Becoming a Catechist: Sharing Our Stories

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One of the most compelling means of persuasion is storytelling—especially stories from one’s own experience. For that reason, storytelling has a significant role to play in evangelization and catechesis. Often, however, when I speak to catechists about sharing their stories, their initial response is, “But I don’t have a story!”

The truth is, however, that all of us have a story to tell; in fact, we have many stories! All we need is a little prompting and reflection to get in touch with our personal stories. For catechists, I like to emphasize that one of the first stories we should tell to those we teach and to our peers is how we became a catechist in the first place. Becoming a catechist is a life-changing experience—and that’s not being overly dramatic, given the fact that, as a catechist, you are now dedicating significant chunks of your personal time to preparing and delivering lessons for others.

With that in mind, I invite you to share your story of becoming a catechist! I’m especially interested in hearing from people who have become catechists during the pandemic and the age of remote teaching. But, I’d also love to hear from those of you who have been catechists for 5, 10, 20, or 50 years! Sharing and reading such stories is edifying for our shared vocation of serving as catechists.

So, what’s your story? How did you become a catechist? Please share through the Leave a Reply feature below.

About Joe Paprocki 2570 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.

20 Comments on Becoming a Catechist: Sharing Our Stories

  1. I have been teaching for 15 years, having the opportunity to teach our
    youngest 4 children. I generally teach grades 7-12, with a current
    emphasis on Confirmation prep.
    I love having the opportunity to share my faith with these growing minds!

  2. My journey in ministry began 23 years go with the words “Hey you”. I did not realize that God was calling me into ministry by means of Sr. Bernadette.

  3. Thank you for the invitation to share My story on becomming a catechist.
    I am from a family of 14 children with a Father who was born and bred a catholic. My mother was a convert following their marriage. My Parents celebrated more than 70 years. All of me and my siblings have a saint name of the one nearest or on our birthdays. I am Willamae Theresee Hamilton Stuart, from the Diocese of The Bahamas and from The Parish of Our Lady of The Holy Souls,
    I became a catechist on the invitation from my younger sister, Regina Assumptia and the prodding of other sisters Immaculata Maria and Myra Agatha who hade been teching for some time.

    I realy felt that I was not prepared but realized that I had the conviction of and trying to live the life of a christian catholic as my backgrond. I soon realized that I had a something to offer.

    The experience has been a very rewarding enlightening one as it afforded me the opportunity to learn and explore my level of knowledge and spiritual experience with a truly living Christ and an appreciation of the role of The Blessed mother in our life.
    I have beed a catgecist for more han 37 years. T haev taught Post Communio 2 and 3, First Communion . and now teach RCIC. I have taken on the role of Coordnator and now in my second term of coordinating.

    The experienc of Covid 19 has opened for us a new worlf as a catechist.
    At he beginning of the Pandemic in 2020, a just Post Confirmation student challanged me to conduct CCD using Zoom. I agreed because she offered to teach me the process. It was amazing at how easy it was. I invited all the teachers to a trainingsession.
    Thanks be to God the all were excited as we embarked on our Process. I can say that this year was one of the most successful year of the CCD programme. The attendance soared as students linked weekly on the class. Parents were invited to join, Parents Meetings and Teachers meetings were held via zoom. The attendance of the Parents soared to 100% from a mere 10 %. Teacher Training sessions were easily facilitated. Today we have added Googyle Classroom and Kahoot it to the platforms we use.

  4. I was a teenager raised Catholic and I always wanted to be teacher. A new church was being built in our area. The pastor was asking for volunteers for the religious education program (then called CCD). I volunteered as a catechist aide and taught with a catechist in someone’s home since the school yet been built. I loved the experience of sharing my love for God. The experience fulfilled my dream of teaching. I have enjoyed it for the past 54 years.

  5. For a number of years, I had felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to get involved as a catechist. I didn’t want to just volunteer; our family needed me to help with the income. Finally, it happened. I was between jobs and the previous director of catechesis left. I applied and was interviewed by the other catechists. I was chosen.
    But God chose me long before this to be loved, redeemed and to share my life in a broader way with His people. Sure, we need to share the Good News, but we also need to share how God works in the events of our lives. When I tell the stories of when I was broken, lost or so in need of God’s help that His mercy and grace are the only answers, I have captured the attention of my listeners. Perhaps by my example, they will remember to call upon God in all the moments of their lives, too.

  6. Believe it or not, I was 17 yrs old and was in the Sacrament of Confession. After Fr. Jerry gave me absolution he asked if I had ever thought of becoming a catechist – I told him that my parents had been catechists at the old parish for many years but were now both retired. Well, he got me that day and here I am 59 yrs old. I love the ministry. I’m the Parish Catechetical Leader and I love working with our families. God gave me the best gift of my life.

  7. My journey began 27 years ago. With God’s guidance, I have prepared many children and adults for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Sacrament of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation.

    I believe my journey really took shape 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer Stage 4. I was intubated and my family was called in to begin the difficult task of making arrangements for my passing. During this time, I was blessed with a wonderful experience. I found myself walking along the shoreline with Jesus. He asked me if I was willing to return, my answer was very simple, “I will do whatever you ask of me.” Five years later and 3 rounds of chemo I am still teaching others.

  8. I must answer this request because of the terrific articles and resources Joe presents. I am 76 years old and my CCD ministry started in 1987. I was a social worker so I knew how to work with children but I was hesitant to try a teaching role. The DRE announced the need for new teachers and I truly believe the Holy Spirit moved my feet because 50% of me wanted to say no. I was initially unable to speak to the DRE but I had sat on the pew for 7 years after returning home from another state. I continued CCD until Hurricane Katrina struck and I moved to another state for two years. I worked in training there in the Stephen Ministry but returned home after two years. I started again in the Parish Religion program first in RCIA and now into an informal Faith Formation Group of Adults (not RCIA). This group’s facilitator is a spry 82 years old leader and I serve as her assistant as well as the facilitator for Bible Study. We are called for ministry and must equip ourselves to do the best job possible. Thanks for the opportunity to share my story and keep up the good work in providing resources to help us in our ministries. Be safe and blessed…

  9. I have been teaching for over 50 years working with special needs students.I began in 1959 when I saw a small article in my parish paper and signed up for a course taught by two religious sisters. I was inspired to work with special needs students because I had a neighbor with Down Syndrome and saw there were no programs for these special needs students.
    I enjoy being with them and preparing them to receive the sacraments.

  10. About twenty years ago, having moved from northern Ohio where it was 85% Catholic, to southern Missouri where it’s only 5% Catholic, I had never been challenged about my Faith till I moved (after my husband passed away from cancer).
    It didn’t take long before some pretty strong anti Catholics convinced my two kids we were wrong about everything. When my kids started asking me questions, I didn’t have the answers, even though I KNEW the challenges were not legitimate.
    Since I couldn’t dispute the challenges, my two children left the Faith for the Baptist Church and I was absolutely heartbroken.
    I decided right then it was time to learn! I dove into learning all I could, internet, CD’s, books and DVD’s, anything I could get my eyes on, I did! I devoted 6-8 hours every day to studying and reading.
    Then I heard about this RCIA thing at Mass, I checked it out and found there were people who were interested in the Faith and wanted to learn more, so I asked if I could sit in myself even though I was already Catholic and they said absolutely.
    I enjoyed helping others to discover that everything they had been told about Catholicism was wrong and untrue so I joined the Team. That was 16 years ago and for the last three years I’ve been the RCIA coordinator.
    No, my children have not yet come Home, but I Pray every day for them to.
    I receive so much joy helping others!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Lorry. It is indeed an eye opener when we find ourselves as a small minority and your response has led you to serve countless others as a catechist!

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