How’s Your Year Going So Far?

I think it’s safe to say that most catechists are well into their new catechetical year, getting to know their students and their themes. How’s it going for you so far? Pick one of the following hymns (or another one of your choice) that best captures how you feel about this year so far and send in a comment sharing your thoughts:

  • Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (i.e. it can’t get much better than this!)
  • How Great Thou Art (i.e. looks like I’m in for a very good year)
  • Lead Me Lord (i.e. I’m uncertain but I know God will lead me)
  • Be Not Afraid (i.e. There are definitely a few things to be afraid of so I need to be reassured)
  • Be With Me Lord (i.e. this year is going to be a challenge!)
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (This group won’t stop talking…HELP!)
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. I’m going with a mix of “How Great Thou Art” and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”. I have a good sized group (6 kids) so that is exciting and they all seem interested in being there and learning.

    I do have one little girl who is a TALKER! She has about 5 stories to go with everything, and most don’t relate. 😉 Fortunately she likes sitting by me, so that helps me keep on top of her, and after even a couple of weeks she is getting used to me asking if her story relates to the topic and hand and telling her to save it for later. 🙂

  2. I’m in the group of Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silent. I gave the children a list of some simple rules, made them sign it and had them take it home to the parents to review and sign too. So everyone is aware of what is expected. I teach 4th grade. I have a delightful group of 14 students this year. We’ve met twice thus far and the part about don’t speak if someone else is speaking is the one they find the most difficult to keep. It’s too early in the year not to get them to pay attention to this simple rule. I emailed the parents that we are having some difficulty with it to make them perhaps mention it to their child. We’ll see if it makes any difference next time we meet in October. I ended my last class with telling them I was getting a sore throat from talking to them so loud over their chattering. This is my 7th year and most times the things I’ve tried in the past worked, not this group. Any idea’s?

  3. Lead Me Lord is most suitable. I have a very challenging mix of students, from very faithful families to those going through the motions. It is going to be a very interesting year as I try to help these young adults that want to learn engaged, while trying to get those who would rather be sleeping on a Sunday morning than in the classroom!

  4. I would choose the song Surely the Presence. I am fortunate to be working with second graders, preparing to receive the sacraments of Reconcilliation and Holy Communion. One of those children is my granddaughter. What an awesome task!

  5. How Great Thou Art! I feel ready this year. I feel more informed and better prepared than last year. The class that we have this year seems to be more interested than the class we had last year. Hopefully it will continue that way.

  6. although uncertainty exist, looks like i’m in for a very good year. the kids are eager to learn ,so i do pray that my great Lord will lead me and guide me.
    so far 15-minutes a month of snack time has impressed them also. i do love being a cathetist; i have learned right along with the kids.

  7. Wow, I forgot how talkative 13 year old boys can be. Teaching respect for one another is going to be a challenge.

  8. How Great Thou Art – I have a 3rd grade class on Sunday and my first impression of the children are they are going to be fun, enthuastic, and wonderful to work with. They are interested in learning more about God. I have used your Covenant with this class and they have read it and have all agreed to it. They are bringing copies home to their parents so that they, the parents, know what is going on in this class. I’m looking forward to a great year with this class.

  9. Love this post Joe!!! I think that the students are really going to miss you this year, and I’m sure that you will miss them as well! Now, to answer your question…”Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow ” – we’re off to a great start but I will always be singing ‘Be with me Lord’ in my heart!

  10. I have to vote for Lead Me Lord for myself. As a DRE, I wish my catechetical year were well underway. We have started all levels except grade 6 because we do not have enough catechists. For the first time in 7 years I really cannot serve the children. Usually someone answers God’s call at the last minute and we get underway but this year we do not have enough catechists and none are on the horizon. I am trying to reflect on what God is telling me in this experience.

  11. I’d have to pick “Lead Me Lord,” because I have a great group of kids and I think it’s going to be a good year, but the challenge will be to teach the new Roman Missal AND keep up with the lessons from our book we’re expected to cover. I’m also trying to do less guided reading from the book during class and make it more hands-on for the kids–more role-play, etc.

  12. Lead Me Lord (i.e. I’m uncertain but I know God will lead me)

    only my first class
    I only have 7 this year which is nice had like 18 last year.

  13. How great thou art: We’re off to a good start, my co-teacher is a _real_ teacher by profession so I’m looking forward to learning from her. We have a wonderful director of R.E., and our parish hosted a professional development seminar for catechists.
    Hopefully I can keep up the momentum 🙂

  14. Mine is definitely “Lead me Lord” Our meeting with parents is this w/end as we resume classes next week, but I am aware that some parents still don’t get it. They want the sacrament for their kids but they feel it is the sole responsibility of the catechists! Praying for compassion and patience! Also praying for some more catechists (male). The labourers are indeed few!

  15. Lead me lord. I have a good class for the most part except for one young lady who, shall I say, is very opinionated. She talks back a lot! This is my fourth year with the confirmation program and I must say this is a first for me. I know that may seem strange since I’m working with teenagers, but I’m not sure what road I want to take with her. I’m praying for guidance so that I don’t turn her off and can get her more engaged with the class.

  16. I have to go with Be Not Afraid this year. I’m no longer in the classroom with my 3rd or 4th graders, and instead I’m a catechist for adults in the RCIA Inquiry process. I’m having many moments of anxiety thinking about how to approach adults vs. the kids I’m used to teaching. (Your webinar was great, Joe, but I still have the jitters!!!)

    • Don’t be afraid my friend. I teach RCIA adult inquiry as well as 2nd year confirmation students. The adults are so receptive and very child like in wanting to learn something new and enrich their Catholic lives so you are going to have such a great experience of growth as well as learning a few good things about yourself. I love teaching both. I get so excited knowing that after my paying job on Wednesday nights I get to see my sometimes “chatty” teens for the end of my day. I feel as equally satisfied when I start inquiry with the adults after mass each Sunday. Let the Holy Spirit lead you my friend and I know you will do great things. God Bless You.

      • Right now I’m stuck between Lead Me Lord and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. I’m sure this will all change soon. I’m only on week two.

  17. I would have to go with “How Great Thou Art”. My parish has just been merged with two other parishes in our town and we decided to form a new catechetical plan for the entire parish. We have just started Whole Community Catechesis, after an entire year of planning, and it was received wonderfully. Our parish has largely embraced this new program, and our first weekend of events were very successful. Many times we stumbled on the path while planning, but God always picked us up and strengethed us with His spirit.

    Thanks be to God!!!!!!!

  18. Hi, Mary.
    Just a suggestion:
    If the number of students will allow it, have you considered combining grades 5 and 6? We done that because we have less than ten students per combined class. Our parish has also combined grades 3 and 4, due to a shortage of Catechists here. We had the same situation last year and it worked well. The Catechists teach from the lower grade resources the first session, consolidating some of the lessons, then use the higher grade resources the second semester. We concentrate on helping the children learn the core of the appropriate grade levels.
    I wish you well as DRE of your religious ed program. Take care and God bless.

  19.  Lead Me Lord (i.e. I’m uncertain but I know God will lead me) I always feel this way every year. As I get to know the staff and the students it becomes wonderful, I know that God is leading me on.

  20. I have the same problem. But I have been at a church that for many years only had classes for the sacraments. Little by little I am getting more catechists. This year the only class I need a catechist for is 6th grade.
    In the past, I would have the kids “home schooled”. And they would come to class once a month. We would go over what they had learned or not learned. This year with 6th grade I am having them come every other week. I am teaching the class. I’ll let you know how it is working out.

  21. Good morning.
    “Lead Me, Lord” and “Be With Me, Lord”, with just a hint of “Praise God from Whom all Blessing Flow” are the hymns that best capture my feelings after the 2d meeting of the new semester with teens who are preparing for Confirmation.
    Our parish is on a military base. Families may be here for as short as 18 months. The teens need to be confirmed. The local diocese offers a two-year Confirmation program. On a trial basis, our parish consolidated the Confirmation program to 15 months, in order to accommodate the military families. At present, we are conducting a combined Confirmtion class. Eight students who began the program in November 2010 will receive Confirmation December 2011. Four new students were integrated into the current class this September. They will receive Confirmation in December 2012. The 2012 class will resume the regular program sequence in January. I am hoping all will work well. Take care and God bless.

  22. Joe,
    Just wanted to share this true story. When putting out the call for religion teachers, one wonderful lady (in her 70″s) called and said she would consider it. She came in to look at the materials, then said she thought she was too old to teach. I said, “You’re never too old to pass on the faith!” Well, she said, that does it I guess. She got on board teaching 10th students. I heard only good comments from students and parents throughtout the year. At the end, though, she said she would not return. Then her daughter, who was looking at Facebook, found this Facebook comment from one of her mother’s students and I quote exactly, “I would say that right now I have the best religion teacher that I have ever had in my entire life! She makes you realize all of the things about God that you never thought about before. Wow!”
    So, it’s really true. You are never too old to pass on the faith!
    Mary Kerekes

  23. ‘How Great Thou Art’ at this point. Last Sunday was the first full day of instruction and the group was engaged right away. This week we may be in the enviable position of having more students than desks!

    In 2011-12 I spent much of the year teaching our group on my own while the regular catechist was convalescing. This year we’re back to a team teaching situation and I’ve had to learn a small lesson in humility in letting someone else be in charge again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.