Dan Pierson, founder
eCatechist isn't just another tinny voice among the deafening babble of the Internet. eCatechist is a provocative and substantive compendium of information, encouragement, entertainment, and wise advice for anyone involved with the spiritual formation of children.
Not only is Dan Pierson, eCatechist founder, personally passionate about this blog, but as a lifelong catechetical educator, he is also eminently qualified for the task. This marriage of passion and experience has engendered a prodigy--arguably the first, and certainly the best, online website dedicated to Catholic catechesis. If you're a catechist or catechetical director (or even if you're marginally interested in the subject), bookmark this site. It will inform
and entertain you.
Kate Convissor has for many words been a catechist in various programs including the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is an author and professor of English. Presently she is traveling throughout North America. You may contact her at www.wanderingnotlost.com
eCatechist is an oasis for catechists and those involved in catechetical ministry. The site offers a healthy variety of resources both practical and theoretical to enrich and strengthen a catechist’s ministry with the ease of web access. I encourage catechists to add eCatechist to their catechetical tool box.
Director Office of Religious Education Diocese of Grand Island, NE
Dan Pierson has done it again; he has stepped out of the box and delivered a fabulous tool for all catechists! eCatechist is the place to go for the most current catechetical information as well as direction to other solid and trustworthy Catholic websites and blogs. So, now is the time for all catechists to go to www.ecatechist.com and bookmark it as a favorite!
Interim Director Office of Catechetical Ministry
Diocese of Victoria in Texas
Anyone involved with religious education in their parish will want to include eCatechist in their blog-list of favorite places. Utilizing his significant background in this field, founder Dan Pierson’s site feeds the mind and the soul with his gatherings of both practical and spiritual resources.
If you would like to supplement the educational materials of your parish but are overwhelmed by the time involved in exploring the Web, you will find eCatechist has done the work for you. Postings range from such useful items as a recent classroom instruction outline, to theological discussion and background, to the purely inspirational in prayers, sacred art and book recommendations. eCatechist is a valuable offering to the thousands of volunteers and staff bringing faith formation to a new generation of Catholics.
Lifelong Learner, Digital Catholic
Grand Rapids, MI
eCatechist gathers the English speaking catechetical community.
Everybody. First time catechists are introduced to long time DRE's and
senior catechists, and they meet up with bishops, college professors,
and people who write their textbooks, journals and adult formation
materials. The attractive format calls their attention to everything
from catechetical journals and magazines to resources for catechetical
Dan Pierson has captured the essence of just-in-time
website delivery: eCatechist offers resources for survival in the
children's classroom, or the adult formation session, or at the
administrative desk, and nudges readers to appreciate nuances of
doctrinal content and age-appropriate methodology.
Dan Gast, Parish and Diocesan Director of Religious Education Emeritus and founding director of the INSPIRE Program of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Loyola Chicago Institute for Ministry.
eCatechist.com! What a collection of many things, many voices, many resources catechetical! This treasure trove of online resources is compiled by experienced catechetical consultant and former diocesan director Dan Pierson.
In a wonderfully blog-like fashion he shares a collection of ideas, books, reflections and class materials that can inspire catechists of any age group to grow in their own spirituality and ministry. Pierson offers these gems from a broad spectrum of Catholic perspectives and levels so that the reader can be both fed and challenged.
I have been following @faithalivebooks on Twitter for some time as well so that the genius of eCatechist comes to me on my iPhone if I cannot make it to the website. There is also an email-based newsletter available.
How can one not check out this faith formation gift from a man who continues his catechetical ministry on the front line... to fourth graders... along with his wife, Margaret?
Consultant for Educational Technology for the Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. He is the author of Technology Tools for Your Ministry: No Mousing Around.
Harry J. Dudley
Catechist Creates Website As Resource for Catechists
ALLOUEZ — Dan Pierson wants to assist catechists, not only in his parish and diocese, but the more than 500,000 volunteer catechists in the 18,000 parishes in the United States. To do so, he has created a free online magazine designed to provide resources, ideas and inspiration for those who serve in the faith formation of children, youth and adults.
"What I'm concerned about is the growth and development of the catechist," said Pierson, who has served in catechetical ministry his entire adult life. "Not only is there such a large number of volunteer catechists, but a third of the catechists are new every year. Parishes don't have a lot of money to provide resources, so I started (www.eCatechist.com). I just thought to myself, 'How can I be of help to catechists? What has the Lord called me to do?'"
Pierson is leaning on his years of experience and connections to grow the Web site. He first became a parish director of religious education in 1971. He served 17 years as the diocesan director of religious education for the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Diocese.
"History says the first DRE was probably around 1967," said Pierson. "Dick Reichert, with the Green Bay Plan, was around the time that I started. Green Bay and other dioceses in Wisconsin were leaders in religious education. We were really learning on the job. There were really no models. Prior to Vatican II, it was always the assistant pastor who was the director of the CCD program. The vision was that all Catholic kids would be in the Catholic school."
Pierson said his strength as a diocesan religious education director was building partnerships with colleges and universities and other dioceses.
"I did my work through a lens of leadership development," he said. "Catechist formation was important, but my primary focus was leadership formation. I was able to make a contribution by making connections. That's when I first was able to bring in Bishop (Robert) Morneau to speak in Grand Rapids. I believe Jack Calareso was director of education in Green Bay at the time."
The online magazine features both original columns from writers and links to more than 100 resources from Web sites and blogs. The Sunday Readings page from The Compass is a regular link.
"Grand Rapids doesn't even have a diocesan newspaper," said Pierson. "Where does a catechist in Grand Rapids get a reflection on the Sunday readings? This is good stuff from your newspaper. I'm looking for materials for the catechist to become a better catechist."
Categories on the Web site include religious tradition and Scripture, catechist spirituality, effective teaching strategies, class management, spirituality of children, books for children and catechists, creative activities and devotions for children. Steve Mueller, a biblical scholar, is among the contributing writers. A free eBook from Mueller entitled "Reading Your Bible: The Journey That Will Change Your Life" is currently available on the site. Pierson said that he is working on making more eBooks available, including more titles from Mueller for $5 each. The site also features the work of Julie Quinn, an ecumenical artist who has been invited to submit her work for World Youth Day 2011, faith-based cartoons and a liturgical calendar.
eCatechist.com is not Pierson's first venture into providing a Web resource. Ten years ago, he founded www.faithAlivebooks.com, which features Catholic book reviews.
"The goal was to have people around the country reading the best Catholic books around the country," said Pierson. "FaithAlivebooks has put me in touch with a lot of publishers, which is helpful for my work with eCatechist.com."
Pierson operates the site pro bono. Writers and artists donate their work. Pierson is seeking funding to hire an editor for the site.
"I would like to find someone to post the material and do the editing, and, more importantly, help in the e-mail marketing," he said. "I really want to develop an online community. I want to develop a conversation among catechists. I love to network and bring people together."
Pierson jokes that he has been involved in church work since age 4. He started by handing out bulletins at the 6 a.m. Mass at St. Andrew Cathedral in Grand Rapids where his father served as an usher. Pierson was attracted to the Augustinians, so he pursued the priesthood after high school.
"At age 21, I decided I wanted to make money because I wanted to date," he said. "I discerned that the priesthood wasn't my call, but church ministry was."
Pierson taught for five years at a Catholic school prior to becoming a parish director of religious education. He has done consulting work over the years and currently serves as a fourth grade catechist along with his wife, Margaret, at St. Robert of Newminister Parish in Ada, Mich.
"I just can't get enough of it," he said. "I started on the ground floor of catechetical ministry and I just love it. It's my passion."