Years ago, it was common for a young person to learn a trade by being apprenticed by someone who was a “master” in that trade. Twenty years ago, the General Directory for Catechesis (#67) created some excitement by declaring that faith formation was to be an apprenticeship. So just what does it mean to apprentice someone into the Catholic faith? To answer that, let’s look at the essentials of an apprenticeship:
- The goal of an apprenticeship is for the apprentice to work closely with a skilled mentor to learn essential knowledge and skills needed for the trade.
- Apprenticeships involve hands-on work accompanied by study (classroom learning).
- Apprentices are considered full-time employees who are learning on-the-job.
- Apprenticeships often last several years but are often competency-based (with specific goals identified) rather than just time-based.
- The apprentice learns directly from a skilled teacher who helps him or her master their trade.
- The mentor must possess a willingness to share knowledge, skills, and expertise and takes a personal interest in his or her apprentice, developing a relationship of trust.
- The mentor must be capable of providing guidance, encouragement, correction, and constructive feedback.
- The mentor shares personal wisdom, tips, strategies, approaches, experiences, stories, insights, mistakes, and successes and introduces the apprentice to other colleagues who can be of assistance.
- The mentor is not someone with all the answers but is a facilitator of learning and growth.
- The apprentice is ultimately responsible for his or her own growth.
Given the above, what are the implications for catechesis if it is truly to be an apprenticeship? Please share your thoughts.
In Practice Makes Catholic, Joe Paprocki addresses the all-important “why” of many Catholic practices by articulating five key characteristics that form our Catholic identity.