Our Catechism Classes at Saint Anthony’s Church is made possible through the time and talents of our volunteers. From catechists to extraordinary ministers, everyone plays a very special role in bringing the knowledge of faith in Jesus to the children.
WHAT DOES THE WORD “CATECHESIS OR CATECHIST” MEAN?
The root of the words “catechesis” and “catechist” means to echo, and so the task of a catechist is to re-echo the teachings of Jesus Christ, which come to us through the official teaching of his Church. Catechists participate in the divine calling to teach as Jesus did and to witness to the truth of the faith. In addition to teaching the Diocesan curriculum, the National Directory for Catechesis lists the following as characteristics of a catechist (pg. 229).
“Catechesis is an indispensable stage in the rich, complex, and dynamic reality of evangelization. It is a remarkable moment ‘in the whole process of evangelization.’” (National Directory for Catechesis, 15)
“The specific character of catechesis, as distinct from the initial conversion-bringing proclamation of the Gospel, has the twofold objective of maturing the initial faith and of educating the true disciple of Christ by means of a deeper and more systematic knowledge of the person and the message of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Catechesis Tradendae, 19).
Catechesis is the Church’s “sacred duty and inalienable right.” (Catechesi Tradendae, 14) “The specific aim of catechesis is to develop, with God’s help, an as yet initial faith, and to advance in fullness and to nourish day by day the Christian life of the faithful, young and old.” (Catechesi Tradendae, 20) “Catechesis is that particular form of ministry of the word which matures initial conversion to make it into a living, explicit and fruitful confession of faith.” (General Directory for Catechesis, 82)
WHAT DOES A CATECHIST DO?
A catechist is a person who facilitates the process of faith formation among the children in class. This is done first by echoing the word of God in his or her own life, and second by helping others to do so.
The primary goal of a catechist is to model God’s love to others. As a result, the primary requisite of a catechist is a love for God and a love for children. A catechist designs and structures experiences for students that help them grow in their personal faith and spirituality; and passes on to students a set of shared meanings and values that are Catholic and Christian. A catechist also initiates others into the faith community, into its life, its worship, symbols and practices.
The role of the catechist is a vital ministry to the Church. It is a gift that has tremendous value to the world community at large because through the catechist’s word and action, the message of Christ continues to have a place in the hearts of human activities.
WHY SHOULD I BECOME A CATECHIST?
In choosing to become a catechist, you are answering God’s call by virtue of your own baptism. This decision is one which will not only enrich the lives of your students, but also your own faith life.
Have you ever said to yourself — “Oh, I could do that” and then sat back and never pursued the goal? Or perhaps you said, “If only I had the chance I could really be good at that!” Well, you can take that next step! You are invited to become a Catechist. You are very much wanted and can make a difference!
Be a Catechist, an aide, a hall monitor, or an extra pair of hands. You will never be sure you could, if you don’t come and say, “I can!”
WILL I RECEIVE TRAINING AND SUPPORT?
Your training will depend on your background. Most potential catechists do not have a degree in Education or religion or theology, therefore we will help you by offering simple introduction on topics such as: Classroom Management, Lesson Planning, Prayer in the Classroom, etc. Throughout the year, classes will be offered on topics such as Creed, Sacraments, Morality and much more. You can choose to attend any number of training or enrichment sessions to further your own understanding of the faith and your skills as a catechist.
The Catechist Manuals are a tremendous help to the first time catechist. They are written specifically for those adult volunteers who have no previous experience in Religious Education. The manuals offer creative ideas and tips for each lesson being presented. Once you learn how to navigate through the catechist manual, you can master this ministry.
Do I need to get any clearances?
YES. In order to insure the protection of all our parish children, we require our catechists to fill out the form. You can get it from the office. Get in touch with Melissa Machado who takes care of this form. There is also a workshop provided by the Archdiocese of Toronto and this heightens your awareness of child abuse.