The best catechetical programs

I may be faulted for bragging a bit here, but I know from personal experience that our Archdiocese boasts some of the finest parish catechetical (religious education) programs in the country. The principal reason, of course, is that the leaders of these catechetical programs and the catechists have truly embraced their call to serve God’s people by handing on the faith with excellence.

But there is another very important reason. The men and women who administer and teach in our best programs have devoted considerable time and effort to acquiring the spiritual, theological and teaching know-how that enrich and professionalize the program.

Every parish can have a first-rate catechetical program. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office provides the formation that prepares directors and coordinators of religious education, as well as the catechists. Believe me. These are not Mickey Mouse training sessions. They are very serious. I know this. I teach some of the courses. They require a serious commitment. But don’t the children, youth and adults of our parishes deserve the very best? It doesn’t matter whether the catechetical program has 60 enrollees, 600 or 1,600.

If your pastor has asked you to take on the parish catechetical program, consider this invitation carefully and prayerfully. We in the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office are here to support you and teach you how to administer a program. We can also provide you with the necessary theology, spirituality, and leadership skills.

If you are asked to be a catechist of any age group, we’ll provide what you need. Just give the response and the time to learn what to teach and how to teach. Even if you have never been in a classroom before, don’t worry. You can do it.

Find out about all the training and other resources we have for you  and be sure to contact the regional catechetical director in your area. Actually, she’ll probably find you first.

This coming Sunday, Sept. 17, is Catechetical Sunday, the day set aside by the Catholic Church in the U.S. to emphasize the importance of faith formation for all ages. It is the day in many parishes when candidates are formally commissioned. Here is what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has to offer in the way of information and resources.

One more thing: if you are a catechist or are just thinking about it, why not come to one of our annual Catechetical Forums: Saturday, Oct. 13, at Sacred Heart Parish in Monroe and Saturday, Oct. 2o, at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Check it out here.

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