Family2Family Advent Connections

Several years ago the faith community within which I ministered adopted the Advent theme “Taking Hope to Others” for our seasonal focus. The idea was to encourage members to find ways of living out the hope the Christ Child brings in real and practical ways. I pondered what this might look like for my religious education families and how busy suburban families could possibly find ways to “take hope to others.” I struggled, as many […]

New DRE FAQ

Navigating your first year as a catechetical leader can be exciting and daunting. I remember facing many hard questions during my first year as a DRE; I’m sure that many new DREs have faced similar ones. Some of the questions I frequently asked myself have helped me grow as a DRE. What am I doing here? I remember thinking that I had gotten in way over my head. Who was I to think that I […]

Helping Parents Connect Faith and Daily Living

One of the saddest things I hear is when people explain that they don’t practice their Catholic faith because they don’t find a connection between it and daily living. I believe that it is the job of every catechist and every homilist to show how our faith connects with daily living. Too often, when we talk about getting parents more involved in their child’s faith formation, we jump to the fact that they don’t know […]

The Real Life of Catechetical Leaders

When I was a parish catechetical leader, I used to joke with my fellow DREs that we should create the real curriculum needed to earn a degree in pastoral ministry—one that would include courses in how to make coffee and serve refreshments; how to rearrange, set up, and take down tables and chairs and other furniture; how to clean bathrooms and unplug toilets; how to fix jammed printers; how to organize fundraisers; and so on. While we […]

Family Catechesis, Adult Faith Formation, and Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

Perhaps the biggest challenge that I hear catechetical leaders and catechists talk about is reaching the parents of children in religious education programs. Over the past half-century or so, the Church has done a very effective job of training parents to drop off their kids at religious education classes so that “we”—those involved in the parish catechetical program—can teach them the Catholic faith. Years ago, when families and communities reinforced Catholic values, teachings, and practices, […]

An Openness to the Word

The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. (Deus Caritas Est, 25) I find this quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to be a powerful reminder of the intimate relationship between charity and the Word of God. Charity, he seems to remind us, is an expression of […]

Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS

Many catechetical leaders are familiar with the struggle of trying to find catechists at the last minute and begging parishioners for help. We have all heard the horror stories of people who tentatively volunteered and two weeks later found themselves standing in front of a room full of students, unsure of themselves and wondering how they ended up in this position. If our catechists are the backbone of our faith formation programs, then recruiting and […]

Ignatius Loyola’s Management Style Might Work for You

The “director” part of a DRE’s job description is a taxing challenge. “Director” means “manager,” and managing people and programs is never easy. It means achieving lofty goals with limited resources. It means dealing with people who often don’t behave the way you want them to behave. It means compromise, tough decisions, and juggling conflicting interests. Managing means meetings. Lots of meetings. To complicate matters, most DREs are teachers at heart who love students much more than budgets and […]

Interviewing Your Catechists

Recently, I received the following message from Martha: Hello, I am searching for a catechist interview. I am a new DRE and I am wondering if that is a wise idea. I will appreciate your feedback. The quick response is “Yes,” it is a good idea to interview your catechists, not just when you are recruiting them, but also at the beginning and end of each year. I recognize that this may be impossible for […]

Catechist Recruitment via Webinar

Like in many parishes, the faith formation department at my parish is challenged to find enough catechists each year. We’ve held meetings and created a webpage with videos, job description, and links to useful resources. We’ve explained our need for catechists (and the benefits of being a catechist) in a family e-newsletter, the parish bulletin, and on Facebook. We’ve posted colorful flyers and asked for volunteers via the parish Twitter account. Whether we write long […]

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