peer/adult support, it is very difficult to keep my efforts alive in wanting to be a mentor/catechist.  However, as I mentioned earlier, the holy spirit continues to be with me, so the fuel to my fire is still burning bright. 

George, may that fire keep burning brightly!

About Joe Paprocki 2678 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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

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