What Catechists Do
Our first observance of National Parish Education Week is a wonderful opportunity to thank the volunteers who make our program possible! It literally could not work without them! These selfless parishioners give so much more than an hour a week, every week for 9 months! Effective teachers know that more time is spent planning than actually teaching, and our catechists plan engaging and relevant lessons to meet the grade level objects of our diocese. Catechists also give their time to be students in training and faith development classes. Yet, the hours and hours they devote is still only the very beginning of what Catechists do.
Catechists echo God’s Word in voice and deed. They are examples for our youth to follow.
Catechists bring God’s Love to our youngest and newest members.
Catechists encounter Christ everyday-while preparing their lessons, while reflecting on their classes, and in their students.
Catechists carry their “classrooms” in bags, cases, car trunks, and sometime suitcases.
As guests in other teachers’ rooms, they are conscientious of their actions and those of their students.
Catechists search the internet, books, television and radio for new ways to bring God’s message to their students.
Catechists plan, implement, supervise and implement service projects.
Catechists cannot “turn off” the catechist during the week. They cannot help but think of their students as they go about their daily lives, and find ways to bring current events and trends into the classroom.
Catechists know that they are among the few parishioners actually reading this article, and know that it is okay, because it was written for them, so that they know how important they are, how valued they are and how very much they are appreciated!
Catechists learn about and from their students.
Catechists spend less time with their students than school teachers, yet, Catechists care for the students in the same devoted and compassionate manner. They enjoy the accomplishments of their students, and know and understand their struggles and frustrations. Catechists find creative ways to provide support and show caring to their students, so that the hour they spend together manages to last an entire week.
Catechists know the best ways to support and encourage students are through the celebration of the Mass and through prayer. They also find ways to bring God’s love and our love for one another into the classroom every week.
Catechists shape the future of our youth, of our parish, of our church, of our world. Thank You Catechists!
K- Jill Elders
Assistant- Matthew Gaborek
6-Mary Jane Kleinosky and Laurie Kreiger
7-Mary Cay Gaborek
11 John Concannon and Susan Gresh
RCIA- Elaine Young and Kim Becker
What PRE students do…
PRE students keep the Sabbath Day Holy by attending Mass.
PRE students encounter Christ everyday-through prayer, through learning,
in their Catechists, and in each other.
PRE students know learning does not ONLY occur in school.
PRE students share God’s love with their friends and classmates, not by “preaching,” but by
modeling Catholic life in public schools, and the community..
PRE students attend weekly classes learning about God’s love and our faith.
PRE students know Sunday is God’s day!
PRE students face challenges boldly with the full armor of Christ.
PRE students know God hears them wherever they are, and
PRE students pray “without ceasing” in school, home, and community.
PRE students pray with their families.
PRE students are active in parish ministry and service.
PRE students know God loves us, all of us!
PRE students are important and valued.
Welcome Back to Religious Education
By Monsignor Timothy P. Stein
Originally published in The Catholic Register , Sept. 8, 2014. “Another Perspective.”
Reprinted with the author’s permission.
…Religious education classes—conducted on Saturday or Sunday mornings, or sometimes on a weeknight, are one of the most important ministries that parishes provide to families. Too often, religious education—or as it was known in my day “CCD” or simply “going to Catechism class”—has been the poor stepchild in our total system of religious education. Some people still think you are less than a good Catholic if you haven’t attended or graduated from a Catholic school.
I respectfully beg to differ.
Parish religious education teachers are some of the most devoted and hardworking parishioners. While I salute Catholic school teachers who work for a ridiculously low wage and the love of God, I reserve a special salute for religious education teachers who work for no wage but the love of God. A good number of them began their ministry when their own children were enrolled in the religious education program. Years later, as grandmothers and grandfathers, they can still be found the job, doing a work that they love, and doing it for no other reason than love. They hold a special place in my heart.
I will admit to being prejudiced in favor of these volunteer catechists. Both of my parents were catechists…I still remember with found affection my first grade Catechism teacher, Mrs. Mary Sybert, a loving woman with a heart of gold, who spoke so warmly about Jesus. I see a little bit of Mrs. Sybert in every catechist I meet.
In our parish of Saint Mary in Altoona, I see the fruits of the religious education program at every weekend Mass; the majority of our altar servers are religious education students. The same is true of our youth choir. And yes, our Catholic school students are numbered in the ranks of both of those groups, too. But the religious education kids more than hold their own. I am equally proud of both sets of students. They are both important to the life of our parish community.
A few weeks ago I was more than a little nonplussed when a parishioner asked me “How did you get a vocation when you didn’t go to Catholic school?” I was hard pressed for an answer, because it was so very obvious to me: I was raised in a good Catholic home and I went faithfully every week, to a good religious education program. Not only did we go to Catechism every week, but for two weeks every summer we went to Catechism every day…Vocations don’t just come from Catholic schools. I’m the living proof that there are other sources for a calling to ordained ministry or religious life. And I’m not alone.
A very special welcome back to school is then due to all of our religious education students, Directors of Religious Education and catechists. You are valued. You are loved! Keep up your very very good and very very important work.
98 students active in Sunday PRE classes
24 parochial students receiving Sacramental Preparation through PRE.
6 RCIA Candidates
16 Weekly Catechists
1 volunteer Office Manager
1 volunteer assistant
8 Substitute Catechists
1 volunteer chaperone
1 family organized and supervised service project