Thank God for Catechist Aides

On Monday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the first catechist meeting of the upcoming religious education year. The meeting went very well and there is a wonderful spirit among the catechists and staff. The pastor and DRE offered warm welcomes and the Deacon and his wife offered a very helpful formation session on understanding the Bible with a focus on the Old Testament. I also had the pleasure of meeting my catechist aide. […]

Article in Catechist Magazine

I have an article appearing in September issue of Catechist Magazine titled, “Assessment in Catechesis.” I hope you get a chance to peruse it and the many of the other fine resources offered in this excellent magazine. Also, I received a nice plug from Gilles Côté in his Catholic Educator News about my blog and about The Catechist’s Toolbox. Thanks, Gilles! Don’t forget to visit his website, P.S. Tonight is my first catechist meeting […]

Even Jesus Had Help

Please take a look at a comment from yesterday’s post (8/23/07) that surfaces a situation that is all too common: a volunteer catechist with no training (and, as a recent convert, not a lot of familiarity with Catholic Tradition) being asked to teach a group of 30 – that’s right, I said THIRTY – 6th graders!!! Ugh! This is just not fair to any catechist, let alone a new one. Even Jesus had 12 Apostles […]

Planning the Calendar

I’ll be talking with my DRE today about finalizing the schedule (syllabus) for the year for grade 8. I know that both of us will have to resist the temptation to “try to do too much.” There’s so much great stuff packed into the textbook (Finding God, Loyola Press) and we also schedule a number of additional events that take us out of the classroom and into the Church, meaning that there’s just never enough […]

Knowing Our Students' Names

I’m terrible at remembering names! That’s why I work so hard at trying to get to know the names of my students on the first day of class. My inspiration comes from a college professor I had at Loyola University, a Jesuit priest, who brought in a Polaroid camera on the first day of class, arranged us in groups of 5 or 6 (the class had over 50 students!), took photos, and had us write […]

Teaching the Faith (Paulist Press)

Here’s my quick review of a little booklet for new catechists titled Teaching the Faith: A Catechist’s Guide to Classroom Management by Kim Duty (Paulist Press). This is a handy little guide that gives new catechists an opportunity to become acquainted with the world of classroom management. What I like about it is its “You can do this!” approach to the task of catechesis. In the Introduction, “From Me To You,” Duty offers a heartfelt message […]

A Catechist, 61-Years Young

I mentioned yesterday the comment from a catechist (Fran) encouraging folks who are in their “golden years” to consider serving as catechists. Here is the latest from Fran: Hi Joe, I am going on 61 in October. I have no formal training to work with youth, but have always found a love for them and believe in their future. I feel, if I can help in any way, that is what we are here for. I […]

Gratitude for our Seasoned Catechists!

A catechist named Fran sent this comment along to include in our discussion of reasons for becoming a catechist: One of the best reasons to be a catechist, for me, is that the children provide me with energy and hope. Sometimes people think they are too old to be a catechist, but young people need to have that experience we come with. I’m not sure just how old Fran is (I’m trying to find out!) […]

Read the Student Book First

I just got this advice from a DRE friend who tells me that she always gives her catechists the student book first before she gives them their catechist manual. She instructs them to read through the student book to get a feel for the flow of the book and the content and flavor. Then and only then does she distribute the catechist manual which helps to unpack the content of the student book. That makes […]

Responses to Why People Hesitate to Become a Catechist

Amy G., a religious education coordinator in N.J., wrote the following bulletin article, offering responses to my list of reasons why people hesitate to become a catechist. Nice job, Amy! Thanks for letting me share it here! Maybe being a catechist is something you feel God is calling you to, but you’ve got some reservations.  Joe Paprocki, a former Director of Religious Education and current 8th grade catechist came up with some reasons why he […]

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