This Wednesday, 44 people will attend Catechist Orientation at St. Thomas More. These 44 people have agreed to share their faith with the children of our parish and teach them what it means to be a Catholic Christian. I attended a conference several years ago where Archbishop Michael Jackels was the featured speaker. He said, “The ministry of catechesis is the root of all other ministries in the church. The children we teach today become the extraordinary ministers, lectors, musicians, and the people who choose religious vocations tomorrow. It all begins with what we do.”
Catechesis is not only an important job, but a time consuming one as well. It requires a minimum of 3 hours of volunteer time a week, between lesson planning, gathering materials, and actually teaching in the classroom. Catechists who volunteer rarely see the results of their efforts. They plant seeds that will, hopefully, bear fruit at a much later date. So why volunteer for such a difficult ministry?
Rose Marie Harris, who has taught 2nd grade for 27 years, says, “I love the children! I love sharing their faith journey to help them know and love Jesus and to become his best friend. Each year, I am as excited for them to receive the Eucharist as they are excited, anticipating receiving their 1st Holy Communion. It is very rewarding!”
Hannah Calgren, a college student who is starting her fourth year of volunteering, said, “It reminds me that I am a part of a community that is bigger than me. Just as I was helped and reminded of God’s love for me from teachers, now I have the opportunity to teach the next generation about God. These kiddos are great, and there is no greater reward than seeing the awe on their faces when they learn about how awesome our God is (and it’s a good reminder for all of us ‘big kids’ to remember how awe-inspiring and incredible our God really is, too!)”
Kristy Garrett, who has taught both her children and will teach her daughter this year, says, “I teach religious education to help share God’s love and the life and teachings of Jesus with my students. My favorite part of our lessons is when our students remember past lessons or something they heard at Mass or at home with their parents to relate to our discussion.”
In K-6, our goal is to teach the children about God’s laws, the traditions of the church, and the specialness of being God’s child. We want to give the children “roots” in our Catholicism. As adults, we want our faith tradition to give us “wings,” to lead us into something greater, allowing us to participate in and with God, to help us transition toward an even deeper union with God and all things. STM is offering some wonderful adult classes this fall to help you grow you “wings”: Oremus; From Nothing to Cosmos: God & Science; US Catechism; Men’s Bible Study, Thom’s Moms’ Bible Study, ITV: Worship & Faith (Fr. Frank), and ITV: Reformation. See the InforMore for additional information on these classes.
I encourage you to make time for your own faith formation. We have only one life—one chance to get this right. As Fr. Richard Rohr says, “For a few years, we dance around on the stage of life and have the chance to reflect a little bit of God’s glory. As a human, I’m just a tiny moment of consciousness, a tiny part of creation, a particle that reflects only a fragment of God’s love and beauty. And yet that’s enough. And then we return to where we started—in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love.”
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator