A catechist? Who, me? - Catholic Courier

A catechist? Who, me?

My son, Joey, started first grade this school year. And that means the start of faith-formation classes.

So I signed Joey up for classes at our parish, a small country church nestled in the Finger Lakes. I also e-mailed our parish’s faith-formation director to let her know I’d be happy to help as a classroom assistant.

Little did I know my innocent offer would land me a new job!

"God bless you, Jen … we do need a catechist for first grade. Would you consider this???" came the response.

How could I not consider it? The e-mail indicated that catechists can be hard to come by.

Although I had some reservations — I imagined a classroom of 30 out-of-control children — I decided to accept the position.

Sept. 18 was the official start of the program, which is held right after Mass. As Joey and I waited for class to begin, I looked around the room. Hmm, I thought, there aren’t many children here — and certainly not any children who looked to be Joey’s age.

Our faith-formation director noticed, too. In her opening remarks, she mentioned that there are other things that compete for faith-formation time, such as sports games scheduled on Sundays. She pointed out that one of the catechists did not have any students in attendance. Such things, the director said, did not bode well for our parish’s faith-formation program, and she invited everyone to share ideas on how to do things differently.

Afterwards, Joey and I went to the first-grade classroom by ourselves. Although we had great one-on-one time, I couldn’t help but wish that the empty seats in the room were filled with noisy, exuberant 6-year-olds.

How does your parish generate participation in its faith-formation program?

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