A Catechist Speaks at All the Sunday Masses

Recently, a very brave catechist, Greg Olson, about to enter his second year as a catechist, spoke at all of his parish’s Sunday Masses to give witness to his vocation as a catechist and to help recruit new catechists. Greg is no stranger to this blog as he shares his thoughts and comments often, especially during this summer’s online retreat. With Greg’s permission, I am sharing his experience of speaking at the Masses. He and I both hope that in doing so, other catechists will find the courage to do the same. Thanks for sharing Greg!

I spoke today at all masses to share my experience as a one-year catechist trying to recruit others. Whew. First of all, I can’t give our pastor and deacons enough credit for being there the whole time on Sunday! Rather demanding. I was terribly nervous to get up and put myself “out there” for others to hear. I am a Lector and I never thought I would say that it is easier to proclaim the Word of God than it is to proclaim the Word of Greg. In the end, all went well.
 
I want to point out something though. I just finished an online course and we read the GDC (General Directory for Catechesis) and in it, it considered the elderly as “a gift to the church”. Now, I consider myself as someone that has historically not appreciated the elderly at Mass. I have slowly been learning though, this past year, that the elderly are quite wise (with age comes wisdom…duh….that phrase is finally starting to have meaning to me). I love the devotion of the elderly that are at daily mass when I can attend…..they also have a lot of insight every time I attend a parish adult faith formation event. Anyway, there were several times today in my speech when I saw some of the “old folks” smiling at me as I was speaking as if they were on cloud-9 that someone young (I’m in my 40’s…..still in denial that I’m aging) was up on the altar promoting the passage of our Faith. Whether they knew it or not, those smiles out in the crowd really calmed my nerves. I came away from today so fulfilled with that image! What a great gift the aged are to our Faith!
 
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I continue to be amazed that every time I think I’m really stepping forward for the cause of promoting the Catholic Faith, I end up getting something greater back out of it! Today was no exception! I’d encourage anyone our there to “sing from the mountaintop” whenever they get a chance.

 
Blessings to All.
 
Greg
P.S. This is not a pic of Greg but it captures his “sing from the mountaintop” enthusiasm!
About Joe Paprocki 2380 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.

8 Comments on A Catechist Speaks at All the Sunday Masses

  1. Hi Greg,
    I share your joy in “singing from the mountaintop”!!! Amen. Amen.
    I too was humbly designated to share my catechist story and put out that invition for others to consider the call to become catechists (11 years worth of story all in 3 minutes max).
    I too was terribly nervous through all the masses (and they say it gets easier as the day progressed? ). It was however a rewarding experience (10 new catechists in all =2 Spanish + 8 English). I rely very much on the wisdom of the ages and too often I find myself running to the grandmothers & grandfathers in my community. On Sunday, after the 11:00 mass, an older lady whom I do not recognize came up to me with tears in her eyes to thank me. She was a catechist in our parish for many years, ‘a long-long time ago’. She was moved when at the end I shared the rewards of the ministry,…. “what better better way to Taste & See the Goodness of the Lord where the rewards are truly immeasurable, one of which is the sheer joy in witnessing the children I have minsitered to serve in our church, as altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers and more if down the road I get to witness them minister back to me as catechists, as my daughter is, or even further down the road as deacons, priests or religious.”
    I too was moved to tears with her joy & I can only muster a gracious ‘Thank you – I represent all the children she ministred to many-many years ago, a long-long time ago’. It was a Eucharistic moment I will never forget.

    • Wow Madonna. I’m so moved by your post. I can’t wait to have your years of experience when I can look back at all the students I’ve had in class and say “where are they now”. More gifts from our calling…..

      Thanks
      Greg

    • Hi Christian,

      I don’t really have a script of exactly what I said but I actually used most of what I wrote from my post in May when Joe P. asked us to share our stories here about becoming a catechist. Here is the link to that string of posts (Joe can you make this a live link?):

      https://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/2009/05/26/becoming-a-catechist-whats-your-story/

      I really did not emphasize the urgent need (I mentioned it once at the end) as much as I did the vocational aspect of being a catechist and my story of how becoming a catechist, for me anyway, is evolving into a way I live, not just a class I teach.

      I don’t want to make it sound like I just “winged it” but it has gotten to be a rather easy story for me to tell. Different approach perhaps….we’ll see if we get any more volunteers out of it.

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