How to Take Care of Yourself as a Catechist

woman reading at dusk

Getting up early is my least-favorite thing to do. Yet on Sunday mornings, I spring into action, because I truly can’t wait to see my class. Staying fresh and motivated is important, and I work to make sure that I’m tending to my own development as well as my students’. Here are some ways I keep myself spiritually refreshed.

Build in quiet time.

Some days, it feels like I’m on the run from the time my eyes open. Downtime is non-existent, and by the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I’ve learned that I must carve out time every day to recharge my spiritual batteries. Early on, it felt like this was one more thing on my to-do list, but I know now how much this quiet time refreshes me, and I look forward to it.

Mobile apps like the 3-Minute Retreat, Sacred Space, and Reimagining the Examen are literally at my fingertips when I need some quiet time. I’ve used them on my morning subway commute, waiting in the doctor’s office, and even immediately before my class begins. It’s much more refreshing than checking my e-mail.

Keep learning.

I am energized when I’m learning. Sometimes religious publishers have free webinars. Many of these webinars are recorded, so if I can’t attend the live presentation, I can always watch them later at a time that is convenient for me. The Loyola Press website is my go-to resource. I can read a couple of the articles on my work commute or in the evening as I’m planning a lesson. Similarly, I surf around the Internet to look for videos or articles that grab my attention.

I have favorite books that I reach for if I have only a few minutes. Joe Paprocki’s books are easy to read in small increments and deserve to be read more than once.

Try something new.

When I come up with a new idea to try in class, I am energized. While my new ideas don’t always go exactly as I envision, more often than not, they give me something I can build on. I’ve recently started writing notes to myself after class in a journal. I might record something that happened or something a student said or did or an idea that worked. Reliving those good moments makes me happy.

You can also try new ways of praying. When I walked my first labyrinth, I was shocked how powerful the experience was. I was very self-conscious when I started, but by the end, I didn’t want to leave.

Seek out the good.

My professional life requires that I monitor a variety of social media, and some days, it drains my spirit. Now I seek out and engage with people or organizations that inspire me. There’s a lot of evangelizing going on in cyberspace, and I enjoy being part of it.

Living out my vocation as a catechist, as joyful as it is, requires me to take care of myself, to seek out opportunities to refresh myself in mind, body, and spirit. Jesus would often “withdraw to deserted places and pray.” (Luke 5:16) We can follow his example and withdraw ourselves from the busyness of life and seek spiritual refreshment with the Lord.

How do you refresh your spirit?

For all who sense that there is a missing peace in their lives, Busy Lives & Restless Souls by Becky Eldredge will help them find it—right where they are.​

About Kathleen Butler 31 Articles
Kathleen Butler is a long-time catechist at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, DC, where she freely admits she falls in love each fall with a new group of first-graders. She also mentors and trains other catechists in lively, interactive sessions.

1 Comment

  1. I thank God every day for the great days I have at St. Michael the Archangel catechism 4th grade class I and two ladies teach. The children are smart and seem to be learning what we teach.

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