As long as I’ve been writing this blog, I have emphasized that catechist formation and catechist support in general is not just some act of kindness toward catechists. Rather, it is something the Church owes catechists! Imagine someone entering a religious community and being welcomed in and assigned a ministry without first going through a novitiate and formation process! The religious community that a person makes a commitment to owes it to its members to form them in the tradition and charism of the community and to provide them with the skills needed for assigned ministry. I tell parish catechetical leaders and diocesan catechetical ministers to think of themselves as “novice directors” and to think of catechists as members of their “novitiate” and to develop plans and processes that will equip catechists to flourish as members of the catechetical community.
Imagine, then, how thrilled I am to see that the new edition of Christ Our Life (2024–25) offers unparalleled catechist support, echoing the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio (the authors of Christ Our Life since 1973!), who for decades have formed members of their religious community into master teachers and catechists. I was privileged to be invited to oversee the creation of The Catechist’s Handbook, a vital segment of every Catechist Guide and Teacher Guide in the Christ Our Life program. This robust section includes catechist support on the following topics:
- The Vocation of the Catechist
- The Role of the Catechist
- Communicating with Parents and Families
- Witnessing the Faith
- Catechesis, Evangelization, Mystagogy, and the Kerygma
- Growing as a Catechist (Being, Knowing, and Doing and the Tasks of Catechesis)
- 5-Minute Formation videos accessed via QR code (To view a sample, scan the QR code below.)
- Knowledge and Skills of a Catechist
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Catechetical Documents of the Church
- Techniques and Tools of Teaching
- Using Technology Effectively
- Inclusion: Diverse Learners
- Multicultural Awareness
- Profile of Children in Each Grade Level
In addition to The Catechist’s Handbook, I am also excited about many of the new features included in the new edition of Christ Our Life that build on the core strengths that the program has provided for more than 50 years:
- robust digital resources (video, audio, interactive, and text) accessible via QR codes for catechists, teachers, and students
- downloadable, customizable lesson plans
- interactive reviews and games
- online instructional support
- “Carpool Catechesis” podcast series
- and more!
The new edition will be available for use this fall, 2024. Sign up to request samples of the 2024–25 Christ Our Life revision, and stay informed with every update.