Catechist Formation

Office of Educational Services
Melkite Eparchy of Newton
1710 Surf Avenue – Belmar , NJ 07719
Voice 732-556-6917 – Cell 201-417-3804
email –



The coordination of a parish catechetical program, of whatever size, has a number of dimensions Each of these aspects utilizes different skills and presumes different abilities. They may all be done by one individual, in which case that person is probably a paid church staff person. In communities where these tasks are done by part time or volunteer ministers, several people may assume various parts of the supervisory role. In either case, the goal of parishes committed to strong catechetical programming should be to se that all these tasks are the responsibility of someone in the community.

A catechetical program coordinator’s responsibilities are often seen in terms of: direction, formation, and management.

By “Direction” we mean decision-making in the program: who determines what will happen on the various levels of catechesis in the parish. By “Formation” we mean, besides the implementation of programs directed at general parish membership, those aspects of teaching done by the supervisors themselves, eg. The training of catechists. Finally, by “Management” we mean the attention to logistics which can be expected in any program.

The individual tasks are many. An overview of the aspects in coordinating a program follow. A fuller treatment of these topics will be given in future chapters.

On the Level of Direction

Program Planning
The determination of programs needed in the community, both regular ongoing programs (such as the church school, sacramental preparation, adult enrichment, etc.) and special programs (such as retreats, feastday observances, end of year celebrations, etc.)
Curriculum Design
The selection of materials for use in church school programs, from pre-school through high school levels as well as family programs. Note: The use of certain materials is mandated in the diocese.

On the Level of Formation

Catechist Recruitment, Training, and Support
Working with your catechetical personnel is the most important aspect of program coordination. It involves communicating a sense of ministry, providing the spiritual and pedagogical resources needed for the work at hand, and supporting the catechists in their commitment to the Lord in the catechetical ministry.
Working with Parents
It is essential to the success of your programs for children and youth that parents develop a commitment to the values and goals you are promoting. Organized programs (such as orientation days, open houses, parenting programs), church school parents’ associations, or pastoral visitations help to involve the entire family in the effort of catechesis.
Working with Persons with Special Needs
Every program has some students who do not fit into the average categories (catch-up students, language problems, erratic attendees). Special approaches may have to be taken in these circumstances.

On the Level of Management

Class Design and Scheduling
The placement of catechists and students in appropriate groupings, the combining of classes, and the involvement of substitutes should follow standard patterns to insure consistency.
The development of efficient systems of record keeping, registration, and calendar formation for your programs
Keeping your program highly visible to the parish at large through written communications, displays, and presentations helps make the entire community feel a part of what you are doing
The selection and arrangement of facilities appropriate to your program helps provide a supportive atmosphere to catechists and student alike.
Your program should include a library stocking the various supplementary resources called for in your curriculum and the equipment necessary to use them as well as items for the personal enrichment of the catechists.
What you should expect from the parish as a whole in terms of financial support and what the parish should expect from you in terms of an appropriate budget and accountability.

Questions for Reflection

Based on the tasks indicated above, write your own job description, listing those tasks for which you accept responsibility.

Go through the list again. Determine who is to be responsible for the tasks you do not undertake