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).