NFL (National Football League) players report to their training camps at the end of July or beginning of August. Regular season games begin September 9th. NHL (National Hockey League) players hit the ice for their training camps in mid-September. Games begin on October 7th. Many catechists report to parishes for training in mid to late August. Sessions begin in September or October.
These groups – NFL players, NHL players, catechists – all need training in order to do their jobs well. Athletes typically train year-round, working out in gyms to keep their muscles toned and flexible. Then when they enter their training camps, they focus on learning plays and working together as a team. Catechists, too, should be in training year-round, reading and participating in continuing education, so that when we report to our parishes in late summer, we are ready to begin envisioning goals and objectives for the year and planning lessons to engage our learners.
Catechesis is a critical ministry within the Church; therefore, catechists need to be effectively trained to pass on the Good News of Christ to our learners. Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education typically schedule sessions to ensure that catechists have at least the basics to begin our ministry. Many dioceses also offer catechetical conferences at which catechists can participate in keynotes and learning sessions. Catechists need to take advantage of the opportunities provided in our parishes and dioceses.
As catechists, we need to be prepared in order to achieve the goals of our ministry. Preparation builds confidence. When we’re working with children, youth, and even adults to pass on the tenets of our Catholic faith, we need confidence. We need to know the content that we are passing on to our learners. We need to know the capabilities of our learners. We need to be comfortable utilizing the resources available for us to access and use.
Even though our personal schedules may already be crammed full of family activities, especially with the beginning of a new school year, we need to make a commitment to our own formation and development. Taking time to prepare will help us to succeed in inspiring our learners to develop their relationship with Christ and the Church.
Athletes train to win. We catechists need to train to win, too. We win by effectively engaging our learners to grow in relationship with Christ and the Church. We win by being prepared to lead exciting lesson activities. We win by empowering our learners to realize their own role in the Kingdom of God.
Are you ready for training camp?
C) Teri Burns, 2010