A Catechetical Year in One Sentence

middle-school or junior high girls in classroom

How would you summarize your catechetical year in one sentence?

As I reviewed my year, I found myself reviewing my previous contributions to Catechist’s Journey and ran across that question. I came up with several sentences that described this year with seventh grade.

It was better than last year. Last year was one of my most challenging years as a catechist, but this year rejuvenated me by being easier. The room layout worked better, with tables instead of desks, the young people seemed more open to what experiences they might encounter (even if they were quieter about participation, as I describe below), and I was more familiar with the book to be able to plan more effectively after having used it the previous year.

More ups than downs this year gave me encouragement.

New games were a mixed bag. I usually try to incorporate at least a few games into the year as enrichment or review activities. This year was the first time I used Mass Bingo and a Beatitudes card game. Bingo unsurprisingly was a hit; I’ve used an Advent version of the game in previous years with success. The card game didn’t go as well, because the young people weren’t as familiar with the original game as I might have expected and I didn’t allow enough time to teach them the rules. The takeaway? Having a few games on hand during the year is a great strategy, but remember that not every game night results in the same level of fun or learning.

We made progress in our journey from our first meeting to our final gathering.

A sense of humor carries the day. I enjoyed laughing with my group on multiple occasions. We as catechists have to remember that humor is appropriate in religion classes, and when something truly funny happens or is said, it’s natural and good to laugh about it. What kind of community would we be if we never laughed together?

Do a little bit at a time, because no one can absorb the richness of Catholicism in one session, or even one year.

This was my least participatory group in years. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something for which I was unprepared. In most years, there are a handful of young people who want to volunteer to read any time the chance is offered or be in a skit or help lead prayer. This year such volunteers were scarce. As the year went on, several young people became more comfortable sharing in discussion times, which was good. But lacking dependable volunteers, I had to look to other methods to convey information or encourage participation. In fact, it did lead to my trying learning stations for the first time, to see how the group would react to that form of learning.

So which sentence would I use as my summary of the year? More ups than downs this year gave me encouragement. The year was filled with many good moments. Of course, there were some things I wish I could do over, but the group was open for the most part and encouraged to learn about Jesus Christ. I pray they take some good from our time together and grow in relationship with God always.

What’s your one-sentence summary of your year as a catechist?

About Denise Gorss 116 Articles
Denise Gorss is a catechist with more than 20 years experience, mostly in junior high. She appreciates the gifts of Ignatian spirituality and likes sharing various types of prayer with the young people in her groups. She enjoys seeing the world on pilgrimages and lives in the Chicago area, where she works as Web Editor at Loyola Press.

2 Comments on A Catechetical Year in One Sentence

  1. Affirm and recognize the “voice” of the youth throughout your Parish.

    I believe there are powerful Evangelization opportunities in highlighting the faith expressions and spiritual growth that we observe in our students. A number of communication channels exist to do that – via displays in the classroom and Church narthex, the Parish bulletin, web site, and Face Book page if your Parish has one. I saw numerous examples of the youth being true disciples for Jesus – spreading His message – in our discussions, in their questions, in posters, and in their homework. They are so very proud when their work is publicly displayed and recognized!

    • Mary, affirming the youth is so important! It’s wonderful that your parish provides opportunities to share their work with the community beyond the classroom. Enjoy your summer break.

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