Today’s guest blogger hosts one of the most popular blogs in the Catholic blogosphere! Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of www.CatholicMom.com and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. She hosts the Catholic Moments podcast and actively speaks around the country on faith, family life and social media topics. In an email to me, Lisa said, “I am not a catechist (and never have been) but my work with CatholicMom.com has connected me with catechists literally around the world through the free resources we share. So my perspective might be slightly different than what you’re seeking.” Precisely why I asked her to share her point of view! Thanks Lisa for sending the following!
Mom, the Catechist
by Lisa M. Hendey
I’m so happy to be able to share a few words in celebration of Joe Paprocki’s five years of blogging here at Catechist’s Journey. I can honestly say that I’ve been a reader of the blog and a fan of Joe’s writing for several years, even though I’m not officially a “catechist” per se. My own writing journey began over ten years ago with a realization that as my eldest prepared for his First Communion, I – his mom – needed to do a better job with being the person primarily responsible for his faith formation. At the time, sitting in a parent meeting listening to his teacher compel us to this responsibility, I realized how woefully unprepared I felt to live up to this most important aspect of my vocation.
At the time, my husband Greg was not yet Catholic – he’s since joyfully gone through RCIA and was confirmed in the faith shortly before our second son’s First Communion. So preparing Eric to receive his sacraments fell squarely on my shoulders. Of course he was enrolled in a fantastic Catholic school, but that duty of being “domestic church” compelled me to do some homework, to mentally ponder my own role as not only mom, but really “catechist” too. The research I did online led ultimately to the formation of my own website, CatholicMom.com, which would go on to be a place that aims at supporting families in their own domestic churches.
Along the way, watching the growth of the website and seeing beautiful resources such as Joe Paprocki’s Catechist’s Journey spring up and flourish has underscored to me that my first instincts were not only correct, but also shared by many parents. We desire to give our children the best faith formation possible, and yet we must also always continuously attend to our own spiritual development and growth. Being the primary catechist in my children’s lives means more than simply making sure they get to Mass on Sunday. It means helping them to foster an active prayer life, a love of the Eucharist and the sacraments, and a fervent desire to serve the world around them.
As I help my youngest son Adam prepare for his Confirmation in just a few short weeks, it’s tempting to think that my job as my kids’ catechist is almost done. But the truth of the matter is that this is a lifelong vocation – I know this by watching my own mother, who at over the age of seventy continues to be the primary faith teacher for myself and my four adult siblings every day of the week. Thank goodness for all of you dedicated catechists who work to serve and educate not only the children who fill the desks in your classrooms, but their parents as well! I hope you recognize the “ripple effect” your dedicated service has for so many families.
Kudos to Joe Paprocki on five years of helping catechists, but also moms like me – here’s to another five years of love and learning!
I love what you said: “Being the primary catechist in my children’s lives means more than simply making sure they get to Mass on Sunday. It means helping them to foster an active prayer life, a love of the Eucharist and the sacraments, and a fervent desire to serve the world around them.” The more we in parish life can help parents see the wonderful role they have to actively foster their child’s faith life (as well as their own) the more the faith will be passed on and lived out.