Welcome to the Online Retreat for Catechists: The Spirituality of the Catechist

Welcome to this “little getaway!” This Online Retreat for Catechists – The Spirituality of the Catechist is an opportunity for those of us in the catechetical ministry to be renewed in spirit and to deepen our bonds with the Lord and with one another.

There’s no need to register. There’s no fee. You’ve arrived at this virtual retreat house, so come on in and find out what it’s all about! Start by clicking on and viewing the following brief video clip.

Here’s a bit more about the 6 themes we will be looking at over the next 6 weeks:

In 1993, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (an office of the Vatican), issued a document titled Guide for Catechists. In that document, the bishops of the Church spelled out the spirituality of the catechist. In a nutshell, that spirituality, which is grounded in the spirituality of the laity that flows from baptism, is characterized by the following 6 characteristics:

 

·         An Openness to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) –This is an openness to a living Word – a Person – to whom we desire deeply to invite others to encounter. Our desire is to be transformed by this relationship and to invite others to this saving transformation.

 

·         An Openness to the Church – Our call to serve as catechists comes from the Church. We’re not lone rangers…we are sent on a mission that’s not our own, and we’re equipped with a message that has been entrusted to us.

 

·         An Openness to the World –The Holy Spirit was poured forth so that we could proclaim the Gospel to all nations. With that in mind, catechists are called to be uniquely in touch with the needs of the world – especially the “world” of those we teach.

 

·         A Coherence and Authenticity of Life – As catechists, we don’t teach a subject or a skill set. We invite others into a way of life that defines who we are. Being a catechist is not a “hat” that we put on and take off. The simple fact is, we can’t teach what (or who) we don’t know. That means that we have to strive to authentically know Jesus, to know his message, and to know the Catholic way of life that leads to him.

 

·         A Missionary Zeal – the vocation of the catechist takes the baptismal call to proclaim God’s Word and heightens its intensity. For catechists, the desire to share Christ with others is powerful, it’s almost overwhelming.  We can’t help but to preach the Gospel to others! Our hearts burn within us and we’re compelled to share faith with others. As a result, our spirituality HAS to keep that flame burning.

 

·         A devotion to Mary – Good catechists learn from other catechists. We have the best example to learn from in our Mother, Mary. She was the first teacher of Jesus and the first disciple. Mary is a “living catechism” and a “model of catechists.” The spirituality of ALL the baptized is enriched by devotion to Mary, but, as catechists, our ministry is especially enriched by devotion to the Blessed Mother.

These six characteristics of the spirituality of the catechist are going to serve as the focus for this online catechist’s retreat. Each week, we’re going to delve more deeply into one of these 6 characteristics, reflect on them and apply them to our own lives and our own vocation as catechists.

Take a look at the Guide for Catechists, Section II, 6-10, to see how the document itself talks about the spirituality of the catechist.

Week 1 Exercise

For this first week (June 8-14), let’s just get to know one another! Please introduce yourself by clicking on the “Comments” link at the end of this post (and then click on “add one now”) and, in 75 words or less, share the following:

  •  a first name/username/or initials
  • your ministry/position
  • your general location
  • years in this role
  • then, complete the following sentence: “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to __________________.” Then, choose one of the following to complete the sentence and explain how it describes some aspect of your spiritual life.
    • your patron/confirmation/favorite saint
    • your favorite Church hymn
    • your favorite liturgical feast/season

Examples

“Hi, I’m Ben. I’m a 5th grade catechist in Wyoming and I’ve been doing this for 11 years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to my Confirmation saint, Saint Peter. I want so badly to be Jesus’ “best” disciple, but I continually find ways to screw it up! J

 “Hi, I’m Kirsten and I’m in my first year as a coordinator of religious education at a parish in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to the hymn “Here I Am , Lord.” I feel that God is calling me to this ministry and I want to respond with eagerness and enthusiasm. I want to do God’s will.”

“G’day fellow catechists! My name is Sara and I’m a youth minister in Australia! I’ve been in youth ministry for 6 years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to Good Friday. My position is being eliminated and I’m experiencing the “death” of what I love so dearly. I still have hope, though, because I’ve applied for a position at the diocesan youth ministry office and I’ve got my fingers crossed!”

P.S. Feel free to comment on one another’s introductions! You’ll notice that I’ve added a feature that allows you to reply/comment directly on someone else’s comment! I’ll be moderating vigilantly to keep our conversation current and flowing!

Recommendation: For a good introduction to the concept of spirituality, I recommend The Inner Compass by Margaret Silf

About Joe Paprocki 2291 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.

321 Comments on Welcome to the Online Retreat for Catechists: The Spirituality of the Catechist

  1. Hi everyone!! My name is Carlos and I’m a 6th grade Catechist in Massachusetts. This past year was my first year in this ministry. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the Lenten season. I feel like I’ve been driven out into the desert to truly contemplate on how to proceed down this new path and to challenge myself in growing as a catechist.

  2. Hi, I am Sharon from California. I just finished my first year of teaching level one CCD. That is 1st and 2cd grade children. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the hymn “Rock of Ages” I am holding on and tying not to get washed away with all of the clutter in my life. I like Lent and Easter best of all the seasons.

    • Hi Sharon! Your comment about getting “washed away with all of the clutter” really resonates with me!! I have four boys, 2 to 15, and three part time jobs! I think the clutter can be things like laundry, work, dishes, etc. that we’re overwhelmed with. It can also be all of the things that try to distract us from focusing on our prayer life – tv, music, over-booked schedules, and our stress in general! I’m hoping that this retreat will help me to focus on my spiritual life each week and take a step away from all of that other “clutter”.

      Kim

  3. Hi, my name is Deb. Last year was my first year as a Catechist. I teach second grade. I’ve been a teacher’s aide for the past 10 years. My Spiritual Life can also be described with the hymn “Here I am Lord” because I feel I have much to share but need His help. I look forward to this retreat and sharing ideas with fellow Catechists.

    • You and I seem to be in a similar boat, deb. I can relate to this hymn as well. I felt that way last year when I decided to become a Catechist. It was like, “Ok Lord, I’ll do it, but boy am I going to need your help. 😉

      I pray often to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and to St. Charles Borromeo for his intersession as well.

    • I just wrote a reply and agree with his reply to you. HELP ME LORD………I come to do Your will. Sharon Ann

    • I really think that “Life’s Clutter” is one of the many obstacles that I (and lots of people) need to overcome. Hopefully, if we all pray for one another we will find a calm that helps to ground us and we won’t be swept away.

  4. Hi, my name’s Lillian and I have been a catechist for 4 years. I’m going back next year to repeat teaching 8th grade. It’s an incredible year, where students really explore themselves and their relationship with God and church. It actually teaches me more than them. It’s a lot of work but it’s wonderful. May our Blessed Virgin Mary, with her son Jesus Christ, continue to lead me in the right direction in teaching our kids and helping me in my relationship with them and God.

    • Lillian,

      I really respect those of you that teach the older grades – 6, 7, 8. In the younger grades, although there are always exceptions, the children tend to be more open to what we have to say. They are still at the age of “wanting to please” the teacher and they cooperate fairly well. I will look forward to hearing from you and others who work with the older kids. I taught 7th and 8th grade each for one year. It was the most difficult of all my catechist years! I think you have to have a certain talent for getting through to the older children. I know I can learn a lot from you!

      Kim

      • Hi to anyone who teaches the older grades. Besides being the DRE, I also teach 9th grade and Confirmation in the 10th. I live to serve so if you need anything from me, I’d be happy to help.

        Linda

        • Hi Linda,
          I’m in my 35 yr of teaching which has been 30 yrs. of 7th & 8th graders and 4 yrs. of PSR in 8th. I love the kids because everything changes every day with them…never a boring day. One of my theories is answer questions truthfully, and if I don’t know the answer, find the answer but be honest if you don’t know it. They constantly ask questions about their faith, their Church. They hunger to know. Sharing your own faith experiences leads them to see theirs and the miracles in their lives, big/small.

    • Lillian ~
      I have been blessed to be able to work with this age group for over 20 years.
      Though “challenging” , God reminds me constantly that His Word will not
      return empty. Though we may rarely see the fruits of our labor, know that
      He has graced us to work with these young adults who are seeking the Truth,
      which is Jesus. I also believe God has given me this gift of teaching in order
      that I may grow from them. I have a saying on my desk at school and at home
      which reads: IF NOT US, WHO? IF NOT HERE, WHERE? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
      IF NOT FOR THE KINGDOM, WHY? DARE THE DREAM! I also have it displayed on the wall of my classroom.
      God Bless You!
      Dorothy

  5. My name is Christian, I’m a 6th grade catechist in Greenville, SC. Before that I taught RCIA and adult classes. I’d compare my spiritual life to St. Francis de Sales, who evangelized non-Catholic Christians. A major goal in class is to prepare the kids to explain their faith to their fundie/conservative non-Catholic peers.
    Favorite saint: Isaac Jogues
    Favorite hymn: “When I Survey the Wondrous” Cross
    Favorite season: Advent

    • Christian, I can relate. While my challenge is not conservative non-Catholic peers, I feel that my primary challenge is working within the more secular mentality. While not unique to a city, I think my challenge is common for a metropolitan area in the sense that kids can easily fall into the trap of the fast-moving convenience of secular society that doesn’t leave time for faith. I wonder what common themes exist between our goals?

      • “I wonder what common themes exist between our goals?”
        Based on what I see at our blogs, we both want the kids to understand why they are Catholic and not just Christian.

        I forgot to say in my first post: I’ve taught 6th grade for 5 years; before that, 5 years of RCIA and adults.

      • I like it for both lyrics and tune. It’s something the congregation sounds good singing. BTW, the words are by Isaac Watts, a great hymnodist.

        Some of Watts’ other work:

        Joy to the world!
        Jesus shall reign where

    • Christian,
      I have spent time in the same realm interacting with many “non-Catholic believers” and have enjoyed changing their impression of what a Catholic is. My oldest son, who by the way will be starting at Furman in the fall , has been asking a lot of the questions about our Catholic faith. I am curious to see how things progress when he gets to school.

      I find that many of the children who have been challenged by their friends are the most fertile minds for our teaching. Once they begin to question it gives us a chance to help them understand the richness of our faith and particularly the Eucharist.

      • You are right…often all we have to do is show that on some topic the Church has a reasonable and sometimes surprising understanding of Scripture to get someone percolating.

        Our parish, St. Mary’s, has a relationship with the Newman Society at Furman, IIRC.

        • I am interested to see how the college experience impacts my son’s spiritual life and Catholic faith. I would love to get him connected with a Catholic community there at Furman but I want him to find his own way so I am praying hard!!!

        • BTW, there’s a college group at St. Mary’s as well. My son who attends College of Charleston goes to their meetings when he’s in town. It’s pretty active, they had about 20 at Moday night’s meeting.

  6. My name is Mary, from Missouri and I have been the Confirmation director for the past 8 years. The process of education for confirmation will change a little this year. I too liken my spirtual life to Lent, even at 48 years of age, I am constantly reassessing my relationship with God. I need all the help I can get when it comes to catechesis. I never feel like I am worthy to teach these young minds.

    • Mary,
      I am curious to know about how you are changing the Confirmation process after many years. I am in a new parish and am trying to develop a legitimate program. I keep reminding the parents that it is about quality and not quantity although I am adding a good bit to the very basic program that existed.

      I imagine that Peter felt the same way on Pentecost. Fortunately, God is able to use the faultiest of vessels to do great things. PTL

        • Christian,

          I start talking about the Holy Spirit in 6th grade too. We did a lesson on Confirmation, since many have older siblings and wanted to know more about what was happening.

      • Joe K.
        I haven’t done the Confirmation itself for quite some time and it changed in between. Our diocese standardized the age of reception to 10th grade more than five years ago under our then Bishop Carlson (now Archbishop Carlson). More recently I have done post-Confirmation classes (11th and 12th) which drop off precipitously in attendance, but have the advantage of being the ones that really want to be there (or their families are really insistent.)

        My grandson was recently confirmed, in the parish we are in now, and felt that the actual classes (which brought together the students from the public and Catholic high schools) were too much process (what you wear and do) and not enough doctrine. But that is only the impression that I got from him, since I wasn’t there (teaching my own 6th grade at the same time.)

      • We are changing from a mandate from the diocese. It feels to us that the Bishop wants the sacrament not the process. We used “Confirmed in a Faithful Community” and this curriculum mimics RCIA. We can still use this curriculum but only a part of it. We did a lot of community building activities and community service which will be serverely shortened. I think another Mary is also answering on this thread, which is okay.

  7. Hello! My name is Peggy. I live in southeast Wisconsin. I was a 2nd grade catechist for 8 years; just finishing up my first year as DRE for our parish. We have over 300 students from grades K4 through 8th. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Mother Teresa, who said she saw the face of Christ in everyone. I try always to remember her words and example in my daily encounters.

    • Isn’t it interesting to see the face of Christ in the child and then to “run” into their parents and have to remind yourself of Mother Theresa’s word’s? Or to have a “run in” with a child and then see the pain in the face of the parent. What a fascinating job we have as ministers to the families we serve.

  8. Hi everyone!
    My name is Jenn. It’s my first year as a Director of Religious Education at 2 parishes that are clustering. I’m in the Diocese of Rochester NY.
    “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to” the disciplies waiting in the upper room for the Holy Spirit to come. I’m new at my job so I have a lot of knowledge from my Masters program (like the disciples after Jesus had taught them a lot of knowledge). Now I’m learning to do ministry on my own without all of those mentors I had in my program. I’m learning to rely on the Holy Spirit to take care of things that make me nervous! And the Holy Spirit is teaching me to trust.
    My favorite quote by St. Catherine of Siena is “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

    • When I started working as a DRE, which by the way was at the same time I started working on my Master’s in Religious Education, I was told it would take three years before I felt comfortable and dare I say in control, with the Religious Ed program at my first church. Boy were they right. It was a true test of my faith. But the most consistent thing through the years has been the Holy Spirit. Here i am again trying to rebuild the program at my new job and I have to keep telling myself that the Spirit will provide. We are trying to function more in the cluster model so I can imagine the challenges you face with working in two churches. God Bless you! And don’t forget – He will provide!

    • Jenn
      Just curious, what parish in the Rochester Diocese? I earned my MA in theology at St. Bernards and worked in a lovely parish in Shortsville for 10 years as the PA before moving back to Massachusetts.

  9. Hello ~ I am a first grade & 6th grade teacher in Illinois. I have taught RE to 1st grade for the past 3 years and this year was my first year teaching to 6th grade. I enjoy it very much. Teaching children about God and Jesus is rewarding on many levels. I look forward to this online course and do hope that I am enlightened with many new fun and interesting things to include in my fall teachings ! God bless!

  10. Hi I am Judy, this past year was my first year as a Catechist. I taught the second graders and prepared them for First Holy Communion. I was scared that I would not be able to get through to them, what I really needed to get across. That they were really receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord. One of the deacons in our Parish was very helpful to me. They all received the Holy Eucharist and I think they all did pretty well. Sometimes it was very hard keeping their attention in class. That scared me somewhat. My spiritual life right now is trying to be Christ like and trying to see Jesus in everyone and hoping that everyone see Him in me. Sort of like st Peter I believe. I live in the Chicago area, in a fairly big parish of 3600 families. We have about 1450 students in our RE program.

    • “Sometimes it was very hard keeping their attention in class. That scared me somewhat.”

      That’s the Catechism challenge of a lifetime, isn’t it? I must say it gets easier each year, thank ya, Jesus!

    • Hi Judy,

      I teach Third Grade (First Communion year) as well and was scared to death to teach this sacrament as well. But the one thing I learned is that no matter what I teach, each and every one of them picks up someting that I have taught. The most important thing I feel is that they know that God loves them and that by receiving his body and blood each week they become closer and closer to HIM. I am sure you are doing a fine job and seeking out help and guidance is a wise thing to do.

      • Hi Polly,

        Thank you so much for the encouragement. I realized at the end of the year, that indeed, that each and everyone of them did absorb some of what I taught.
        It was so wonderful to see those little children receive their Holy Communion for the first time.

  11. This came from Al but ended up on another page somehow (joe):

    dral 06.08.09 at 1:29 pm

    I am Al and I have been a catechist for more than 50 years.
    My spiritual growth is somewhere between nascent and getting ready
    for the end. I am addicted to teaching and see my mentor as Paul, my patron.
    My prayer life is centered in the Liturgy of the Hours. Looking forward to this.

  12. Here’s another catechist, Bobby, who somehow ended up on the wrong page…(joe):

    Robert (Bobby) Reyes 06.08.09 at 11:47 am

    Hi I

  13. Hi, I am late getting to this today which exemplifies my average day as DRE at a church here in the north hills of Pittsburgh. I am concluding my first year here and this is my 6th year as a DRE. Spiritually I am in an interesting place because at the end of the year I am just plain tired. But this year is different because my oldest son is graduating from high school so we are in un-chartered waters as a family. Joe, in listening to your clip on spirituality i can definitely relate to the spiritual uniqueness that we all have. As a parent my spirituality is definitely affected by what goes on at home. My home life tends to color my teaching here at the church. Finding balance is often a challenge. With three children of my own I strive to stay in touch with them while working a sometimes overwhelming schedule. So I have a personal motive for being on this retreat as well as a professional one. I hope to get our catechists more involved in a focused approach to spiritual development. On my office wall hangs Mother Teresa’s prayer reminding me that “We can not do great things, only small things with great love!”

  14. Hello all, my name is Juana. This is my 3rd year as a mentor for confirmation. I’m located in the Chicago, Illinois area.

    • Dear Juana,
      I am sending you a big virtual hug . . .
      Thomas Merton said that just the desire to please God, is enough . . . here is his prayer that helps me when I am feeling empty and stuck:

      MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
      I do not see the road ahead of me.
      I cannot know for certain where it will end.
      Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
      But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
      And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
      I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
      And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
      Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
      I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

      • EllenA, Thank you so much for that hug 🙂 and your kind words. I pray that God gives you a hug and that he blesses you today and always.
        Your sister in Chris
        Juana

      • I have that Merton prayer hanging on the wall of my office. It’s a good reminder that we don’t need the directions clearly laid out before us to be able to follow God on the right road.

        I’m Denise from the Chicago area. I’ve been a catechist for 11 years, mostly working with junior high.

      • That was beautiful, I can feel the embrace and prayer going to GOD, you said alot of what I feel like and I know we are going in the right path toward the road Jesus paved for us. God Bless

      • This has been one of my favorite prayers ~ and life saver ~ for years. I have it in a frame on my desk at home ~ right beneath the desk lamp!
        Thanks for sharing it with others!
        P.S. This prayer is a good one to give 8th graders who are graduating!

      • OH MY! That prayer just captures everything that I feel! I am going to print it out about 5 copies and put it everywhere I look–my purse, my cubicle at work, on my fridge, in my bible and I may use it for my class next school year!

      • Thanks so much for sharing that beautiful prayer. I will definitely share that with my 8th graders this year as they approach Confirmation.

  15. Hi! My name is Rebecca. I have volunteered with Childrens ministries for 10 years and am in my second year as DRE @ SSMJC Parish in Carlinville illinois. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Lord of the Dance. “I am the Lord of the Dance said he. I’ll lead you all wherever you may be. I will lead you all in a the dance said he. I love my job. It is long hours and never finished but the good LORD had proven, if I am open for him to work through me amazing things will happen. There are great things and a better understanding of our faith going on right now in the Catholic church and I am blessed to have this experience.

    • Rebecca, the description of your spiritual life inspired me. “Let God lead” will be my mantra this summer! I agree we are blessed to be a member of the Catholic church during this time.

  16. Hi! I’m LJ from PA. I will be entering my third year as a catechist this fall, teaching 7th grade. I love the enthusiasm and curiosity of this age group and am looking forward to expanding my skills through this website.
    My favorite liturgical hymn hails back to the days when Latin was sung–“O Bone Jesu.” Not only is the music stirring, the words recall how great was Jesus’s love that He gave his life for us. A personal goal of mine is to know Jesus more intimately.

  17. Hi I’m Susan, I live on the southcoast of England & this year I have been an RCIA catechist after spending 8 years as a FHC catechist. I use to work in a Catholic Primary school but about 3 years ago we discovered that we were to be parents again for the 4th time after a 14 yr gap. Rachel was born New Years day 2007, she has Downs Syndrome. One of our boys also has severe learning difficulties. We live our lives in a sureness of God’s love . But at the moment my spiritual life can best be summed up by ‘ Lord all the world belongs to you & you are always making all things new ………. turning the world upside down’
    I need to let God in & stop controlling everything myself.
    Susan

    • Dear Susan,

      God Bless you! It sounds like you are letting Him in already . . . big time.
      I can so relate to trying to control things – we need direction, purpose, active participation in this faith/life journey (I think of the Apostles and Saints, they were not sitting around on their bums waiting for grace to wash over them)
      but it’s so difficult to not hog the control board.
      The balance between letting go and active participation is certainly as challenging as walking a tightrope.

      We are blessed with a large family (10 kids). Everyday I thank God for them, but also worry about HOW are we doing this? And even though they are mostly grown (youngest 12) life is full of many critical yet mundane tasks, conflicts, drama, etc. Yet without them life would be more like a cardboard cut-out . . . less tears for sure, but also less joy and laughter.

      At times I can feel the tension that I have built up with over-concern and control. It is a blessing when I can REALLY step out of the circle, stop, and LET IT GO.

      I think of the Gospel passage (Matthew, Luke) when Jesus reminds us of our value in his Father’s eyes :”Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

      Many days, I could spend the WHOLE day reciting this! 🙂

      • Hi Ellen , thanks for your words of encouragement, I’m very fond of the scripture that you shared. You are very blessed with all your children. Sounds like you’re doing great as parents. I never realised as a child what a job being a parent is ! Couldn’t do it without God in our lives.
        Susan

  18. a first name/username/or initials: Franco
    your ministry/position: Catechist (currently 8th grade)
    your general location: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, White Plains, New York
    years in this role: Completed 21 years
    then, complete the following sentence:

      • Thank you Henry! I love teaching. My wife tried to get me to retire and I begged her not to take this pleasure away from me. It’s been my ministry for most of my adult life. In your intro you mention that you are in Westchester County…which town or city?

  19. Hi: I am Dorothy from North Caarolina and I have been a catechis for 25 years and I am still learning. I have taught almost all the grades over the years. Our parish has gone through several changes in the past year and if I didn’t believe “I will trust while I wait because my God is never late”, I might not teach another year. We are a small parish and struggling as most of our children are spanish orgin and language isn’t a problem with the kids as much as it is with the parents. My spiritual life right now is probabley like St. Paul and Peter combined, asking for answers but not always listening.

      • I agree with you on the kids being reluctant in speaking up.For us, I think that is because their expouser to our faith is only on our faith formation days. Not all of the parents go to Church on a regular bases or say prayers at home.

      • If there are any Hispanic organizations in the area such as The Guadlupeanos (not sure if I spelled that correctly) it can lend a hand, if there is not one I’m sure you can make contact in another parish that may have them and start a group in your parish.

    • Dorothy,

      25 years and still learning. You sound like you have really “walked the walk” and still kept going no matter what. I guess I would say that your struggling parish (and there are many) is proof that things haven’t changed all that much in 2000 years! We still have to struggle to spread the word. I have only been a catechist for one year and am humbled by your posting. Being a catechist really is a journey.

      PS. I love your quote. I’ve not heard it but will remember it!

  20. Hello! I am Ann from central Illinois. I have been involved as a classroom aide for only one year, and am anxious learn, grow, and stay involved in our church’s wonderful religious education program. I am in the second grade classroom, and love the enthusiasm of this age group. In my spiritual life right now I am praying and searching for a specific gift I feel God wants me to share with others.

  21. Hello everyone. My name is Faith and I am completing my first year of teaching grade 6 at St. Mary’s Elementary in Vancouver, Canada. Born and raised a Lutheran, I converted 2 years ago. My marriage to a Lutheran pastor/theologian ended and Jesus in the eucharist called me home. I realize that I have been a closet catholic for years. When I finished my teacher’s training last August, I intended to teach French or Music … but God had other plans. I keep finding myself thinking “I’m getting paid to do this!!” The church season I relate to is Easter as Jesus has brought me through a dark time of suffering and led me to the joy of new life in his body.

    • Wow Faith you are amazing! I got chills reading about your journey. It can be so wonderful what God has planned for us. It is great to hear about you!

    • i enjoyed hearing your story of feeling you were on one path and finding you were on another. As I noted my Confirmation Saint was Rene Goupile. If I’m completely honest I have to admit chose him in High School because he had a very short biography. At the time I had absolutely no intention of working professionally for the church In my own mind I was going to end up singing at the Met. God had different plans thought and as it turns out this humble saint who was martyred for teaching a native american child how to make the sign of the cross has been the perfect patron for my life as a DRE. It is funny how God helps piece things together from our randomness.

  22. I am a C0-director of Family Faith Formation in Grand Rapids, MI at St. Jude’s Parish. I have served as a Catholic school teacher, consultant and writer for a Catholic publishing company, and presently working part-time. I retired from full-time parish ministry two years ago when the parish I had worked at became about 80% Latino and I spoke little Spanish. I am presently active in the diocese as part of the training for beginning catechists and I am looking forward to this retreat. My favorite song is “All Are Welcome.” I am seeking to know now what God is asking of me and how to use my gifts to serve.

  23. Hello, My name is Tony. I have just completed my 9th. year as an 8th. Grade catechist in Evergreen Park Il. I truely love preparing my kids for their Confirmation each year, and look forward to my 1oth. year. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the Journey of St Paul. He worked so hard to try and complete the divine plan of evangelization, he is an inspiration to me. I have to mention all of the help I received from the patron saint of catechists St. John Bosco for the past 9 years, he taught me patience and persistence. I feel I have been blessed to have had the chance to touch the spiritual lives of over 100 of Gods children.

  24. Hi, my name is Cindy. Last year was my first year as an RE aide in Illinios. The best way to describe my spirtual life is a reconnection and a new beginning with God.

  25. a first name/username/or initials : Anne
    your ministry/position : Catechist 2nd grade CCD
    your general location : Pa
    years in this role : 13 years
    complete the following sentence:

  26. Hi, I am Sandy. I am an assistant of Religious Education at my parish in Glen Ellyn, IL. I have been a Catechist for the pre-school/Kindergarten for seven years before becoming an assistant. My spirituality right now follows what Mother Teresa has said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I truly believe that I have been called to ministry. I love it!!

  27. Hi, My name is Cristina. I started co-teaching 3rd grade cathecism last year so I am fairly new at this. I am from Illinois.
    My spirituality right now is that of a new life, it is a great gift that God has given me. One of my favorite Saint is St. Paul. I love Easter season. Gloria is my favorite hymn.

  28. Hi:
    My name is Carolyn and I have taught Kindergarten RE for four years in Illinois. I was my mom’s aide when I was in high school which may have had something to do with my teaching now. My spirituality right now can be compared to the song Amazing Grace – – it is something I pray for every day. I really identify with Mary right now in my life, because being a mother is very much like being a teacher. Did Jesus ever act like my teenagers? I would love to have a conversation with Mary!

    • You don’t need the conversation with Mary. She raised the perfect child. She could relate to you how she hurt when he suffered. Or how she felt, when she thought she had lost him. But you can now understand some of what God the Father must feel when we don’t do what he wants. Or if we are fighting with each other. Try relating what is going on with the teens , to all the human race and how does HE handle it. Now have that conversation with God.

  29. Hi, my name is Susan and I teach in Vancouver. I have been a Catholic school teacher for 29 years. I have taught Grade two for the past 13 years and the highlight for me each year is preparing the children for Communion and Reconciliaiton. Presently my faith journey can be compared to Lent. There is desert wandering and dryness of spirit. The first is demanding a compass and the second needs to have thirst quenched.

    • I so appreciate what you do for the 2nd graders. It is such an important faithfilled year. I thought about filling the 2nd grade open position this year, but I didn’t feel I could do it justice. At this time, I believe I am met to teach 4th graders. Thank you for doing what you do. 🙂

  30. Hi,
    My name is Barb, I have been a catechist for the Joliet Diocese for the last 3 years and was a catechist for 4 years when I lived in the Rockford Diocese. I am now teaching 6th graders . They are at a great age to work with. My spirituality has been with me from when I was very young. It has grown mostly to me understanding why my mind is on God most of the time. I couldn’t believe that the topics for this journey are the very reason that I did volunteer to teach. I am looking forward to each week. My favorite hymns are “Here I am, Lord”, Let there be Peace on earth” and ” Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi”. Peace to All.

    • Hi Barb. Welcome to the retreat. Those 3 hymns are also my favorite! They speak so well to wanting to be an instrument of God’s love in the world. Peace to you also.

  31. Hey there! I consider myself a catechist only in the matter of swimming . . . faith that the water will hold you up if you let it, and one can move forward most easily by using resistive force with a streamlined body position. If you think about it (creatively) this could be a metaphor for involving God in your life. OK, then . . . my So. California parish has a swim team and I have been coaching it for upwards of 16 years. Now it may come to pass that my role will include assisting in the youth ministry program, sans water. I wandered to this site (providentially I arrived here) and maybe a retreat is a good idea.
    Always in my faith my purpose is to emulate Terese of Liseux (Little Flower, Little Way) using the innocent power of hope, love, wonder, prayer and . . . laughter! My success rate varies.

  32. Hello, my name is Liz. Sorry this is late – I visited the site early Monday morning it this was here yet. I have been teaching 4th grade in Michigan for 11 years. My spiritual life right now can be described by comparing it to “They’ll Know We are Christains”, because I try hard to emit my faith by the way I live my life.

    • Hi Liz,
      Your timing was right on.
      That hymn rings true with me also. . . it is one of the handful that takes me right back to when I first learned it – in grade school, with Sr. Daniel Noreen.
      The words, music, cadence somehow bring me very close to the original disciples when I sing it – we ARE one in the eternal spirit, with all who came before us, all that are here today and all that will come to be – forever.

  33. Morning All! I’m Maura
    I’m a DRE entering my 7 th year of ministry but I’ve been a catechist for over 20 years having taught at a variety of levels. I live and minister in northern central Massachusetts.
    It has been uplifting to hear everyone else’s spiritual annalogies. They make mine feel rather banal. I feel like my spiritual life is definately tied to being a mom of a 7 year old I could describe it like a merry go round, it has ups and downs ans some people think its tame and doesn’t go anywhere but it is a wonderful joy.
    Patron saint is Rene Goupil (a companion of Issac Jogues) That is another story all together.

  34. Hi! My name is Maureen and I am not currently a Catechist but hope I will be able to join in.
    My spirituality now is best described by one of my many favorite hymns:

    Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
    And in our souls take up your rest;
    Come with your grace and heavenly aid
    To fill the hearts which you have made.

    I am looking forward to joining in these next few weeks and learning and sharing with the group.

    • Welcome Maureen. We can always use more Catechists. I pray that this retreat will move you to join this ministry, if that is truly what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do.

  35. Greetings! My name is Kevin. I’ve been a confirmation preparation cathechist for nigh on to 12 years now in a suburb of Chicago. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to C. S. Lewis. Since I read “The Screwtape Letters” I’ve been inspired to work towards making our faith accessible to my community.

  36. Hi everybody, my name is Annamarie and this will be my third year as a 5th grade instructor. My spiritual life right now can be described like I’m a speck in the ocean of holiness. I have lots of growing to do!

  37. Hi, I’m from Rhode Island and have been a catechist for many years–while my children were growing up–and presently. Now I usually teach grades 4-6 and enjoy this age group. I look forward to this online retreat and sharing ideas with fellow catechists.

    My spiritual life right now is evolving and ongoing–I believe God sends others into our lives to lead us closer to Him. Finding out about this website has certainly inspired me to deepen my faith.

    My favorite saint(s) are St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare. I love the season of Advent.

  38. Hi, my name is Silvia. I currently teach RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) at my parish in Coral Gables, FL where I have been teaching catechism since 1995. I love to share the faith with the children entrusted to me. Since I started in 1995, I have taught 4th grade CCD and since 2001 became the RCIC teacher. The age group of the RCIC students range from 12 to 18, and many are receiving the Sacrament of Baptism at a later age. It is a great experience to teach “older” children the faith, especially those that have no formal instruction and for the first time in their lives are hearing about what an awsome God we have!
    I have many favorite saints,but my favorite devotion is Our Blessed Mother followed by St. Therese of Liseux, one of my favorite together with St. Francis of Asisi and St. Joseph. All very humble but with great spirituality, teaching that in our everyday lives, the little things that we do each day, done with great love, is where we have the opportunity to become great saints.
    My favorite hymns are “Amazing Grace,” “On Eagle’s Wings” and the “Ave Maria by Schubert.”
    My favorite season is Holy Week, culminating with the Resurrection on Easter Sunday!
    My hope is to as St. Therese’s Little Way describes, do everything with love and offer up every little inconvenience for those that suffer and for an end to the culture of death.

  39. I live on the Pacific Coast and have been involved in teaching for thirteen years….Sunday school, sixth grade RE, RCIA for both children and adults. I am striving to give a good presentation and to be able to keep people’s attention. I ‘wannabe’ a really good catechist! I feel like my hymn would be “Morning Has Broken”. Maybe because of these glorious spring mornings full of the beauty of God’s creation and the potential each day holds.

  40. Hi Everyone! My name is Kim and I am entering my second year as Coordinator of Religious Ed. at St. Patrick’s Parish in Wadsworth, Illinois. Before this, I taught religious ed. for eight years in various grades. My sprirituality right now can best be described with the song, “God Has Smiled On Me.” Although I’m at a place in my life and career where the next steps are uncertain, I always feel a sense of gratitude for all that God has given me. This includes the opportunity to work with the wonderful people of my parish to share our faith and love of God with the children.

  41. I am a religious formation director for a parish of about 1500 families in Wichita Falls TX. I have been active as a catechist and as a director/coordinator for about 40 years. My favorite groups to catechetize are the precious children for First Communion and the Rite of Christian Initiation adapted for Children. My spirituality could be said to be like St. Francis of Assisi, communicating with nature and loving animals as God’s special gifts to all of us. As a catechist for so many years I have truly felt that this is a very big part of my life and I have loved it so much!

    • Please don’t say “just” a mom: I am in complete agreement with all our colleagues that God uses us most powerfully when we are humble and “status-less”. I was a stay-at-home mom for 23 years: that time prepared me for my job as a catholic school teacher more than my university courses did. Mother Mary is our ultimate role model, after all…

    • You are NOT just a mom…..being a MOM is A LOT! Good for you for always trying to do your best and helping out. What would our programs be without volunteers???? We do this “JOB” because it is our calling. Our “PAY” comes from those smiling faces we get each session from our students.

    • Moms form way more faith than any catechist we only have contact with children for 30 or so hours a year. I remember reading once that parents give their children 10x more faith formation to their children before the age of 5 than they will receive in all of their time in school age religious education classes. You give your child and his or her friends the ongoing witness of God’s love and understanding.

    • I would like to agree with all of the comments from the other about being “just a mom”. I’d also like to add, that without those “just mom” volunteers, we wouldn’t have a program!!! Many of us are moms or dads just trying to do our best. This retreat will hopefully bring us all together to enrich our catechesis, learn from and support one another!

      God is smiling on you for reaching out as the hands and feet of Christ!!!

    • Hi….please don’t say you are just a mom……say I am a mom! Your role in your children’s lives is their first encounter with Our Lord….after all you have Our Lady as your model…..you are blessed!

    • Don’t underestimate yourself. Volunteer moms are a blessing to have. We couldn’t do without volunteers. Give yourself a pat on the back, your catechist is blessed to have your help!!

    • Dear volunteer mom,

      I was a stay at home mom for 11 years and started working two years agao for the church. Being a mom is the hardest job I do and is a constant , constant. I chuckle the days my husband gets to experience, the multitasking, mutli scheduling and mutli personalities it take sto rraise children and sometimes a husband.

      Rebecca

  42. I’m Teri, and I am the Director of Parish Formation at St. Pius X in Grandville, Michigan. My spirituality right now can best be described as “Ordinary Time.” I am enjoying the beginning of summer…not having to get my daughter up for school, the sound and smell of a long-awaited rain, the warmth of the sunshine, the buzz of insects, the songs of the birds. In this time of lull, between the end of the past school year and the beginning of VBS, I am simply enjoying dreaming with God, imaging the possibilities for the various formation programs at SPX and “conversing” with God about God’s plans for us.

  43. HI, My name is Amy and I am going into my 1st year teaching 5th grade ccd in Plano Il. I was the room helper last year for 5th grade. I love working with the kids and helping them grow in faith. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to my favorite saint, St. Martha. I feel like saying “hold on God, just let me finish these dishes” 🙂

    • And then let me finish picking up after the kids and then let me finish paying the bills and then let me finish making lunches….and the list goes on and on and on! Thank GOD that HE does HOLD ON!!!!

  44. Hi my name is Faye, I teach second grade at St Marys in Plano Il. This will be my second year at St Marys but It will be my 16 year teaching. I love working with children especially the younger ones. My spiritual life right now can be described as St Pauls The things I don’t want to do I do,and the things I want to do I don’t do. I will keep on trying until I get it right.

  45. I am from a growing town Massachusetts and I have just finished my 12th year as DRE. It has been a joy to work with so many wonderful catechists and children. I can compare my spiritual life right now with that of the mountain climber. I am always striving toward the top, but sometimes stumble in the process. Jesus in his passion is a great example of getting up and continuing the mission. My favorite hymn is ” The Supper of the Lord”. It reminds me of how precious is the gift of the Eucharist.

  46. Hello Fellow Catechists,

    My name is Polly and I am an SRE catechist for St. Patrick’s Parish in Wadsworth, IL. I have been teaching at St.Pat’s for 6 years and truly LOVE it! I enjoy teaching children about God and our Catholic Faith. Children are like little sponges and they soak up so much that we have to say! I would have to say my spirtuality right now is much compared to the Blessed Mother. I have 4 boys and feel in my heart that being a mom is what God had planned for me. I strive each and every day to be a good role model to my boys and it is my hope that each night they go to bed knowing that their mom loves them very much.

    • Polly,

      You are a great role model for not only your children, but all of our children that you catechize in SRE. We are so blessed to have you!!

      Kim

  47. Hi my name is Jacqueline. I am a fourth year 6th grade Catechist in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. In our parish 6th is the Confirmation year and the challenge (for me) is helping them understand what it means to be Catholic and live our Catholicism in the secular world. I will be a professed member of the SFO (Secular Franciscan Order) this year and struggle with living the Gospel as opposed to preaching. I hope this retreat enables me to deepen in my spirituality so that my example shows my kids more about God’s love.

    • “…helping them understand what it means to be Catholic and live our Catholicism in the secular world.”

      This is what I meant to say in my intro post.

    • I share in that same challenge, Jacqueline. The secular world is very enticing to kids. I’m sure that same was said when we were children though. 😛 I hope that I can break through as I continue to teach the faith. I find that having them put the right focus on faith is difficult at the 6th grade level.

      God bless you for joining the Secular Franciscans. That will clearly be a new chapter in your spiritual life.

  48. Hi! My name is Lisa and I coordinate First Reconciliation and First Eucharist for the second graders in our Faith Formation. This past May, 580 children received their First Eucharist in our parish. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to the hymn, “Lead Me, Lord.” I want Christ to show me how to see Him in everyone I encounter (parents and children) .

  49. Hi everybody – sorry to be late.
    My name is Kristi and I am a 9th grader CCE teacher in a small parish near Houston, TX. I just completed my 8th year as a catechist; my third with the 9th graders. I am also working on teachers certification so I can hopefully soon teach in a Catholic school too.
    My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the short liturgical season of Triduum. That’s because of the mix of sadness, anticipation and confusion that the season represents and remembers.

  50. Hello, everyone. I’m Pat in Tinley Park, Illinois and I’ve been a
    DRE at the same parish for 35 years. My spiritual life right now
    is best described by comparing it to the feast of Pentecost.
    The people, events, and experiences in my life at this time are
    life-giving.

  51. I have just completed my 20th year as a DRE for a parish in the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. And since I have never been able to color within the lines, I would say my spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to nature, specifically “a ray of sunshine!” By this I mean, on one hand, we are gearing up for Vacation Bible School, and the teen volunteers with this ministry “are on fire!” So much so, you catch the heat, and you spead the joy-the joy only the sun can bring. On the other hand, we just celebrated the certification of New Wine Lay Leaders-they, too, are on fire! It is contagious!

  52. Hello I am a mother of four, grandmother of twelve, great grandmother “to be” (July 11th). I love the Lord and so happy to be teaching 6th grade for my third year. I retired in July after 24 years in education in a public school in Reed City, MI. I taught CCD in the 1970’s, then “religious education” in the 1980’s , and now have the priviledge of being a Catechist in the Faith Formation at St. Philip Neri Catholic Chrurch in Reed City.

    • Sharon Ann, you are truly an inspiration! Imagine all of the lives you have touched with your faith for all of these years!! You are a gift to your parish. I hope that I can continue my journey of faith and help others on that path for as long as you have. I am sure you will have much to add to our conversations here! Thank you!

    • Hi…you are one very blessed woman….all the children who have learned about Our Lord from you and the inspiration you are to all of us…..God bless you for giving yourself all these years!

  53. After reading all of the introductions, it’s apparent that we come from all walks of life. Different ages, locations, backgrounds. But how wonderful that we’ve all joined together here to walk this path.

    I have a very good friend, in fact my Co-Coordinator, that often says, “There are no accidents. We are not here by chance. We are here because God wants us to be here. He has a plan for us.”

    I am excited to begin this six-week journey with all of you!

  54. Hi, my name is Christine from CT . It was my first year as Catechist teaching 2nd grade. I just wish I started to become a Catechist sooner. I can say it was the best thing I’ve ever done. We, my co teacher and I, had to get the children ready for their First Reconciliation. Sometimes, it was difficult getting and keeping their attention, but we succeed with God’s help and each one made their reconciliation. It was a beautiful ceremony. I’m really looking forward this October when our Faith Formation classes begin. My spiritual life right now can best be described as journey of increasing my faith and hoping that I can pass it on to a child. One of my favorite saints is St Francis of Assisi because of my love for animals and his creation of the first Nativity. My favorite season is the Christmas because I like recreating the Nativity scene each year.

  55. Hi, my name is Mary. I have been a catechist off and on since the 4th grade, when I helped Sr. correct papers for Catechism for the public school students (back when Noah was building the Ark). I have, at some point, taught almost every level except preschool — from First Communion prep through post-confirmation, which happens in 10th grade here in the Sioux Falls diocese (SD).

    My patron saint is the Theotokos, and the feast I celebrate is the Assumption. I taught 6th grade last year, which was Old Testament. The DRE’s in all the parishes I have been in for the last so many years know that I will teach any group they give me, so they put me where the need is for that year. It keeps me on my toes — I don’t have time to get too much in a rut.

    My favorite hymn is “Holy, Holy, Holy” since I love to sit in front of the Lord. Unfortunately, there never seems to be much time for that any more, so I have to sing in my car instead. My spiritual struggles seem to be “Let go and let God,” since I have so many areas of my life, and interaction with those whom God gave me to care for, that I have no ability to control. I keep telling myself, ” God is in control,” but it is difficult for me to stand back and wait for Him to let me know what He wants me to do…

  56. Hello everyone! I have really enjoyed reading your intros! My name is Katharine of Texas. I have been a catechist for four years – mostly dedicated to preparing 2nd graders for their first Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. What a wonderful blessing and privilege it has been to prepare these children of our parish to receive our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. And a challenge to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit to help them bring what they learn in class home and become a part of their every day lives – so it will become a part of them. I guess it must be time for me to take a different journey now, I have been asked to teach a 6th grade class in the fall. So … after teaching elementary children and moving up to middle school, “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to a train wreck

  57. Greeting fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. My name is Lisa and I have been teaching 2nd grade level youngsters for about 9 years now. I am in my 4th year at St. Therese Parish in Albuquerque, NM. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to a arollercoaster ride, some moments I am living at high peaks full in the holy spirit, and yet there are other times I’m low in the valley, searching for the Lord to guide me, strengthen me and have mercy on my soul. I hold dear to my heart St. Michael, who constantly battles evil and all that tempts you away from the Lord’s will. To help me battle the evil around me, I love to hear and sing Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God & Pass It On. As for a special liturgical feast, I would select Advent-Lent since this time of the year helps me focus on others and yet allows me to thank God and be grateful for all I have in my life. — Be inspired by HIM and encouraged that HE will guide you in your works!

  58. My name is Steve and I will be teaching 6, 7, 8th grade religion in an inner city Catholic school in a large Midwestern city for the first time in over 25 years. I have been teaching social studies and computer technology for the last 25 or so years. I have been a retreat leader and speaker in my spare time for the last dozen or so years but that was for adults. I am scared about my new duties. One of the reasons I got out of teaching religion years ago was the fact that I did not think there was enough “meat” in the curriculum.

    • Steve
      I’m so happy to hear you have responded to the call to come back to catechesis. I think you’ll find that there is alot more “meat” available in curriculum than there was 25 years ago.
      My favorite thing about occasionally filling in as a 6th grade catechist is seeing the lights go on in my students heads as the Old Testament we are teaching in religious education intersects with the students ancient history classes in school. 7th & 8th grade also offer plenty of opportunities for kids lives to intersect with what is being “taught” in Religious Ed.
      Peace
      Maura

    • Steve, welcome to this very rewarding ministry. I teach 6th grade and last year was my first year doing so. I was intimidated as well last year, but since you are a former teacher, you will likely take control very quickly and you will do just fine.

      I’ve found that some curriculum can be skimpy as well. I was a bit disappointed last year with our textbook and what I’ve decided to do is to use the text as a guide as opposed to atext that must be covered. In the early part of the year, I made the mistake of teaching what was in the text; but mid-year I realized that I needed to teach the faith and the text should just tell me what topics to cover.

      Welcome again and I’m confident you will do well.

    • Wishing you good luck Steve in your new role. After teaching 7ht & 8th graders for about 33yrs., I find that being honest is the best. I have told them that I can’t answer all their questions about God but will try and try to find the answers. The Catechism of the Catholic Church helps a lot in answering questions. Let them know that the Church has not always been perfect but she has weathered the storm for over 2000 years. Be free and open to them about your faith including times of doubt. Share your personal faith experiences both the successes and failures. Share your ways of prayer and devotion. I had a parent write me a note saying that her son began saying a novena to St. Therese of the Little Flower after I talked about it in class and shared how she helped me. I wasn’t allowed to say anything to him because he wanted no one to know. We do have a affect on them. Remember to be honest. Good luck & God Bless.
      Anna Marie

  59. Hello everyone,

    My name is Patty and I’ve been a catechist for eight years, teaching second grade and 10th grade in the greater Boston area. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John, who meets Jesus at the well. I need to teach catechism because I spend a lot of my days doing busy work and worrying and completely forgetting about the living water promised to her by Christ, if only she had asked for it, and find myself going back to the regular well, like she did day after day, before she met Christ. Jesus reveals Himself to her at the well, and every year He reveals Himself to me. Now, I’ve only had (and still have) one husband, not five, and never lived with anyone outside of marriage :), but I am a sinner, and I find that bringing the lessons Jesus taught us to the children renews my faith like nothing else. After my first class, I feel like the Samaritan woman after her talk with Jesus: I want to go out and tell everyone that I have met the Savior!

    I am looking forward to this retreat very much–thanks so much Joe for putting it together!

  60. Hi,

    My name is Diane and this is my 2cd year as a 6th grade catachist in NJ.
    I think my spirituality can best be described by the song “Give me a Revelation”….because I spend alot of time looking for answers !! I really enjoyed reading the previous posts and I have to say, I think this online retreat is just a fabulous idea !!!

  61. Hi, I’m Rose. I’m a high school catechistt in Milwaukee and I’ve been a catechist for 28 years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to a deer. I want to be in the meadow with God. I’m drawn to that. but try as I might to get to that meadow, I feel relegated to the woods. I want to be in the meadow; I’m drawn to it.

    • Hi Rose,
      I love your metaphor of a deer longing for the meadow, but holding back in the woods . . . all the while longing.
      My own experience is that I tend to burst out into the meadow with A LOT of energy, hardly any caution . . . and very often find myself tripping into a big mucky trench that was hidden under all the beautiful wildflowers . . . yes, God is there, but I certainly didn’t get very close. At those times, the cool quiet pondering of the woods seems like a better alternative.

  62. My name is Corina from Texas. Irecently moved. I was a Lector and Catechist in my previous Parish. I taught Confirmation for 5 years. Then by the promptings of the Holy Spirit I found myself wanting to teach the younger children. I was inspired by the picture of Jesus, with all the little children as He called them to Him. I taught 3rd and 5th grades for 3 years. It was painful to not be able to see my 5th grade class make their First Holy Communion. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Pentecost. And like all new beginnings (a new Parish) it is filled with fears and doubts. Yet the nudging of the Holy Spirit keeps directing my path toward the little children. I left behind friends, and a wonderful Church community. Teaching was physically exhausting but spiritually uplifting. It never seemed like work. It is truly a Ministry of Love. I learned so much from the children and it strengthened my faith. Going to Mass and devotions is not enough any more. I love being involved with Church Community and not doing so has set me back a few steps.
    There was a point in my life when I was ready to give up teaching Confirmation until I heard Pope John Paul II speak about the value of what Catechist do. We go unrecognized but that is the way we want it. My prayers are with all Catechist. God Bless each one of you.

    • Corina

      We miss you here in El Paso. Hopefully you can start teaching at your new parish.
      You are a great catechist and an asset to any Religious Formation Program.

      Bea

  63. I’ve been a parishioner at my church since 1996 (St. Mary Immaculate, Plainfeild, IL) My first involvement as a volunteer there was with VBS and then things just took off from there. Humbly, I found myself as the Director of Confirmation for one year (proud of myself for holding down the fort until our next director was hired… just couldn’t do the job and take care of my family simultaneously or myself all at the same time-my youngest was 3 at the time.). I now assist the new director, whom I had the privilege of actually knowing from my previous parish when I was a 1st grade catechist for two years. However, this time I am getting to know and learn from her and life at home is more manageable. God is good… all the time… fun to see His plans revealed over time. Anyway, my director suggested I check into this on-line retreat. My Confirmation name is Monica. I find myself to always be praying for people, yet, I also believe she’s been praying for me all along too! It is amazing what I didn’t know (and still don’t know) back in 8th grade when I was confirmed.. and to think, back then, I thought I was done! (Yikes, how wrong I was) I hope to shed light (in little ways) as I interact with parents, mentors and students to really go that extra mile with learning and living their faith by pointing them in the right directions. I have gone through some Bible studies at my church, but still yearn for a real quiet time in my day to pray, reflect, read Scripture. I know when I am on the spiritual low and seek the encouragement of fellow believers to “lift me up” in those times. I hope that I am that spiritual uplift in times of need for others as well. Relationships are two-way and it’s great when we put God into the equation. Thanks to all who strive to do God’s work for the sake of all of His children!

  64. June 10, 2009
    My name is Patti and I am a Youth Minister and a catechist. I have been teaching 7th grade Sunday school for 21 years. I have been doing this in the Archdiocese of Chicago because this is where God has placed me.
    “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to a two year old.” I want to see it, learn it, hear it, take it, and love it.
    My favorite saint is all of them. Each has a gift to offer. One is no better than the other. Each possess a way of doing things that will bring us that much closer to God. We need to embrace each one pull out that gift and absorb it into every fiber of our being. Can we have it all?? God is offering it to us. How much will we see, learn, take, love and how much will we ignore?

    • Patti,

      You continue to be a wonderful example to me. You have a connection with the kids that seems to come so naturally to you. It always amazes me. You have brought so many of our youth to God. Thanks for being who you are!

  65. Hi, I’m Sheryl and I have been a catechist for 5 years at St. Patricks in Wadsworth, IL. This past year, I taught 7th Grade and will move up to teach 8th grade in the Fall. This past year of Confirmation preparation has taught me a lot. Prior to this school year, I taught 6th Grade, 4th Grade and 2nd Grade. I really love teaching and learn a lot about our religion while I am preparing the lessons. My spiritual life can best be described by the 23rd Psalm. The Shepherd is always guiding me, looking after me and probably shaking his head when I don’t get things right.

    • Hi Sheryl! Great to see you here! You do a great job with the children. I completely agree with you about learning as much as (or more) than the students! It really is an education for the catechists as well as the students.

  66. Hi, My name is Christy.
    I just began teaching religious education last year. My 5th grade daughter asked me to volunteer. It has been such a lovely experience that I intend to continue with this vocation as long as I can.
    I live in Gurnee, IL.

  67. Hello again,

    I am delighted to see all of the references to Pentecost, which is also my favorite Church feast. The amazing story of the disciples being afraid and then visited by the Holy Spirit and emboldened to spread the Good News is always a great inspiration for me at the beginning of the school year.

    I think about 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I have to admit to some envy towards the apostles about the other gift given to them–the ability to communicate in the known languages of the time. I would *love* to be able to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world at any time…though given my love for gab, the world would probably not appreciate it! 🙂

    I also love the fact that it’s the last mention of Mary in the Bible, and I appreciate St. Luke making the effort to tell us she was there, ensuring that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for all!

  68. Hi….my name is Karen and I have been a catechist for more than 20 years. I am currently a catechist for a girl I have been with since she started the program at age 3….we will be entering 8th grade this fall. She has cerebral palsy and does not communicate…except through her beautiful eyes. My experience these past years has been different than most may have….I see Jesus in her every time we are together….my spirituality can best be described by my Confirmation name…Marie…I love Our Lady and want to do everything Our Lord asks of me….God bless.

    • Karen,
      What a beautiful ministry and so very needed in our religious education programs. As a DRE I treasure people like you and my classroom aids who enable children with a variety of special needs to be integrated into our religious education program so All are truely welcome and can come to know the loving embrace of our Lord.

  69. Greetings! My name is Julia from Michigan. I have been a catechist for 16 years and I am currently working with the RCIA program. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the song “Open my Eyes Lord.” I am hoping to see, hear, and love more like Jesus.

  70. Hi everyone. My name is Henry and I’m an 8th grade catechist in Westchester County in NY. This is my 4th year as a catechist (I’ve been teaching my daughter’s class since she was in 5th grade). I would probably compare my spiritual life right now to the Prayer of St. Francis. I sincerely believe that the best way to show evidence of God in every aspect of our lives is by being a living witness and example of the joy that opening yourself to His presence can bring (especially through service to others).

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts so far, and look forward to the next 6 weeks. Many thanks to Joe Paprocki for offering such an enriching opportunity.

      • It’s funny you say that, because I’m often a little envious of those catechists who teach the same class year after year, and how great it must be to have your program pretty much set before you even begin (for the most part anyway), and how great it would be to refine and “perfect” it with each passing year. It is a bit challenging to deal with a new book and content every year, but I use it as a learning experience for myself as well. I also consider it such a blessing to be able to teach my daughter’s class (as well as many of the friends she has grown up with, some of whom were baptized together). For that aspect alone, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

    • Dear Henry,

      What an interesting approach! You followed your daughter in each CCD grade as her teacher! How does she feel about this? I think it’s nice although I am a creature of habbit always trying to teach the same grade continually striving to master the syllabus and making improvements each year always inventing a new way to teach various topics. Some examples include: the Last Supper Reenactment, The Living Rosary, and the demonstration of Grace using sand art grains. I accumulate my own DVD’s, visual aids, books in my personal library.

      • My daughter was a bit leery at first. She thinks I have a tendency to be a little long-winded and corny (I think she gets that from my wife…. 🙂 ), and I think she was afraid of being embarrassed in front of her friends.
        As time has gone by, however, she really seems to enjoy it. I allow her to help me set-up and prepare classes at times, and she enjoys being used as my “weekly critic.” Her insight has allowed me to really gear classes towards the age group, while making sure I cover the necessary material. And I think she’s often pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoys class. Most of the time, at least!

  71. Hi My name is Sheila and I am a catechist in Delaware. I have been teaching for over 30 years in whatever classes I been needed. The ones I enjoy the most are preparation for the sacraments Eucharist, Reconciliation or Confirmation. Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, the Lily of the Mohawks is my patron and my favorite hymn is On Eagles Wings. I would describe my spiritual life as a journey as I always feel that I am learning especially from my students.

  72. Greetings from Gainesville, FL! I have been active in church ministry for about 37 years in a variety of functions and currently serve under the rather longish title of Director of Family Faith Formation and Youth Ministry. I have been here for about 5 years. This parish is also the site of campus ministry for the University of Florida which provides our program with an abundance of youthful catechists and constantly challenges my thinking (and keeps me young!). I would compare my life to an adjective, or perhaps an adverb, in search of something to modify in one of Jesus’s parables. I love telling stories and use them profusely in everything I do. Telling stories is a sort of ultimate metaphor for teaching for me. Lots to unpack. Regarding hymns, as you might guess from the above comment, i am a word person, and would trade off any hymn for dialogue or redemptive silence. Not that I dislike music, mind you, playing clarinet blues on Good Friday would be amazingly appropriate for me. I was singing Amazing Grace entering work this morning and could hear the cello line in the background. Moving forward, I am defintely an Advent person. Hands down it is my favorite season! I love the cacophony of the readings and Advent personalities. I have fed so many grasshoppers and honey at Advent classes and it never gets old hearing the YUCCHHH! Thank you all for sharing.

    • “I love telling stories and use them profusely in everything I do. Telling stories is a sort of ultimate metaphor for teaching for me.”

      Me, too. Nothing gets the point across to my 6th graders better than a vivid telling/re-enactment of a Bible story or parable.

      • I wish I had your talent, Christian. I find myself discussing more then storytelling. I do it in an age appropriate way, but storytelling may prove more effective. Maybe, in time, I’ll be able to pull that off.

      • Impressive list! I fear I am not good at keeping lists. Plus, I confess, I have favorite stories I tell that I am prone to repeat. And there are some I avoid for some grades because they are too gruesome. Also, I use stories that are not Biblical, but echo biblical teachings (ie forgiveness, love and concern, etc.). In addition, I do not always use stories to “teach.” Sometimes, I just tell a story for the sheer pleasure of a good story, othertimes it is an illustration of a point, still other times I use a story to catalyze discussion. Although I sometimes bemoan movies which proclaim themselves as the stories of this generation, I am not against using movies and movie clips in classrooms as stories. As a teacher, I will use whatever it takes to get folk into the dialogue and discussion! Last year I had a fabulous Bible Study on Noah using the film Evan Almighty. I am glad you enjoy using stories!

  73. Hi, I’m Ali 🙂 Pre-k/Kindy CCD teacher in our parish.
    Youngstown, OH diocese.
    I’ve been doing this for, ummm, 5 years (I think, lol)

  74. I have been a DRE in Wasilla, Alaska for 15 years. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Pentecost. I have many concerns about how programs (and the faith in general) are being received by increasingly passive families. However, personal development and enrichment touch me and I am affirmed that the Spirit is at work and I am enthused to get back out there.

  75. Hi, I am Pat from the Front Range in Colorado. In a previous life I was a DRE and really would rather have been a Catechist. Now I serve as Coordinator of Lectors, an effort that I think has great potential for furthering the work of the Church. After much higher education I am beginning my education again by stepping outside my comfort level and daring to taste opinions and expose myself to experiences up to now I have avoided. My favorite liturgical season is Ordinary Time because I have time to think and feel and breathe.

    • I am also a little outside my comfort zone but when I picked up the Catechist book and saw the web site I really felt enthusiastic. In the last few years I reevaluted ny faith journey which is why I got into Benedictine and Ignatian Spirituality and also became an EMHC and joined the parish council.

  76. Hi everyone! My name is Jenni Calabrese I am an 8th grade Religious Education teacher at my church in Addison, IL. I have been an R.E. teacher for 3 years. Two years in 6th grade and 1 in 8th.

    My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to my favorite hymn One Bread One Body. As my husband and work together as R.E. teachers and with trying to make our family bigger we often reflect on the fact that we together as a couple are one and at the same time we each are one with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  77. Am I too late in joining this retreat? I have been a catechist for over eight years and am presently mentoring a small group of Confirmation candidates at St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield, IL who are going to be eighth graders in September. I would presently compare my spiritual life to one of my patron saints, ‘the Little Flower’ St. Teresa. I continually strive for patience and understanding through prayer. Ialso lean heavily upon the Holy Spirit for these two important gifts.

      • After 20 years, it is very encouraging to know you can still have those you touch be so inspired by you that they are on “fire”.

        • My name is Patricia (Pat). I have been a 3rd & 4th grade Catechist for 8 years, but now am leader of the RCIA program for past 5 years, serving as a Catechist and mentor to adults wanting to enter the Catholic Religion. Also just finished a 3-1/2 year program to prepare for Lay Ministry that requires starting a new ministry in my parish. This new challenge is to build a support network or structure for Small Christian Communities.

  78. Hi,
    My name is Shirley and I am from western Michigan. I have been on the RCIA team for approximately four years. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to the song ” Come to Us, Creative Spirit”. I pray to have the Holy Spirit bring me talents and arouse any hidden talent I might have. It is such a great blessing to follow the journey of the catechumens.

  79. Hello everyone,

    My name is Judy, I’m from Queensbury, NY. I’ve been a catechist for 8 years and I’ll be teaching 5th-8th grades this Fall.

    My current spiritual life can be best described by one of my favorite hymns, “You are Mine”. I seem to be so busy all of the time that I frequently have to stop and remember Who I belong to and Who loves me more than I can imagine. This song always seems to pull my focus back where it needs to be.

    I’m really looking forward to participating in this retreat with all of you!

  80. My name is Tracy and I have been a 3rd grade catechist in Illinois for 8 years. My spiritual life right now can be described by the song “We Come to Your Table” because the third graders in our parish prepare for and receive First Holy Communion. I send a great deal of time focused on the Mass and our participation in God’s great gift to us.

  81. treb/6th grade CCD teacher/RCIA team member/lay ministry student/indiana/2nd year/journey is wandering in desert altenating between realizing i am lost and knowing where i am but what do i do now/john the Baptist/

  82. Hi, my name is Bernie, my parish is in the Chicago metro area and I was very surprised when my DRE called me to be a Catechist for 7th graders three years ago. However now I can’t imagine doing anything else as being a Catechist has permeated all areas of my life. I just recently have come to appreciate my Confirmation saint, Teresa of Avila, and her devotion to prayer. I am also inspired by St. Veronica and her courage to approach Jesus to offer him aid and am motivated by the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Always preach the Gospel; when necessary, use words.” I am moved by the season of Lent because I seem to always be in need of some spiritual housecleaning. I have several favorite hymns but the one that I seem to currently favor is “Surely the Presence is of the Lord is in This Place”.

  83. Hi Everyone
    Glad to meet you. I am a Pastoral Associate in a shore parish and I love the people. I have been been in ministry for over 30years and many of those in leadership positions. I have always felt blessed by the wonderful catechists that I have met who are willing to share their faith with adults and children. I guess right now I am grateful for the slower pace of summer and the time it allows for praying, reflecting (especially at the shore) and planning . Truly I think catechists are people for all seasons because no matter where they are they share faith.My favorite liturgical season is Advent for it is a time of joyful expectation and I think that is what we do. We joyfully follow the Lord in the expectation that he will always lead us and that someday the promise of life eternal will be ours.
    God bless all

  84. Hello, my name is Bonita and I am a Catholic Youth Group Leader stationed in Germany. I have been a Youth Group Leader for about 4 years and assist with the sacrament of Confirmation. I compare myself to the “The Servant song”. I have no idea where My Lord and My God wants me to do or where to go. So, I just wait. I used to be a “Zombie Catholic ” just going througt the motions. But, now, my eyes are open and my heart races when ever I am preparing to receive the Eucharist (Christ). God and his mysterious ways!

  85. I am the Director of Religious Education at a Parish-School in Hollywood, Florida. It is very exiting to see how many people enjoy every day what we teach and how we reflect to them the God that sometimes we don’t know. The loving father. I am exiting learning from all of you.
    Shalom!

  86. My name is Dorothy from Cleveland, Ohio and I am an 8th grade catechist in a Catholic School. I’ve been sharing my love for God for the last 20 years to these 12 -14 year olds. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to “Lay It Down” by Matt Maher ( wonderful Catholic artist! ) because I desire to give Him everything I am and everything I long to be so that I may die to self and rise up, lifted by His grace.

  87. My name is Greg and I just completed my first year as a 7th grade catechist in the Chicago area. I have gotten so much inspiration within my spiritual life these past months from St. Paul. As this year of St. Paul wraps up, there has been so much more written about him and it’s really made me pay closer attention to him and made me realize how much he “risked it all” to spread the word of Jesus. I experienced a sort of validation this year about the Saints that seem to flow in and out of my life after I read Fr. James Martin’s book called My Life with the Saints (I’m sure many of you know the book). I look forward to spending this time with you all.

  88. Hi, I’m Lucy. I live in the suburbs of Chicago. I have been teaching in the catholic schools for the last 35 years. I am teaching 7th grade right now and have just finished one of my most challenging years. I need this vacation to reflect. My spiritual life right now can be described by the hymn, “Here I Am, Lord” . I truly want to do His will and I would like the children to follow in my lead as an example. They don’t always want to and many times it is frustrating. I know that no matter what, I am the example for them to follow, so I need to be strong and if they see and hear the Christian way of life, eventually, they will follow. I thank Mary for the graces to go on, even when times are tough, and through prayer, maybe things will turn around.

  89. Hi. My name is Mary. I am from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I teach 7th grade religion and have been doing so for the last 7 years. My spiritual life right now can best be described as comparing it to Pentecost- a birth and start of something new. We will be starting a new religion series this year ( Christ Our Life) and I am looking forward to this new book. I am also taking on the job of part time assistant principal, so it will be a year of new beginnings and challenges. I can relate to the first disciples and the start of the Church with Pentecost. I’ll need the Holy Spirit to guide me this year.

    • Hi Mary,

      Just wanted to let you know that I have taught from the Christ Our Life series for a long time. I have tried several texts but always go back to this series. My Junior High like it because it speaks in their language knowing teenagers. I like it because it is not water downed as some texts are. It is challenging for them but leads them in the right direction. I hope you enjoy it.
      Anna Marie

  90. Hello, my name is Ruth Ann. I recently retired from seven years as director of religious education in my Sacramento diocese parish. Previous to that I had been a volunteer catechist as well as a Catholic school teacher in various parishes in the Air Force and in Chicago. I got started in catechesis the principal of my parish asked me to be a catechist for the First Communion class. (I had actually been trained and certified in high school.)

    My spiritual life is like surfing on the ocean of God’s love.

    My favorite Biblical story is about the woman with the hemorrhage who touched Jesus’ garment with the hope of being healing. We don’t know her name, but Jesus commended her faith. I want a spirituality characterized by such faith.

    • Ruth Ann since you recently retired how about stopping by St Josephs and giving me some tips come September, I would love to learn how to keep 4-6 nyear olds attention span and check for understanding skills with this age group. I can’t see how you can stop once you’ve started doing this, they have so many new answers. This year has two faces for me and I’m staying focused on my faith, teaching and learning how to humble myself to attain the strength to stay the course and trusting GOD to take care of the other side.

  91. Hi,
    I taught my first catechism this past season to second graders they were great and I hope to get more creative and knowledgeable. This summer and always I passionately desire to be a “living catechists” to my children and to others. This morning I prayed that I didn’t feel so religious and I don’t like it. I have a feeling that since I complained that I had so many things in my head like parenting books, this and that and the bible “yes I said it outloud” this has resulted in a smoldering of my spirituality. But I found this retreat on my email and it is burning again. I am happy to be apart of a group of catechists.
    Thank you Shelley

  92. I live in the Washington, DC area and have been parish catechist for adults for 10 years. I am just finishing a year’s sabbatical, which has much to do with my spiritual life right now being best compared to the Season of Advent. Our retreat couldn’t be better timed–I really look forward to it.

    Your comments are wonderful! Peace to all.

  93. Hi my name is Bertha and for the last 3 years I have been teaching 7th grade, I have been a cathecist for at least 20 years in the same parish. I also take care of the liturgy of the word for Children – I considered my spiritual life as the hymn Be not Afraid, God is always me no matter how hard it gets. I am also the Director of Outreach in my Parish

  94. I live in the Midwest and have been a catechist for 30 years. I started when my children entered into R.E. because so much had changed. I was brought up in the Baltimore Catichisim and never was to question anything. I teach 2 grade levels and the adult program. My spiritual life is best compared to Mary. I feel with I can connect as a woman, wife and Mother.

  95. Greetings fellow retreatants, my name is Mary.
    For the past 4 years I have been an RCIA team member and facilitator of parish retreats for Lent and Advent for my parish in the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
    At this time in my journey my spiritual life can best be described by using the words of the song

  96. Hello everyone!

    My name is Larry Mosher, I am a Catechists for 9th graders at Transfiguration catholic Church in Marietta, Ga. This is my second year here at Transfiguration. We transfered from Saint Catherine of Siena in Kennesaw, Ga where we converted to Catholicism as ‘cradle episcopalians in 1991. At St. Catherine I’d taught Elementary grades for the first six years and Adult Ed for the last five.

    My Spiritual Life is really the most profound of all my few years as a Catholic! Following our Parish’s Four day three night ‘silent ‘ retreat at Ignatius Retreat Center here in Atlanta, Ga I received the “grace” of recoginizing my responsibility of shunning the Social Justice all these years and wanting to find my nitch to fill. I am working with a Jesuit Priest there at the Retreat Center who is Guiding me on the 19th Annoitaiton of the Ignatius Spiritual Exersizes.

    My patron Saint is St Frances de Sales and his evangilzation of the un churched seaking answers to their unanswered questions of their lives.

    My favorite Hymn is, “On Eagles Wings”

    My favorite Liturgical Season is Lent and Easter. The personal search during those 40 days and fasting to enchance my prayer life. Then the Easter Vigil Mass, sharing the experience with the Catechumens experiencing those Sacraments!

    I am so excited to being part of the communal retreat!

    Peace be with you!

    Larry Mosher

  97. Hello, my name is Pari. I live in Michigan and have been involved with RCIA and faith formation. This year I have been asked to be the elementary faith formation coordinator. While this wonderful opportunity fills me with excitement, gratitude and humility, my spiritual life right now would best be described by the hymn Be Not Afraid

  98. Hello everyone! Better late than never, I too often say!! Anyway, I also enjoyed reading the introductions. My name is Stephanie B. and I have been a catholic school teacher teaching religion to kindergarten students for 24 years…I never tire of it because as each year passes, my faith is renewed through the eyes and hearts of the “little children” in my class.
    Recently though I have been comparing myself to St. Peter and the story where he begins to “sink into the water” when he experiences doubt and takes his eyes off Jesus; I too find myself being distracted and becoming anxious about things that happen in my life and as a result, taking my eyes off the prize, so to speak. I like the quote that says, “If God
    brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” My favorite season is lent/triduum, hence my favorite song, “Ashes”. I am looking forward to being a part of this spiritual journey with you all. God bless us, everyone!!

  99. Hi! WOW! I’m so glad I stumbled onto this retreat! I was just looking up so extra info on this Sunday’s readings for the Liturgy of the Word for Children that I help teach, which we continue all summer. I’m Liz and I live in Phoenix. I’ve been involved with teaching children at church in many different ways for over 20 years, I also will have a first grade Catechism class this coming school year. I also am in charge of doing VBS in the summer. My favorite songs right now are: The Gentle Healer by Michael Card and Thank You For Giving by Ray Boltz.
    Blessed Be! Liz

  100. Hi,
    I just received this website today from a friend. I have been teaching in Catholic Schools for 33yrs which have been various subjects focusing on Language Arts and Social St. A principal once told me to get certified in teaching Religion and from that point on, I have been teaching Religion for grades 7-10 over the past 20yrs. My last 6 yrs. have been 7th & 8th and now includes 8th PSR. My theme would be “Here I Am Lord” since I have no idea why I was led to do what I’m doing. I love teaching Junior High. I rely tremendously on prayer and St. Theresa of the Little Flower to get me through things and the last 3 years have been a very rough road. Faith will see me through it as I tell my students.

    • I’m glad you decided to participate – fellow “junior higher”!
      I look forward to your comments and insights!

      God Bless and Mucho Love!

  101. Hi! My name is Valerie. I currently teach freshman the bible teen timeline. My spiritual life can be compared to the hymn On Eagles Wings.

  102. Hello, My name is Robert. My friends call me MOS. I’m in San Antonio (home of the Alamo). I just finished my first year as a middle school religion teacher at a local Catholic school, and 4th year as a Confirmation teacher at the church (I previously helped for 6 years in Children’s Liturgy of the Word). I just starting work on a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministry. Did I mention working with the youth at the church (yes, much business … trying to find my niche). My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Thomas. He is my Saint from RCIA. It seems like God is having to prove himself to me over, and over, and over…. MOS

  103. Hello! My name is Tricia and I have taught 1st, 6th, 9th, and 10th grade at my local church in suburban Minnesota. I have been teaching for five years.

    My spiritual life right now can best be describes by comparing it to Lent. I am going through a time of trial and am searching for God in all of the questions. I am trying to remember the advice that all of us give our students, “God is in the questions”.

    Thank you for the opportunity to “go on” retreat!

  104. Hello this is Teresa Sorry I am coming in late.
    I’ve been a Catechist for almost 20 years.
    I’m From Long Island NY

    • My name is Mary Claire from the diocese of Grand Rapids, Mi. My “day job” is school speech pathologist, but will be a second grade catechist in the fall. I am also involved in RCIA and jail ministry. My spiritual life brings to mind my favorite hymn with the refrain:”Do not be afraid I am with you.” I love the Liturgy of the Hours and though I must pray it alone, I feel united to all who are with me praying it someplace.

  105. Hola, my name is Noelia. I’m the coordinator for religious ed at a Hispanic parish in PA for 8 years now. My spiritual life now is best described by comparing to the hymn “Pescador de Hombre” (Fisher of men). I just want to live to bring people to God’s great love!

  106. My name is Mary. I teach what could be referred to as R.C.I.C. My students range in Grade from 3rd to 6th. I prepare students for their First Communion. I have been teaching this class for 4 years. I have been a CCD teacher for 14 years and have taught primarily 5th grade and below. I really feel called to this ministry and have I am blessed to pass our Catholic faith on to the children of our parish. I am in Alabama.

  107. Hi, I am Kristy. I am a teacher for Confirmation in NJ.My spiristual life right now can best be described bycomparing it to a child. My faavorite to be saint is solanus casey. He is quite a role model.

  108. Hello all! My name is Robbie. I am a Pastoral Assistant for Sacramental Preparation and RCIA in Southwest Washington. I am getting ready to begin my 4th year in this job, although I was a volunteer in many different areas within my Church from the time of being a young teen.

    “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to a plant or tree, continually growing & learning, reaching up for God, and still trying to branch out and help others with their faith.

  109. Hi! My name is Maryann and I am a catechists in Illinois. I work with fourth graders however, in the past I have worked with 2nd graders getting them ready for their first communion. I have been a catechists all together for about 15 years. I love sharing the Good News with the children and having them learn how to walk with the Lord. The song “Here I Am Lord” is a song that makes me feel my role as a catechist. When ever I sing that song I feel like I am letting the Lord know to use me as he wishes to share the “Good News”. I feel very blessed to walk this path as a catechists and a teacher in a catholic school.

  110. My name is Gerrie. I’ve been involved as a catechist for 38 years. Presently I am located in New Jersey. I am involved in intergenerational faith formation. We choose a theme for the year e.g. liturgical year, prayer, sacraments and build on the theme over 6 sessions which we call “Faith Fests” ( 3 hours including dinner) throughout the year with the very young, families, teens, single adults, grandparents, our elders. All ages learn together and also break up into age appropriate groups. We develop a “home kit” for each session. We need to offer each session several times to accomodate the number of people. This gives people an option of week nights, or Sunday afternoon. We also do an “event” once a year. Everyone loves it and has said how much they have learned “together” even those who “went to Catholic school growing up/ college .”My favorite liturgical time is Triduum since it celebrates all the aspects of the human/ spiritual life. I always find myself and where I am “at the present moment” in these days.

    • We are launching Family Faith in the fall. We know that the Holy Spirit has been in the lead on this change. Our challenge is helping parents and parishioners to be open to jumping in and taking on their roles … #1 catechist for the parents and the parish life and mission being key to our lesson planning. Do you use a specific resource? How long have you been using this model?

      • Dear Linda,
        Sorry for the delay in responding, I was away. We have been using this model for about 3 years with a preparation/ training year prior to implementing. We use a variety of resources especially from Generations of Faith (Harcourt–now merged with 23rd Publications), you need to register as a parish, and the Center for Ministry Development. They have scripts, handouts, prayer suggestions, activity suggestions for several themes and you can download them and adapt them or use them as springboards for your creation. Attending the yearly “Fashion Me a People” conference in Florida in January helps to generate ideas from other parishes using intergenerational faith formation. We also order other resources–books, craft ideas from Oriental Trading, a website known as “Danielle’s Place. We are lucky to have a creative team and great facilitators and volunteers. Good luck!!!
        Gerrie

  111. Hello fellow retreaters. I’m Linda from Detroit area. I am coordinator of youth ministry at parish and am blessed to have sacramental prep for Confirmation under the youth ministry “umbrella”. Have been in youth ministry for 30+ years. We are moving into a Family Faith Formation program format this fall, including teens. What an exciting time!
    I compare my spirituality to the song I sing on the way to work “Take Lord Receive” from the old Glory and Praise book, not sure if it is around anymore. I was trying to remember the words and kept getting stuck “Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my (la-la-la), understanding, my entire will …” It took a few weeks and the word finally came … memory! What a great laugh when I remembered. Yield and surrender with some humor mixed in … looking forward to being in this virtual retreat house with all of you .. God bless you and yours

  112. Hi, my name is Nancy. I have been a catechist for over twenty years, working with various age groups. Currently, I am a first grade teacher in a Catholic grade school in Iowa. Also, I am an RE teacher for middle school/high school students. (I’ve been following one class from 7th grade and now those students will be seniors). My spiritual life can be described by comparing it to Lent. I’m continually working on developing my relationship with God, so that I can share that relationship with the young people I work with.

  113. My name is Marilyn this year will be my 3rd year as a Catechist in S.E. Minnesota. I am a “revert” after 25 years away – and realized the great need for catechisis. I will be teaching 6th grade -(7th for past 2 years). I find this age group challenging- but am encouraged at how many 6th grade teachers have responded. My favorite hymn is “Here I am Lord” because the words remind me that I am only an instrument created to know, love and serve Him. Like an empty ink pen – it is only when the Holy Spirit fills me that He can use me!

  114. Hi! My name is Linda and I am currently teaching 7th grade. Previously, I have taught Kdg., 1st, 2nd and 4th, but I have to say 7th grade has been my biggest challenge thus far. My spiritual life can best be descibed by comparing it to one of my favorite songs, “Here I Am Lord.” I am here, and I have heard the call, but I need guidance and leadership. I want so much to foster a love of the Lord in our young people, but I sometimes feel woefully inadequate for such an important task. I look forward to hearing from other 6, 7 and 8th grade catechists who may be struggling to connect with our teenagers.

    • hi Linda – I know where you are coming from – 7th grade was a HUGE challenge for me. I am trusting 6th grade to be easier – but….I love teaching the toddler age – but SOMEONE has to reach out to the older ones. Besides catechisis there is such a big need for Christian fellowship with the teens and pre-teens – because the peer pressure is so great out there. Interesting that we both chose the song “Here I am Lord” as the one that motivates us!

  115. My name is Marilyn- 3rd year as Catechist in Minnesota. I will be teaching grade 6 this year (2 years -grade 7). I am encouraged at how many 6th grade teachers have responded. Favorite hymn is

  116. Hi everyone! I am a little late in getting started as I was on a family vacation last week. My name is Emily, and I am the Director of Faith Formation at my parish in MN. I have been in this position for 4 years, and was a volunteer catechist before that. I have a number of roles in my ministry “from womb to tomb” My favorite is RCIA!
    My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to ordinary time! I need the time to not get caught up in the high seasons of the church and all that that intales for my ministry and have some time for me to refocus before a new year!

  117. Hi! My name is Dominica and I am the Coordinator of Religious Education Program at my parish for the past three years. Prior to that, I was the Religious Education Secretary and before that a 4th grade catechist for four years. For me, right now, I would say that I am in ordinary time – trying to come down from the end of the school year, however, I am in full force preparing for our summer program that is beginning in two weeks. So…needless to say, I need a little lift to my spirit….so that I may be ready for the new school year to begin!!! My favorite hymm is Servant Song.

  118. Hi, My name is Kris. I have been a catechist for the past 2 years at St. Patrick Church in Wadsworth, Illinois. My spiritual life right now can best be described by the following quote. All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.

  119. Hi, my name is Anne and I’m from Massachusetts. I taught grades 6, 7 , and 8 for each of my 3 sons. I have been teaching high school for 13 years, and now also Confirmation. I have told the kids to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance on the will of God, but also, that they can ask God for certain gifts. I prayed that God would help me bring people to him, and I feel I’m doing that with teaching. I have also just become a Eucharistic Minister, so now I’m bringing God to the people. I can tell all of you have done a great job with teaching, as I have seen the results when I attended World Youth Day both in Germany and Australia. My favorite song, which I feel we are all doing is: Go Make A Difference.

  120. Hi, my name is Cathy Johnson and I live in the Charlotte, NC area. I have been asked to teach a 7th grade class this summer. Our church is providing a one week session of faith formation. We will meet for 5 full days of classes and complete 30 hours of instruction that week. I have not taught for a couple of years and I am very nervous to take this on. I’ll take any and all advice on how to really get through to them!

    I would liken my spiritual life to St. Therese of the Little Flower who did little acts of kindness with great love. I may only be one person but I can make a difference every day in someone’s life.

    • Good luck with the class Cathy. I have been teaching that grade level only for a couple of years, but have found that if you can somehow relate some contemporary music to the theme you are focusing on it helps get the point across and keeps their attention. I also found that they really relate and pay attention to personal stories that relate to what it is you are teaching.

      Again, good luck!

    • This came to my email from Anna Marie but is meant for you, Cathy:

      Cathy,
      I have taught 7th & 8th for close to 30 years plus some high school in between. They are wonderful to teach because they are questioning themselves and their relationship with God. Each day is a new exciting experience, some good and some bad. A few pointers to help:

      1. Be honest always- If you don’t know an answer, tell them but then also say that you will look for the answer and do it and share it.

      2. Share examples in your own personal life of your faith experiences including times of doubt and how you resolved it. Share how you personally pray.

      3. There will be non-believers. I had a girl, in a Catholic school, who outright said that she doesn’t believe in God. I did not criticize her but accepted where she was. She was asked to be respectful of others and my teaching. She had lots of challenging questions, and I answered all I could for her. Her questioning let me know that she was still thinking about God. Still a possible spark of faith.

      4. They want quick responses and definite answers and we know the Church doesn’t work that way. I taught Church history so they learned the flaws and strength of the Church. I used St. Peter a lot since he denied Christ and was forgiven and made head of the Church.

      5. Find role models in their lives that show witness to Christ even if they aren’t Catholic. We live in Cleveland so I used LeBron James a lot as a team player, his care for others, his share of wealth, but I also told them that I didn’t like that he has not married and has sons by his girlfriend. All is not perfect.

      6. Play Christian rock music for them. Allow them to talk, to share, to have quiet reflection. You would be surprise how they want quietness in their lives.

      I wish you joy in teaching their creative and open minds. They see through a false person so be honest. God Bless.
      Anna Marie

  121. Hi!
    I’m a week behind, since we just closed our Catholic school for summer vacation last Thursday. So, now I’m catching up. My spirituality could best be described by the words of many of my favorite saints, “Jesus, I trust in you.” And then, the words Jesus would say to me, “Be Still.” I am a Catholic school principal and a life long catechist and each and every day I look to the the Lord for guidance and support in confusing world we live in. This retreat is perfect and something I really need at this time. Thanks Loyola Press!

  122. Hello,
    My name is Julie. I am a stay at home Mom and have been home schooling our children for the past 12 years. Over the years, I have been involved in our parish in many aspects and with all age groups. My spirituality could best be described as the Divine Mercy prayer, “Jesus, I Trust in You.” Everyday, I try to put my trust in God and His will for my life, but everyday, I realize how much I fall short, so I continually ask the Blessed Mother and all the Saints to pray for me and our family.
    Have a super day.
    God bless.

  123. Hello from New Jersey! I am finishing my first year as DRE for grades Pre-K to High School. Prior to this, I was a CRE for grades K-5 at a different parish for 7 years. The biggest challenge this past year was to deftly switch back and forth between 3 age groups: elementary, middle school and high school. Also getting to know 85 Catechists kept me on my toes! I really enjoyed jumping in to something new this year. Working with the children and the families, encouraging the Catechists has been rewarding. I feel so blessed.

    My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to my favorite hymn “Tantum Ergo” which is associated with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. It is the Eucharist that is our center – our core. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

  124. Hi, I’m Stephanie. I have been a catechist for over 30 years in Michigan. I have taught most of the grades. Right now I’m a kindergarten catechist. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation–new grandbabies being born, and my last child leaving for college. I try to live my life teaching, learning and knowing “to be near God is good.”

  125. Hello from NW Indiana I am going to be teaching 7th graders for my first year. I am involved in playing music at mass and music is an integral part of my life.I am so excited. I had the choice of 1st or 2nd grade and I put a lot of discernment prayer before making my choice. I have 2 daughters (15, 11 yo) and one sone (6). I am a single parent working full time. I am so anxious to serve and share. My favorite Saint is Theresa (Little Flower) and the Blessed Mother who I find is always on my mind and guiding me. My favorite hymn is Panis Angelicus. I find Father Stan Fortuna insightful in reaching young people. I hope that I may be a good example and able to reach and teach my classes.

    • Hi Theresa,
      Father Stan is great in reaching the youth!
      I will keep you in prayer as you work diligently with the church and your family life.
      God Bless
      Sally

  126. Hi , everyone.My name is Alicia. I have been teaching FFC for 5 years now. Last year I completed all 4 modules and received my Cathechist Teaching Certification from the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fl. ( it took two years!) I have taught 2nd and 3rd grades. My favorite grade is 2nd being that it is preparation class for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. My spiritual life for quite a while now could be compared to the Hymn “Hear I Am Lord”. What do you want me to do? I feel truly blessed to have (hopefully) answered God’s calling.
    Hugs to All
    Alicia

    • I will be teaching 2nd graders for the first time this fall. For years I have done RCIA and will continue on the team, but recently received my Catechist certificate and felt like I should use it. We have a curriculum but I would love any suggestions you have about reconciliation and First Communion. I am a speech pathologist in an elementary school so I am used to that grade level, but not sure about their religious/spiritual level. I don’t work in the summer so now I have time to plan.

  127. Hi all,
    I am Terasee from Uvalde, Texas and I just finished my first year as 5th grade CCD teacher.
    I would like to compare my spiritual life to that of St. Therese. I am striving to offer the “little things” as sacrifices to the Lord and see Jesus in the “little things” as well.
    Shalom,

  128. HI to all, I just got in on this ministry, and I’m excited to share and grow. My name is Joni and I teach 5/6 th grade at a Catholic school. I taught 1/2nd for 7 years and I am in my 6th? year teach 5/6th grade. I have always had a STRONG faith but have found it difficult to attend church right now. Nothing is keeping my husband and I from going, we are just stuck in a very bad habit. I hope that this journey can refresh that need in my life. We’ re both bery hard workers and feel worn out at the end of the week, but that is when we need the church the most. I need to work on this before I go back to teaching in the fall so that I can live what I preach.

    • I’m praying for you Joni. Going to church and celebrating Eucharist will strengthen you and your husband for the journey through life. It’s mandatory for managing life in these trying difficult times. As a Catholic school teacher you are a witness to your faith and it is hard to give what you may not have. I am praying that this summer you and your husband will be renewed so that you can go back in August / September “on fire” or at least faith-filled to give back to your kids at school. God bless you!

    • Joni,
      I am guessing you are in your early 30s. When I was at that age I remember being right where you are now. I changed because I had children who started school and I need to live the life I wanted them to see. It was hard to change old habits. But soon when I realized God gave me 168 hours of free time each week, to use any way I wanted. I figured I could give up one hour of that personal time to Honor and Give Thanks to Him.. I don’t think of church as what I can get out of it. It is what I can give to God. MY TIME. I no longer think in terms of having to go to Mass, I now go because I want to. You will get there too, just give up that first hour.

      • Barb, Thank-you for the reminder … I tell my students that God gives them a whole day, surely they can give God a few seconds of respect in their prayer!

    • Seems like books almost “fall of the shelf” at a bookstore and I know it must be for me … the book “Living the Mass” jumped off the shelf awhile ago, great reading …. I think I need to read it again this summer … but it has a great perspective … the Mass is a part of your whole week … pretty cool. If my “memory” serves me, Joe Paprocki wrote it … isn’t that interesting. Go, Joe!

  129. I am going to start my 20th year teaching 6th grade CCD in Paulding, Ohio(a small rural town in northwest Ohio). I started teaching when my oldest son started 7th grade in 1989, going from Catholic school to public school. Catholic school was from 1st to 6th only. I figured if I was there to take my child to class, I might as well be useful. Now 20 years later, I love teaching this age group even if it has it’s challenges. I have a deep love for God, Mary and the Church all my life. I am also semi retired, a Parish Nurse, sing in the funeral choir, belong to a prayer group, coordinator for home communion.
    My favorite song is the “Servant Song”.
    My life imitates Saint Peter before Pentecost, always messing up, but am never completely discouraged.
    My favorite season is Holy Week, because I am always penitant.

  130. Hello Everyone,
    I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful experience. I teach SRE in Wadsworth Illinois and will be starting my 3rd year. I’m more comfortable with smaller children as I have 2 of my own and feel I can relate to them. I’ve been lucky to be a part of my own children’s religous growth, as they have been and will be a in my classes. Watching a young child’s spirituality grow is very rewarding. My spiritual life can best be descibed as the hymn “Count Your Blessings”. I try to live everyday thanking God for all I have. Even when times are tough, I look to the Lord for guidance.

  131. I am a fifth grade teacher who has been teaching for about twelve years total. I was happily surprised when one of my students from my first go-around was present at one of our programs with her daughter. My spiritual life can be compared to a summer garden-lots of continued growing needed, much to learn and keeping an eye on the weeds and sharing with others. My favorite saint it The Little Flower. She focused on Jesus and was not deterred when obsticles were placed in ther way.

  132. I have enjoyed reading comments. There is so much to learn and it is good to share ideas because we have so much to offer however long we have been teaching. I have enjoyed reading others comments and see how much wa all share.

  133. Hi, I’m Judy. I’m from Maryland and I have been a catechist for the past 20 and a DRE for 7 years. My spirituality can be compared to the apostles on Pentecost Sunday. They always devoted their lives to following the Lord, but really had their eyes opened to the power of the Spirit on Pentecost. This summer, I’ve really become aware of God’s power through His Spirit.

  134. Hi. I am an 8th grade cathechist. My husband and I have two boys and live in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be my 10th year teaching. I learn so much each year from the children that I have been blessed to teach. I feel that God has led me to this position not only to teach others but to help me in my own faith journey. I believe that teaching is exactly where God wants me to be right now. My favorite quote comes from Catherine of Siena….”If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”

  135. Hello all,
    I teach High School and Junior High youth ministry and in the fall, I will also be teaching the 4th. and 5th. graders at my parish. (pray for me) lol
    I have 4 children ages 27, 20, 18, and 14 and all attend mass weekly. My 20 year old just finished his 2nd. mission with NET Ministries and also teaches High School and Junior High Y.M. My 14 yr. old also serves the church as an alter girl. I am blessed!!! 🙂 My 18 yr. old daughter is a professional polynesian dancer and performs hulas to some Christian songs that are popular. I love teaching our youth and, apologetics. I have been teaching for 6 years now and I can relate my spiritual life to the song, “King of Glory” by Third Day. I live in Las Vegas, NV.
    God Bless

  136. Hi I’m Ayesha, its my first year as Catechist to guide the Conformation students . I’m in Mumbai India. I’ve been married since a year and a half…. I felt the need to invest my time in the LORD . My spiritual life can relate to the Hymn ” Why me Lord?” by Daniel O’donnell and also the Hymn ” I wanna put something back” by Christie Lane. I have this deep desire to know more about the Lord and I think me getting this opportunity as catechist is how I’m going to enrich my spiritual life and show the youth what I’ve been through myself on my way back to him. I hope to do my best as a catechist and instill faith in the making of his Disciples. I strongly believe the Holy spirit guides us and we should rely on him through all the preparation and facilitation. Relating my life to Christmas season helps me to see Jesus in everything we do. Everyday is his day , A gift we should rejoice in ! A time to celebrate and be glad ! Knowing that he simply loves us and will never abandon us.
    Remember me in your Prayers that I may be a good catechist!

    • Ayesha ~
      I SMILED the entire time I read your entry ( – : Because of your reliance on the
      Holy Spirit, He will guide you with each student and each class. You may not see
      immediate results, but know that His Word – through you – will not return empty!
      And, yes, the best “gift” of being a catechist is that we grow closer to God through
      our preparations and encounters with these young ones! Thanks also for the
      recommendations of the songs. You will also learn A LOT from the comments
      being made by all these BEAUTIFUL CATECHISTS!
      God Bless!
      Dorothy

      • Hi Dorothy,

        Thank you so much for the encouragement and the warm welcome. It was so nice of you to make the time to put a few words in reply to my entry. Yeah, I certainly realise that I will learn a lot from these beautiful people who have been chosen as catechist…. We are chosen ….right!
        This Sunday will be my first session that I will have with my students, last sunday was the first day of Sunday school so I only introduced myself and got to know more about them .
        Will certainly keep in touch and let you know about my growing experience.
        God bless
        Ayesha

      • Thank you so much JOE!! I certainly didn’t get onto this Retreat Site by Chance… It was all for a purpose and i’m so convinced with all you beautiful people giving me such a warm welcome.
        Thank you again!
        Ayesha.

  137. Hi! I’m Cathy and it looks like I have some catching up to do! I am a catechist in a small rural Catholic elementary school in Kentucky. I just completed my 34th year of catechetical ministry/vocation. Right now, while enjoying a little R&R, my spiritual life is probably most like the squirrels I watch each morning feasting from the bird feeders! Soon I will be ‘storing up’ for the winter/school year. New treasures are always welcome! My favorite liturgical season is Advent–preparing for new beginnings each year.

  138. Hello! My name is June and a am a bit late signing up for this retreat but I am very excited about it! I have been a catechist for 7 years now in central New Mexico. I can best describe my spiritual life as a mustard seed that continues to grow as my faith grows. I love to learn about my faith and my Lord!

  139. Hi! My name is Renee. It seems I am trying to juggle a bit much these days, but always glad to find time for things like this retreat. Have been a catechist for 6th grade (history of OT) for 8 years, and am on my third year teaching 8th grade Church history/doctrine. I would compare my spiritual life can be compared to St. Monica, sometimes worried but steadfast in faith. Appreciate all the affirmation & excitement of other catechists – renews my fire as well. Am a firm believer that God sends us not just what we need – but WHO we need, just when we need it. May we be God’s gift to one another, so that we are a greater well for our students!

  140. Hello! My name is Toni. I have taught religious education in Norwalk, Ct for 5 years. I began with 2nd grade and have moved up with my son every year. In September, I will teach 7th grade. I am excited and weary at the same time. It is a tough age. I can compare my spiritual journey to the loaves and fishes. Sometimes I feel depleted, but through a miracle, I manage to have an abundance of “Good News” to share and discuss with my class each week. Favorite Saint: St. Francis of Assisi, along with the hymn…
    Let me be an instrument of thy Peace. The Lenten season renews my faith.

  141. Hello, I have been teaching 3rd- 5th grade in Los Angeles for the past 5 years, I have also taught Re for three years to elementary students. My first year of teach RE I was afraid that I would fail or that I would not have enough information for the students and as I ask God to guide me I realized that it was not about only the facts but about helping the children find God in everything around them and as their faith grew so did my. I love teaching know RE and I don’t know what I would do with out it

  142. Hi my name is Nancy, and I teach CCD in California. I have beed teaching for six years. at first I was very afraid because I was not sure that I would have enough information or facts to give the students. I asked God to guide me and I came to realize that it was not about just facts or information, but to help the students see God in there everyday lives as I see Him.

  143. My name is Kathy, from Michigan. I first taught 5th grade and now teaching 7th grade. My spiritual life right now and always has been like Lent as I never feel like I am worthy enough to teach these young people getting ready for confirmation.

    • Kathy, perhaps you’ve not yet heard the phrase: “God does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called.” I think that this pertains to catechists. Our calling is one that results in us eagerly seeking to become qualified by God through ongoing formation.

  144. Peace. I am Johnny, a volunteer catechist in Baguio City, Philippines. My last teaching job was for the blind children of the region, at least a year ago. My spiritual life right now is like that of a parched, dry land that has not been watered for sooo long… How my heart longs to teach the young people again. And am applying right now – in a regular public high-school. I believe this ‘on-line retreat’ is heaven-sent, to prepare me once again for this exciting mission! Praise God!
    My patron saint is St.Jude (the saint of the impossible). My other favorite saint is St.Joseph, as i pray that i would be a good and loving foster father to countless children, just like him to Jesus.

  145. Good morning.
    My name is Dave. I am a Confirmation Mentor at a parish in a Chicago suburb. Although I have been working with 7th graders for over 20 years in their journey, I liken my process as learning to ride a bicycle. At this point, I think I’m ready to take 1 training wheel off.

  146. Hi, I’m Ed and I have been a 2nd grade catechist in Connecticut for 15 years. At this momement I would say that my spiritual life can be compaired to Easter; I feel completely reborn in my faith and desire to teach about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

  147. Authenticity and the Examen as well as Reconciliation:
    I try to be a real person and not a phony. I will be trying to do the examen every night before I go to bed. In a couple of weeks I will go on an Ignatian retreat which will hopefully help me talk the talk and walk the walk as an catechist. Besides trying to get in touch with God I will also make a confession/reconciliation and since the priests are Jesuits I had better gear up on my Act of Contrition. Seeing my father prepare for his confession during the sacrament of the sick last month was touching as well as my mom and I leaving the room for dad and Fr. Mark to help my dad get ready for his eventual trip to heaven.

    • Steve,
      You must be going through a very hard time right now, losing your Father. I know what I was like losing my parents. When I read your comments that came to me by e-mail I looked for your comment on week 5 and couldn’t find it. So I came back to the e-mail to find you. I too want to see you be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. It comes a lot easier once you experience God with you. Once you do you will want that with every prayer and every thought of Him.
      If you have a chance to sit alone some place, close your eyes and just think of Jesus’s life. Things he has told you and things he promised. Then turn you plams of your hands up to him and tell him you need him now. Then ask him to come and dwell with in you. Do this before you go to that retreat. It will mean more than ever to you. And every prayer you pray after that will mean more.

  148. Hello to all who are winding up this retreat. I am Robbie and am just beginning Week One. I am one of those parent-catechists that my DRE has described as essential to Old Mission San Luis Obispo

    • Robbie, welcome! We are indeed winding down but the beauty of an online retreat is that it never really ends! Enjoy the retreat and know that this community of catechists supports you in your efforts to witness to Christ as a good family man and catechist.

    • One of my favorite mottoes (sp?) is: “better late than never”…perhaps a reflection
      of my life as well. Nonetheless, great to hear about the Lord’s workings in you!
      In your journey, remember, the Lord fell 3 times on His Way to the Cross
      and our salvation….
      I expect we fall a lot more…the point is: He got back up and continued on
      with the help of His Father, the Spirit, the love and companionship of His Mother
      and other humans. Happy journeying!
      P.S. Glad to hear you are aware of Matt Maher’s music…he is blessed, indeed!

  149. Hi, I’m Bob from Illinois, and I’ve been a catechist for various grades for 5 yrs. My spritual life can be compared to liturgical calendar, its got its ups and downs. I keep working at it, and hopefully get better at it. I enjoy being a catechist because I can teach what I know and learn what I don’t know.

  150. Hi, my name is Robin from Illinois, and I have been a catechist for 10+yrs. My spiritual life can be compared to the season of Lent. Many times, I feel I am entering a dry, barren desert time in my life, where I feel hopeless. Having faith helps me to get through the “desert/Lent” time and realize things will get better.

  151. Hi, I am Melissa Zuniga, I have taught 7th grade CCE for over 7 years and this year will begin teaching 9th-12th grade CCE/ Bible Study. Both,my husband and I, will be taking on this new adventure in our faith sharing! I am working toward a future in youth ministry. I would currently describe my faithlife as ” Open the eyes of my heart” because I just want to be sure that I see Christ in all I am and wish to be in life, and that I do all I can to pass that light on to those I can in the world! God is good, All the time and All the time, God is good!

  152. Hello my fellow brothers and sisters… my name is Julie. I am both the Coordinator of our Faith Formation Program (8 yrs) and a Catechist of 1st Sacraments/Confirmation/Adults… whew(13 yrs)…. here in little ole’ Newman, California (and LOVE every minute of it). My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to Moses and “Here I am Lord”, not too sure where I’m going at times (or what to say) but by trusting in God, I know that I will get to where I should be when I need to be there! ” One good thing on this journey of mine is that I have my loving husband there along side me (He’s a newly ordained Deacon too!) where we “tag-team teach” willing to go, willing to move forward and more than willing to sing out loud—“I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
    I will hold your people in my heart.”

  153. Thank you. I am the coodinator in my Parish Sunday School of about a thousand children and I find your website very useful.

  154. I’m sorry I’m late getting on board with this. So much for having ‘time off in the summer’. I’m the Director of Faith Formation for my parish in upstate New York and have held this position in my ministry for over 20 years. My spiritual life right now can best be describe by comparing it to the Prophet Jeremiah or the disciples on the road to Emmaeus. My heart indeed burns within me to help others to feel the same way. My favorite saints are Monica (who prayed for her son daily as I do mine), St. Stephen and St. Luke. So many favorite hymns. I’m going to go with “Center of My Life.” Being also involved with liturgy, I love them ALL.

  155. I’m Teri, and I have been a parish catechetical leader for 8 years, but have been involved in catechetical ministry for a long time. I would describe my spiritual life right now as a tranquil walk through a lush forest. I look to see God in everything around me and enjoy the feeling of stretching my legs as I discover God in different ways. My patron saint is Teresa of Avila; I look to her for inspiration. I also recently became acquainted with Hildegard von Bingen who is a beautiful mystic who shared her visions through her writings and music. My favorite hymn is contemporary: We Are Called by David Haas. My favorite liturgical feast/season is Pentecost because its Scriptures and symbolism energize me to do what God calls me to do.

  156. Hi I’m Suzie Marcy, Religious Education Coordinator in a small town (very small) in Oregon. I have been in this position for 1 year (this month-July). I see that I am behind…I had assumed that “life” would quiet down once “religious ed” was out for summer…ha ha! I think that St. Faustina was who put me on this path and St. Teresa of Avila has pushed & pulled me through the rough – am I really being called to do this mode. I love where I am and am enjoying all the highs & lows along the way. I know that God called me to this and since He called me He has put at my fingertips all the necessary tools & help that I need. You all being chief among them! Joe, I met you in October 2009 in Salem Oregon and you were a real inspiration (and a hoot!) I realized that learning doesn’t have to be boring, that it can actually be enjoying!!! Now to get caught up with the rest of you!

  157. I’m glad to say that I am a returning Catechist for 6th grade next year. I’ve participated as a Catechist off and on (depending on the sacramental years of my children) for maybe six or seven years now. I live in Maryland. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to a cell. Christ is the nucleus (center). My confirmation saint is Elizabeth Ann Seton. She also was a teacher and inspires me in all my daily affairs as I am also a homeschooler. My favorite church hymn is “On Eagles Wings.” My two sons went to the Jesuit Catholic high school of Gonzaga in WDC. They played this song at both of their graduation Masses. It was also my dear father’s favorite. My favorite liturgical season is Ordinary time because there is less running around keeping schedules and more time for personal reflection as a busy mom.

  158. Hi! I’m Sister Christin, a Sister of Notre Dame and I am principal of a Catholic elementary school, but I also continue to teach P.S.R. and prepare our second graders for Reconciliation and Eucharist. I am in Northeast Ohio, in a small town east of Cleveland, called Newbury. I have been a catechist for 35 years, 22 of those in the classroom, usually grades 1 and 2 and the past 13 as principal.
    My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to “the fountain of adondonment” (a small running fountain in our school entrance). My patron saint is St. Anne (my confirmation saint). I love her quiet, humble nature and that she gave us Mary. My favorite saint is St. Francis. I share a great love for creation, especially for animals. My favorite church hymn is “Eagles Wings” (and hold you in the palm of His hand). Advent is a precious season to me as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I love the candles, the light coming from darkness and the spirit of generosity. That sums it all up. Sorry to be so late onto this retreat.

  159. Hi there –
    I’m teaching 9th and 10th grade faith formation at St. Sebastian parish in Milwaukee. I’ve taught for three years, but I feel a need to be more confident in what I’m teaching. I look forward to the sessions.

  160. Hello,
    I just discovered this site today. I’m teaching two boys from a group home to prepare them to receive the sacraments of initiation. I have taught CCD and Catholic grade school in the past. I look forward to learning more about the faith and providing enriching experiences to my students.

    Carolyn

  161. Hi ,
    I am starting on my 4th year of teaching the Sacrament of Conifrmation to the publisc school children within the parish of St. John the Baptist in Ottsville, PA.
    I have ben asked to team up with another catechist and assume the responsibility of the leading the RCIA program for our parish.
    Neither of us holds a degree in Theology.
    Both of us have discussed the desire to learn more about the Doctrinal guidelines for the Adult Faith Formation (RCIA) course and what resources are available to us.
    Thank you-

  162. Hi, I have just started teaching 5th graders catechism in CT. After day 1 – I am ready to quit. Boys would not pay attention to me and told me that I was too nice!! I love children (I have 7 brothers and sistarers, 13 nieces and nephews and 14 years of Catholic school education) Before my lesson I racked my brain trying to figure out how to keep their attention. Please any ideas other than bribing them with candy!!

    • Katherine thanks for writing. I’m sorry to hear about your frustration after your first class. Don’t quit just yet! Hang in there! Re-group and come at them in another way. Maybe you are being too nice. Think more like a coach…someone who never hesitates to exert authority and even bark orders in a lively way without being mean. The most important thing is getting the job done and that means the students getting the job done. You may also want to gain some leverage over them by giving them a brief diagnostic test/quiz at the very start of the next class to see what they do and do not know about their faith in order to create a teachable moment (i.e. showing them that they have a lot to learn!) Aside from that, there’s not much more I can tell you at this point unless you tell me more about your lesson plan (and your class size) and what things specifically did not work, which you are most welcome to do. Anyone else have some advice for Katherine?

      • Hi Katherine,
        Don’t give up yet !
        When things get out of hand, as you have described , I try the following..
        I always ask my kids why they are in CCD class.? What are we here to learn and most of all who brings you to CCD class and why do you think they want you to come ?
        There is usually a noticible hush that fills the air over the last part of the question , lol..
        Tell the kids to ask their parents why they want them to come each week . Ask the kids if they truly do not want to be there, to have them have a discussion with their family about it. See what the reaction is.
        Just my thoughts . Stick with it !
        God Bless

  163. I agree with everyone else, Katherine – please don’t give up. And, as Christian says, the first class of your first year is by far the hardest. Don’t be afraid to rely on your director and fellow catechists for advice. And definitely take advantage of blogs such as Joe’s (Catechist’s Journey is EXCELLENT!) – they are chock full of helpful strategies to engage your students.
    And, last but definitely not least, remember to pray to the Holy Spirit for the wisdom and strength to persevere. It may be a bit cliched, but it is true – “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called.” Good luck!

  164. My name is Rosanne, I have been teaching second grade catechism for 11 years in the Columbus, Ohio diocese. My spiritual life right now can best be described as an “Advent”. I am hoping and working at deepening my own faith, as I experience changes in my personal life that are challenging my commitment to continue to teach the children. I know that I must count on God to guard me, the Holy Spirit to guide me, and the Lord to feed me on this journey of discovery and change. I can’t wait for “Christmas” , new birth in the Lord when I am refreshed and renewed.

  165. Hi everyone, my name is Lynne. I’m from the Fiji Islands but have been living in Dubai for 5 years now. I’ve been teaching Grade 2 for the past 2 years at St Francis Jebel Ali. Like my patron saint, St Therese, the little things in life mean a lot to me and I believe its the little thngs we do for others that make a difference. I liken myself to the hymn ‘Here I am Lord’ – I’m here but I need all the help I can get as I feel unworthy to teach these little minds. I want my eyes opened to see Christ in all and in everything. We’re such a busy parish and hardly get to see other catechist except in passing usually in a rush. Life in the Gulf is very busy. This is really nice to ‘speak’ and share with others in the same vocation.

  166. Hi everyone, my name is Luz, I’m from california. I’m a 1st grade catechist, this is my 3 year teaching and I love it! I love to see there little faces light up when I tell then about the love God & Jesus have for us. My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to “Open my eyes” I just want to be ready and open to Gods will, I can also described it to “Be not Afraid” I don’t want to be afraid of Gods will. My favorite Saint is St. Faustina because she was able to do Gods will, I hope to be able to be like her.

  167. Hi, I’m Fay. I’m a Confirmation catechist in Georgia and I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to the hymn “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.” I want to draw closer to the Lord in Prayer and share my Faith Journey with others.

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