How Do We Show Appreciation to Catechists During the Pandemic?

reader question

Recently I received the following e-mail from a Catechist’s Journey reader:

Any ideas for catechist appreciation this year with such a variety of comfort levels with gathering? Usually we do a big dinner, but we are currently only allowed to serve prepackaged food at parish functions according to diocesan guidelines.

—Diana G.

Thanks for asking the question, Diana, which I’m now asking of the rest of you readers. Perhaps you are a catechetical leader asking the same question, and you have some suggestions. Maybe you are a catechetical leader who’s already figured this out and can tell us what you did. Or perhaps you are a catechist who has been on the receiving end of appreciation shown by your parish and can tell us what that looked like.

The bottom line is that it is important to show affirmation to people who are living out their baptismal call by serving and proclaiming the Gospel, which is what catechists do with such commitment and passion. (I prefer the word affirmation over appreciation, because appreciation can sound like we are thanking others for helping us with our task, whereas affirmation is to commend people for doing their jobs well.) The more we affirm, support, and help our catechists to grow, the longer they remain committed to the catechetical ministry.

What are some creative ways we can affirm or “show appreciation to” catechists during the pandemic? Please share your ideas below in the comment box!

About Joe Paprocki 2560 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.

9 Comments on How Do We Show Appreciation to Catechists During the Pandemic?

  1. We struggled with this too. We usually have snacks provided by parents. Instead, we are having an outdoor, individually wrapped appetizer type party. We will have small numbers of catechists per table and spread the tables apart. Everything will be assembled in individual containers for each guest (fresh fruit cup, veggies and dip in a cup, chick fil a nuggets in boxes, cheese cubes in cups and cheesecake bites plated. We hold our event after our last session with families so we didn’t want to have anything too heavy for 8pm at night. I have individually bagged thank you gifts (notepads with scripture) and some free food coupons from area restauratns (from me personally not the parish) and they can pick one up as they get their treats. Hope that helps!

  2. We are hosting a Diocesan Spring Retreat for our catechists via Zoom. We sent them a package of goodies which included a book (written by the presenter), a thank you postcard, a journal and a few treats. They have been very creative in reaching out to families in this challenging times. I pray they will know how much they are appreciated.

  3. One thing I am doing is writing each catechist a handwritten note to be mailed during the last week of sessions. I am also including a packet of marigold seeds in the mailing, since they are “Mary’s gold” and have so faithfully and creatively nurtured the seeds of faith in our children even in the midst of these difficult times. They are heroes! I will also e-mail all parents who are not catechists to request that they have their children send their catechists a thank you e-mail or even note in USPS. I will provide catechists’ addresses if they choose that option.
    I love the other ideas presented this far and hope to incorporate one or two as well. Thank you all!

  4. I have been working on showing my appreciation (affirmation!) for Catechists all year. I send each a birthday card on their special day with a handwritten, heartfelt note thanking them for the unique gifts they bring to the program. I do this with Christmas cards, too. I bought Mother’s Day cards for the mom-catechists this year, and I am also shopping for a special gift to go with the cards. I think a get-together is going to have to wait until next year. I really do want to make sure how deeply I truly appreciate them though. They have been incredibly inspiring and encouraging to me in helping me figure out all the Zoom sessions, etc. And they have been so patient in learning about it themselves.

    • Thanks for sharing your ideas, Teresa…it is indeed important to show affirmation and appreciation all-year-long!

  5. Another update: Diana G. and I had a few more email exchanges prior to this post going live and I suggested to her a “reverse parade” where the catechists are told to arrive at the parish parking lot during a certain time window where they can be greeted by live music and drive through various “checkpoints” where they receive appreciation gifts, a pre-packaged meal, and then finally a personal greeting and thank you from the pastor and catechetical leader. Diana G. seemed intrigued with the idea so I thought I’d share it with the rest of you!

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