P. 22

RECRUITING AND TRAINING CATECHISTSFinding CatechistsMany parishes have a large turnover among catechists each year, but at the same time maintain a core of experienced catechists  Experienced catechists create stability in a program A May appreciation party is a good time to sign up experienced catechists for another year  This event can be combined with an evaluation of the year  Honor catechists’ service and respondto their needs in order to forma group of able and experienced catechists who can not only teach children but also mentor new volunteer catechists  Some parishes pay their catechists modest stipends Register children for faith formation in August or preregister them in the spring, so you can determine how many childrenwill be in your classes when they start in the fall  Class size is ideally between 10 and 20 children  New volunteer catechists succeed better with smaller groups Begin recruiting catechists early  Involve the parish communityby making your needs known  Consider:l Advertising in the parish bulletin, on the parish’s website, social media outlets;l Speaking from the pulpit;l Contacting potential recruits personally;l Offering a variety of ways parishioners can serve as catechists;l Requesting referrals from catechists, staff, and others;l Inviting new parishioners to join your team of catechists;l Allowing catechists to volunteer for a half-year or two months at a time and team teach in tandem with others;l Offering classes on different days, weekends, or at different times of day to allow more people to volunteer;l Holding classes in a different location than the parish buildings (as approved by your pastor);l Offering the opportunityto team teach with another catechist for those who do not want to take on a class alone;l Partnering new volunteer catechists with experienced teachers for a year before they teach solo with children;l Having couples or teams teach classes rather than individuals teaching alone, or have teens work as aides with catechists to help with activities;l Creating a list of substitute catechists to call when regular catechists can’t make their sessions Using Parish Talent andResourcesTo enhance your program, consider ways in which you can use parishioners’ creative resources to complement the lessons or themes of the liturgical seasons  Music, art, and puppets all offer additional avenues for learning our Christian tradition  For example, public schools teach little or no religious Christmas songs, so parishes should take up this tradition Many people no longer attend the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil liturgies because they are working and not under any obligation to attend  Yet these celebrations, which involve the whole person with signs, symbols, music, and dramatic gestures, have more to teach children through their senses than any other liturgies of the year  The Weeklies strongly urge parishes to recatechize adults on the value of participating in the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum l What special gifts do people in your parish have to bring to the faith formation program?l Can you draw on parish musicians to teach songs to the young people regularly or for special seasons or for occasions such as the end of the year?20

   20   21   22   23   24