Several years ago, I put together a guided reflection for catechists to reflect on the catechetical year in a prayerful manner. This can be done alone or in a group setting. For your convenience, I’m re-posting it here.
We often tell our learners to use their imaginations. Now it’s your turn. Use your imagination to reflect on this past year as a catechist. (Pause.)
First, find a position that feels most comfortable to you. (Pause.) If you like, close your eyes. (Pause.) Now relax your entire body—your neck . . . your shoulders . . . your arms . . . your legs. (Pause.) Feel all the tension flowing out of your body, into the air and away. (Pause.) Now be very still and listen to the rhythm of your breathing. Listen. (Pause.) Feel your breath go in and out, in and out, in and out. (Pause.) Now let’s begin. (Pause.)
In your imagination, see yourself in the place where you’ve been teaching this past year. (Pause.) Imagine that you are there all alone, slowly walking about the room, recalling the times that you were teaching. (Pause.) Imagine that you can hear the echoes and see the shadows of the experiences you shared with your participants over the weeks and months. (Pause.)
Imagine that in the midst of this remembering, Jesus enters the room. As he comes in, you go to meet him. He’s obviously glad to see you. Listen to him tell you how glad he is to be with you. (Pause.)
Jesus asks you what you were just doing. Tell him that you’ve been thinking about this past year and your service as a catechist.
Listen as Jesus thanks you for being his disciple and for sharing his Good News with others. (Pause.)
Jesus asks you, “What moments in your teaching this past year do you feel best about?” (Pause.) Take some time to recall these moments and share them with Jesus. Tell him why these moments were special. (Pause.)
Tell Jesus what you are most thankful for as you recall this past year. (Pause.)
Jesus asks you, “What were your biggest struggles this year?” (Pause.) Take some time to share with Jesus what you struggled with. (Pause) Listen as Jesus responds. (Pause.)
Talk to Jesus about specific individuals in your group. Tell him about the gifts you recognize in them. Tell him what special needs some of them have that you are concerned about and how you tried to reach them. (Pause.)
Jesus asks you how you are doing with your own faith life. Talk to him about where you feel your relationship with him is at this point in your life. (Pause.)
Ask Jesus for the grace to grow closer to him. (Pause.)
Jesus asks you if you will consider serving as a catechist again. Thank him for this special invitation and calling and talk to him about how you would like to respond at this time. (Pause.)
If you feel ready to respond to this call, tell Jesus what specific help you will need to grow as a catechist in the coming year. (Pause.)
If you are not ready to return as a catechist, ask Jesus for his help in discerning how you can best use your gifts to serve others. (Pause.) Listen as Jesus speaks to you. (Pause.)
Jesus reminds you that the Holy Spirit is always with you to guide you. (Pause.)
You’ve discussed a lot with Jesus already, so now just rest in his love. Words are no longer needed. Be still together. Know how much he cares for you. (Pause.)
You recognize that it’s time to go now. Thank Jesus for the gift of this past year and for this time you just spent together. (Pause.)
Gradually bring yourself back from your reflection. (Pause.)
End this prayer time by giving praise to the Trinity: “Glory be to the Father…”
I enjoy all of these resources. Could you make them available in Spanish as well? I often have to translate them for the Spanish speaking members of my Team.
Powerful. I will use this monthly instead of just once a year.
That’s great, Pauline!
Insightful, clear, concise, direct, and a prayerful meditation to reflect on this year’s sharing the Good News with our children. Thank you kindly.
You’re welcome, Andrea!
Just read this for the first time. Brought me to tears.
I would also like to mention that I have noticed that on days that I pray for all of my students to show up, they do!
I truly enjoyed teaching this year but found it difficult being paired with a 80(+/?) year old priest who was the adopted father of the Director of the Religious Formation. He repeated the same few prayers/ and a few religious facts from the prayers over and over again. Father also did many childish as well as inappropriate things like spit balls, a game about bear’s potting and wetting the children’s arms. I am disabled, I have a TBI and PTSD and he would try to get the children put a stickies on my back that said “kick me”! He made fun of my teaching and refused to do lesson plans in advance with me. He didn’t like to use any multimedia content. It took him several months to open the classwork book or teach prayers for church( he felt they didn’t go to Mass). Whether the students did or didn’t; he needed to teach these skills. He didn’t teach anything that even match the holidays in church except Christmas; which he bought decorated bags full of candy for Christmas. We where not allowed to bring in food at all( Father got away with it). When anything was raised the Director got pissed at me the other co-teacher for bringing it to his attention. I started just being quiet and learning patience with him. When I put up a holy table the Director, would wreck them by throwing his paperwork on the table or keys. Father, would go out of his way to block being able to set-up the table. Father would rather let the students run around for a break; when I told him that was dangerous I got ignored. I wanted to use the wonderful creations of exercises for fun that were paired with the lessons once they completed a lesson. In any event I got a phone call and was let go during Easter break. I was told it was because we (the Director and I) were like oil and vinegar. Yes, I was fired towards the end of the year…FYI:This was my second year, the prior year he loved me? I don’t get it, except my pastor did nothing…My heart was broken, I love to teach and I am a retired School Psychologist. It’s so bad, I had to stop being a Eucharistic Minister after 4(I think about that amount of time). I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable; I left my parish. Funny, I didn’t do anything wrong, but I felt like I was being pushed out of the Church. I did not receive any warnings, no meeting were called to discuss any inappropriate behaviors I was allegedly doing and no letters of warning were ever given to me; just FIRED. This is the “Year of Mercy and Forgiveness”; I am not sure what I did or if I even did anything wrong but if so you think I would have received a chance. All I know is my pastor did nothing to try to work out any of these alleged problem…Certainly as role models, my once most cherished parish would have made an attempt to be a role model, by using me. Teaching me what and how to do things correctly. I, have a traumatic brain injury…they crushed me by what they did. persthat They took away my students, my Church Family, and my Church and left me shattered, broken and unwanted. My faith is still incredibly strong, I know God is with me and now I understand a tad of what Jesus Christ might have gone through in the beginning of His ending of His mission for humanity. I know the Holy Spirit is still guiding me but people are cruel. I guess in time there will be a lesson that the Lord wants me to learn…right now all I do is hurt.
April, I’m so sorry to hear about your frustrating and unfortunate situation. I know you must feel very hurt. At the same time, it sounds as if you were in a no-win situation and that perhaps getting out is the best thing at present. It just hurts to have it happen the way it happened (i.e. being “fired”) I hope and pray that you find healing and that the Lord will lead you to new ways you can share your gifts with others.
April, I just wish I could give you a big hug. I send you a spiritual hug and will be praying for you. It is clear how much you love both your students and our Church. I am so sorry for what happened to you.
This is wonderful. Thank you for making the language inclusive. I’m a Director of Adult Faith Formation, and I can use this with my catechists who serve in Adult Education and Enrichment!!