Unique Approaches to Scheduling Catechist Formation

catechist meeting

Recently, I came across a couple of parishes that take a unique approach to scheduling catechist formation so that it is integral to their faith formation program and not seen as something optional.

One parish that holds their faith formation sessions weekly on Monday evenings designates the first Monday of each month for catechist formation. The young people do not have classes on that evening, but catechists are required to attend. Since the formation sessions occur on the same evening that the catechists have set aside for teaching classes, attendance is excellent. As a result, catechist formation is seen as integral to the role of being a catechist.

Another parish does not begin their children’s faith formation sessions until October so that the entire month of September can be used for weekly catechist formation experiences.

Both approaches sacrifice a little time with the kids so that the adult catechists receive some quality time for initial and ongoing formation.

Which of these approaches is most attractive to you for offering catechist formation? What unique approach is your parish taking to providing catechist formation?

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 www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Joe these are great ideas! Although I could see our catechists being resistant to “losing” class time. It would be so wonderful to have the parents come too.

    • Very true, Theresa. Catechists do indeed care about getting as much class time as possible and that’s a good thing. The challenge is to convince them that their own formation will make the time they have with the kids even more productive and effective.

  2. Joe, I have been doing that for over 20 years. It has worked in some parishes and not worked in others. The resistance is usually from parents and not catechists. It is always worth the effort if we are committed to quality faith formation that ultimately challenges the parish to whole community catechesis.

    • Thanks Kathleen. How true that each parish has its own “personality” and what works in one may not work in another. That’s why we have blogs like this so we can keep trying new ideas that will be a good fit for us and our parish(es)!

  3. What we do is on the second week of class each month the classroom aide takes students to a 30 minute session of music and a 30 minute session of something else we have planned (Rosary, time with a priest, etc…) and our catechists receive formation at that time. It’s something we been doing for a few years now and it has been working well.

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