A Little Lesson for Me as a Catechist from St. Peter

Saint Peter in stained glass

Perched as we are on the doorstep of All Saints Day (Nov. 1), I thought it would be a good opportunity for several of us catechists to share some little lessons we have learned from the saints, inspired by the book Little Lessons from the Saints by my friend and Loyola Press colleague Bob Burnham. I always remind catechists that we are never alone when we teach: the Communion of Saints has our back. I often think of the image used by a cell phone company some years ago with the phrase, “You’ve got the network,” showing a whole network of people standing behind the phone user and lending their support. In the same way, each time we enter our learning space, we are surrounded by a network of saints who support us, inspire us, guide us, and encourage us in our ministry.

For myself, I need look no further than my Confirmation name: Peter! St. Peter has always been an inspiration to me, because I find him so relatable. One moment, he is doing or saying something that’s right on target, and then the next moment, he is doing or saying something boneheaded! For me, St. Peter serves as a reminder that God chooses people who are quite obviously flawed (thus the phrase, “God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called”). The fact that Scripture does not whitewash the flaws of Peter and the Apostles serves as a reminder that it is through those very flaws that they found redemption. I’ve no doubt that, when Peter proclaimed the Gospel to others, he told the story of his own threefold denial of Christ and how the Risen Christ came, not seeking revenge, but offering redemption.

St. Peter inspires me as a catechist to speak to human brokenness—something we all share—and to invite those I teach to recognize that it is through that very brokenness that the Risen Christ seeks to bring new life. Catechesis is not about becoming perfect or about saving ourselves. It is about recognizing our brokenness and calling upon the only One who can rescue us, restore us, and reassure us: Jesus Christ!

Which saint has taught you a lesson as a catechist? Share below!

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. St. Theresa of Kolkata whom I had the pleasure of meeting in India influenced me to say the Rosary daily and to have more compassion for those less fortunate and to reach out to help them in whatever way I can.

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