When Frederick had finished, they all applauded.
"But Frederick," they said, "you are a poet!"
Frederick blushed, took a bow, and said shyly, "I know it."
Leo Leonni, Frederick
Frederick was not a catechist. He was a field mouse in a chatty family of field mice. But he was a special field mouse because he was called to a special task. While the other members of his family worked day and night to gather corn and nuts and wheat and straw for the long cold winter, Frederick gathered sun rays, colors and words. Somehow he knew that these were going to be important, and they were. When the corn and nuts and wheat were gone, Frederick, through his words, was able to bring the warming rays of the sun and the beautiful colors of the blue periwinkles and red poppies to help his family survive the winter. Frederick, the poet, knew from the beginning what he was doing.
What Is a Catechist?
Before we can begin to talk about working smarter, you need to ask yourself what it is that you are expected to do as a catechist. Like Frederick, you need to know from the outset what your role is. The term catechist has a long history in the Church, but it is not a word that is often used in everyday conversation. When you were being recruited by your parish or school to be a catechist, you, no doubt, understood it to mean a religion teacher. You were right. To be a catechist is to be a teacher, but a teacher with a special task.
The term catechist comes from a Greek word meaning "to echo." The Church has the responsibility of handing on the faith, of echoing the Word of God, to its own generation and to succeeding generations. This is the catechetical ministry. In the early church if one assumed this task, he or she was called a catechist, a person responsible for echoing the message of Jesus to the community. Today, as in the past, people actively involved in the formal ministry of handing on the faith are called catechists. By choosing to become involved in your parish or school's religious education (catechetical) program, you became a catechist in this long tradition. You assumed the responsibility of handing on the Catholic
From Working Smarter, Not Harder: A Catechist's Survival Guide by Tom and Rita Walters. c) 2011