Calling Forth Catechists: A Catechist Role Description

Calling Forth Catechists - text near loudspeakers

As you set forth to call people to the vocation of serving as a catechist, it’s a good idea to have a role description in place to describe what you are calling them to. Be careful not to make your role description so demanding and lofty that not even Jesus would qualify! Keep it simple and basic so as not to scare anyone away but specific enough to narrow the field so that you’re not just looking for “a warm body.”

I recommend that your role description consist of three simple parts. First, include a few basic qualities that show you are looking for a well-rounded person with a healthy faith. Second, list a few basic skills, showing you are looking for people capable of handling or growing into the task. Third, include some specifics about what will be required at your local level: how many sessions, how many catechist meetings, required formation, safe-environment training, etc. Again, don’t overwhelm, but by the same token, show that there are expectations. Here’s a sample role description you can feel free to use or adapt.


  • a desire to grow in and share the Catholic faith
  • an awareness of God’s grace and the desire to respond to that grace
  • a commitment to the Church’s liturgical and sacramental life and moral teachings
  • a strength of character built on patience, responsibility, confidence, and creativity
  • a generosity of spirit, respect for diversity, and a habit of hospitality and inclusion

Knowledge and Skills

  • a basic understanding of Catholic teaching, Scripture, and Catholic Tradition
  • honest and caring relationships with the age group being served
  • effective teaching techniques and strategies


  • Complete initial training or formation.
  • Complete Virtus training.
  • Commit to teaching 24 sessions.
  • Attend quarterly catechist meetings.
  • Commit to ongoing formation.

Most of all, catechists need to make a commitment to grow. They don’t have to be flawless in all of these areas; however, they need to recognize where they might be deficient and strive to enrich themselves, with your help as the catechetical leader. For more ideas, see Jayne Ragasa-Mondoy’s book on Cultivating Your Catechists (part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series).

Read other posts in the Calling Forth Catechists series here.

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


  1. Thank you Joe!! This is fantastic – what a great way to re-think how we invite folks to be part of the work we do. So often we stress the ‘facts’ – dates, times, background screenings, and leave out the kinds of things God would be looking for.

  2. Hello Sir Joe! I appreciate your kindness and generosity for posting these great ideas in inviting individuals to become a Catechist. Your unique and fantastic view is of great help to the ministry. Thank you so much! God bless!

    • Hi Eric…generally you can contact the parish or diocese where you live to find out about serving as a catechist and policies on catechist certification.

  3. My parish priest has just told me that he will like me to be the catechism of my parish . I want to thank you for more clarifications so that i can do the work perfectly though I have not given him any response whether to accept or not thank you.

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