Your Baptismal Promise is Calling You

Each year, the Religious Education Department invites people to discern if God is calling them to help in the faith formation of our young parishioners. (Spoiler: If you’ve been baptized, you’ve been called to share your faith.) Perhaps you’re unsure about what to expect or what to do. That’s normal. Maybe you’re worried you won’t know enough about your faith to share it. We can help you.

Let us allay your fears. We don’t expect you to be The Perfect Catechist. That’s not even a thing. We’re looking for parents, grandparents, singles, students, first-time catechists, long-time catechists and former catechists. We’re looking for people willing to learn and prepare, who are committed to guiding our students and who trust that God will provide what they need to be an effective leader.

We know you have doubts and questions, so consider these 10 reasons people are reluctant to step up into this role.

I wouldn’t know what to teach.
We provide a week-by-week curriculum outline and a full set of resources to help you. Our texts from Loyola Press have complete teacher resources, lesson plans and a robust web site full of suggestions. Our experienced catechists share ideas and lesson plans as well. Plus, have you seen our Resource Room? There are shelves and shelves of materials you can use, and our staff is available to help. Our private catechists’ Facebook group is a place to ask questions and share ideas. 

I don’t know my faith well enough.
At one point, we were all on a journey to learn something – how to read, how to tie our shoes, how to do fractions – and we did it. Your faith is the same; when you practice it more actively, you learn more about it. In fact, this is the thing we hear most often from catechists – their faith grows exponentially when they teach RE.

I don’t have the time.
If you attend the 9 a.m. or 11:30 Mass, you’re already here on Sunday mornings. Planning takes only a couple of hours during the week. Chances are you’re already online in the evening; you can surf for lesson ideas then. We have three enrichment workshops throughout the year that take place right after class. 

I enjoy having a quiet hour for coffee on Sunday while my kids are in class.
We get that. At baptism, you were called to be a witness to Christ’s love in the world. Serving as a catechist allows you to live out this call. Coffee and quiet are beautiful things, but the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the classroom is pretty energizing, too.

I’m not crafty (or can’t sing).
This isn’t the “CCD” you may remember from your youth. Our students learn in all different kinds of ways, including using technology. You’ll see them living their faith through active participation in class Masses and Class Ministry Days. Can’t sing? No problem; plenty of people on YouTube and Spotify can. Not creative? Our resource library is full of books, ideas, handouts, posters and more. Plus, if you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know there’s no shortage of ideas.

I’m afraid to teach by myself.
You don’t have to. We place two catechists in every classroom. You can choose how best to teach. Some catechists like to team-teach. Others like to trade off from week to week. You’ll also be supported by room parents and service coordinators. We have substitute catechists if you’re on travel.

I’m worried I’ll be the “parent” rather than the “teacher” in my child’s class.
If you’d rather teach a grade or class different than your child’s, we can accommodate that. Some of our parents like teaching their child’s class and move up as their children progress through the program. Others like teaching a different grade and seeing a different aspect.

What if someone asks me a question I can’t answer?
You don’t have to know all the answers all the time. We have the people and the resources to help you find the answer so you can bring it back to class the next week.

I’m not “cool” enough to relate to students.
Our students have enough “cool” friends. What they need on Sunday morning is a committed Catholic who will learn their name, listen when they speak, involve them in a meaningful lesson, lead them in prayer and guide them on a good path. You probably have life experiences that are more applicable than you realize.

I don’t think I can manage a room of 20 kids.
Very few of our catechists are professional teachers, so everyone has concerns about classroom management. We will help you set expectations for your classroom and ensure that students and parents understand what is required for participation in our program.

Open yourself up to a new relationship with God; we’ll help you get there. 

Check out more info on our volunteer page. You can review a catechist’s “job description,” page through some digital textbooks and even listen to what some of our catechists say about the experience.

Questions? We’d love to talk to you. Call or email:

  • Anne Marie Kaufmann, Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation/Religious Education
    (202) 903-2807 or via email
  • Sandy Nguyen, RE K-8 Coordinator
    (202) 903-2815 or via email