The Church entrusts the ministry of catechesis to “exemplary followers of Christ…” National Catechetical Directory (NDC): Preparation and Ongoing Formation of Catechists, 55B.
As a Catechetical Leader, you are responsible to recruit, form, provide ongoing development and evaluation of all parish catechists. Formation needs to include human, spiritual, doctrinal and apostolic dimensions of their role as catechists. We have provided some guidance below, including references in the NDC.
Discernment of the Call to Catechize (NCD, p. 236) While it is tempting to accept any “warm-body” as a catechist to fill a slot in a classroom, certainly it is better to recognize that there are charisms associated with sharing the faith with others. Being able to discern the giftedness of a person, and to help them discern their own giftedness, will certainly bear better fruit.
We recommend reading Jesus Style Recruiting, by Chris Weber for help in identifying the various duties for which you need volunteers, including catechists, and then ways to approach, invite and support them.
Initial Formation (NCD, pp. 237-238) Our diocese takes seriously the need to provide foundational training in theology and methodology (best practices) to all catechists, whether they work with children, youth or adults. As the leader you are responsible for encouraging your catechists to attend a Pathways Catechist Training Day within the first two years of becoming a catechist.
There are other resources you can facilitate, or just hand over to a new catechist to prepare and empower them for this ministry.
Echoes of Faith video series – Getting Started as…, Role of…, Person of the Catechist. Most parishes in our diocese have this set on DVD. It is now available as a subscription online.
Catechist Journey – a blog site by Joe Paprocki that is updated weekly and contains training articles, lesson plan ideas, and videos/webinars on practical topics to catechesis.
eCatechist – Ideas, Inspiration, Resources. A website that provides good “getting started” information, as well as links to other catechetical websites and documents.
Ongoing Formation (NCD, pp. 238-241)
Ongoing formation for catechists will take place mainly at the parish as they are not as inclined to be participating in diocesan training events. Catechists should participate in 3 hours of ongoing formation each year. See website for more.
As Leader, it is helpful to provide some of those hours to your catechists on a topic that is specifically catechetical. Using resources mentioned above is great, and we have some you can purchase by request through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Way God Teaches: Catechesis and the Divine Pedagogy
Presenter, Dr. Joseph White
Five Sessions on two discs, 20 – 30 minutes each. $10
Participant handout available to download.
Witness! How the New Evangelization Has Transformed Catechesis
Classroom Engagement: Practical Resources and Teaching Strategies that Inspire Young People to Learn, Love, and Live Their Faith
Presenter, Jared Dees, Creator of The Religion Teacher
Two presentations on one disc, 45 – 60 minutes each. $8
The Joy of the Gospel
Presenter, Fr. Michael Renninger
Five Sessions on two discs, 30 – 50 minutes each. $10
Video contains questions for discussion scattered throughout.
Best used along with the reading of the book.
USCCB – Beliefs and Teachings Explore this site for resources for training your parish catechists: e.g. Movie Reviews, Webinars on topics of Prayer, Family, Adult Faith Formation, RCIA formation, and more. Provides the theme and prayer service for Catechetical Sunday.
Catechist Days – Join with regional leaders to host a Catechist Day. Use the Grant Application to receive additional funding to bring in a national speaker. Often, our wonderful catechetical series publishers can help with costs and securing speakers.
August 16 at St. Gabriel, Chesterfield from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
August 17 at St. John, Highland Springs from 9:00 am – Noon
Roanoke Area: Sharing our Catholic Faith with Dr. Joseph White, Our Sunday Visitor
August 24 @ Our Lady of Nazareth from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Virginia Beach: Gather the Stories, Shape the Vision, Embrace the Mission presented by Carol Eipers of Sadlier September 21 @ St. Gregory the Great, Virginia Beach from 9:00 am – Noon
Peninsula Area: “What’s the Buzz? Tell me What’s Happening!” with Dr. JoAnn Paradise, Our Sunday Visitor
November 9 @ Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newport News from 9:00 am – Noon