Being a Catechist in Two Parishes

I first volunteered to be a catechist 14 years ago at my home parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer when my son was preparing for his First Holy Communion; a few years later, a friend mentioned that our neighboring parish, St. Jude, was in need of additional catechists. I volunteered to be a substitute catechist, but soon became a regular catechist there, where I also prepared children to celebrate First Holy Communion, which has […]

Discipleship Is a Relationship—Catechetical Sunday 2017

This Sunday, September 17, 2017, is Catechetical Sunday, with the theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples.” I’d like to take this time to offer my gratitude and affirmation for all catechists who have responded to the call to serve in this heroic vocation and this splendid ministry! For many of us, the notion of discipleship is still a bit of a mystery. What exactly does it mean to be a missionary disciple? It sounds like a […]

The Catechist as a Personal Trainer for Prayer Life

“Central aspects of the formation of children are training in prayer and introduction to Sacred Scripture” (General Directory for Catechesis 178). Today let’s focus on the training in prayer part of that. Training indeed is key, but how do we understand that? Think of a personal trainer: when we need to get in shape or need new motivation to stay in shape, we might hire a trainer to teach us the basics of fitness and […]

How to Be a Prayer Coach

It’s no coincidence that some of the best coaches and managers in sports are former players themselves. They understand what it’s like to be on the court, field, or ice. In fact, some of the best coaches and managers are those who themselves struggled during their playing years. As a result of their struggles, they studied the game more intensively, seeking to learn every nuance that might assist them since their own pure talent was marginal. […]

Will Robots Replace Catechists? Can They?

During the lifetime of some people who are reading this blog, artificial intelligence will be an everyday reality. Already, robotics are manufacturing and driving cars; the only difference is that they do not have a “face.” Technology in all forms is a daily growing force in our world. Which poses a question: Can a robot serve as a catechist? Without hesitation, I would say no. A catechist is first and foremost a disciple of Jesus […]

Four Ways the RCIA Makes Me a Better Catechist

When I started out as a catechist, I began with my parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) ministry. A few years later I joined the faith formation team that served our parish’s young people, first as a substitute, then as a regular catechist. I continue to serve in both ministries, and while teaching the faith to candidates in the RCIA is different from teaching it to young people (For example, candidates in the […]

The Catechist’s Backup: Being a Substitute Catechist

I am a Chicago Bears fan, and every year as of late, it seems as though a key player gets injured at a critical time. During this year’s preseason, one of our star offensive lineman, Kyle Long, was out with a shoulder injury. I was afraid that the “Monsters of the Midway” were in for another long and grueling season. The faith formation year can feel just as long and grueling as a season in […]

Communicating Expectations to Catechists

My good friend Tom Quinlan, Director of the Catechetical Office in the Diocese of Joliet, IL, recently sent me a copy of something he shared with his catechetical leaders to help communicate expectations for catechists. I’ll let Tom do the explaining: As a former parish director of religious education, I found it important to provide catechists with a covenant each year. This catechist covenant would detail what was being asked and expected of them in their role […]