Friday, April 08, 2011

Articles for Catechists and DREs

Below are five articles for catechists and DREs available online:

Growing as a Catechist Self Evaluation, document posted on Joe Paprocki's blog Catechist's Journey

Leadership skills for catechists by Wanda and Gerard Scheuermann, Ministry & Liturgy, October 1999. - What qualities and skills are needed by those involved in the church’s ongoing catechetical process? Some are innate, and some can be learned and developed.

All three of the following articles were published in the online edition of the Catechist magazine:

Be an Evangelizing Catechist! by Tom Quinlan - As a catechist, you share the Good News of Christ with others.

Nurturing Catechists by Marlene Sweeney - How do we encourage all our catechists to grow into people who are eager to learn more about their faith, grow in their commitment, and deepen their own prayer life?

6 Principles for Managing Successful Faith Formation Sessions by Daniel Abben - "Why? What did I do wrong?" asked James as I, a frustrated new catechist, banished him to the hall for bad behavior.


T daddy said...

We have been sending our children to a Catholic school for 8 years. Our eldest is in grade 7 and will be graduating from elementary school this year. In the past two years, he has had a couple of difficult encounters with his teachers related to his Catholic eductation. Last year his classmate offered up a prayer in Religion class for our cat who had died the day before. His teacher hastily shut down the prayer and used the teachable moment to explain to the class about the non-existence of animals' souls while my son whimpered in confusion and grief. He was offered no compassion or empathy whatsoever from his teacher. This year, my son was the only student in his class to respectfully decline the sacrament of Confirmation. (I didn't encourage him either way - this decision was entirely his own). Since all the other students in his class are required to complete an assignment related to receiving the sacrament, my son was required to write an essay explaining his reasons for not being confirmed. This was not to be a research essay, but a personal statement. He was told that his essay would be then sent to the archbishop after being graded. Two days after submitting the essay, it came back to him without a grade, instead, with an essay of response from his teacher. If I were to scan the essay for you herein you would see the angry red ink, the triple underlines on words such as 'truth' and 'church', the handwriting which starts out small and neat and gets progressively larger and turns into angry large-letter printing, etc. I would like to share my son's essay and his teacher's response to it in a forum of Catholic educators and parents. I welcome any input and perspectives this community might be willing to share. The essay and response are too long to submit in this comment box, so if the moderator accepts my request, please indicate how I might share this content.

Gilles Côté said...

Dear T daddy,
What a painful situation this must be for you and your son. I can understand your desire to let catechists and teachers know how hurtful their attitude can be when their priorities are not ordered as they should. As teachers we need to remember that we are called first of all to teach "children" with love and compassion. Our primary role is not to teach “subject matters”, even when that subject matter is “religion”. If we set love and compassion aside when we teach, we are not responding to our vocation as teachers. We are called to reveal God’s love to the children under our care by everything we do and say and by the way we teach whatever we teach. That is what must come first, and in the middle and last.
That said, I am in no position to pass judgment or comment on this specific situation, nor do I feel this is the proper forum to discuss the situation you described. I would strongly suggest you get in touch with the teacher in question. I am well aware that because of the hurtful circumstances, this might not be the easiest thing to do; you may therefore also want to get the principal of the school involved as a mediator.
I do not know the teacher of your son, nor the circumstances (personal or professional) that led to this situation. However, I cannot but remember with chagrin some instances when I “lost it” and was certainly not the loving and compassionate person I should have been and wanted to be with my students. Even as a parent, I also know I was not always able to be the loving father I wanted to be. I am sure my students, their parents and my daughters must have had to forgive me on many occasions. I am sure they have and their forgiveness has, I believe, helped me to grow in love in compassion.
I do not have access to the emails of those who comment on my blog. If you wish to contact me further, you can do so by clicking on the “Contact” button on the upper left corner of the blog page.
My prayers are with you, your son and his teacher.