So your Catholic parish is asking you to be a catechist. Say ‘Yes’ with help from this planning aid

August 18, 2010

Bobz Book Reviews

creative catechist planning guide cover

If you’ve ever been asked to teach a faith formation class and hesitated because you didn’t know if you could do it well, there’s an inexpensive booklet that will not only give you the confidence to do so but will assist you all throughout the class year.

Creative Catechist’s “Praying and Planning Guide” for 2010-2011 is readable for any adult, and as a teacher’s aid it offers ideas that are simple to put into practice.

It’s just 40 pages, but it includes:

  • Record keeping pages for 25 students with an attendance chart;
  • 2 helpful calendars — one a list of well-known saints’ feast days and the other a walk through the church year;
  • 5  no-fail suggestions for starting the year off right;
  • Tips for planning lessons;
  • More than a handful of good ideas for activities;
  • A very good breakdown of the Nicene Creed that would be a great beginning for any class.

The bulk of the booklet is its most useful part. For each month there is an example of a lesson plan to give catechists ideas about what to teach, what to stress, what to discuss and how to help that lesson be better absorbed. The three keys are 1) focus, 2) activity, and 3) materials.

Each week there is a blank space for catechists to write in the focus, activity and materials they need for that week’s lesson. It’s a great organizational tool that channels the focus on a lectionary-based path, but its greatest benefit may be that it has the potential to draw out the creativity of both catechists and their students. There’s a real emphasis on prayer, too.

Not every idea will be everyone’s cup of tea, of course. But using Creative Catechist’s methodology can’t help but give the most nervous volunteer the confidence to take on the great ministry of sharing the faith with young people. — bz

Creative Catechist’s Praying & Planning Guide is $5.95 per copy, with bulk rates available. See http://www.creativecatechist.org.

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About Bob Zyskowski

Bob is the Client Products Manager for the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A 42-year veteran of the Catholic Press, he is the former Associate Publisher of The Catholic Spirit. You can follow him on twitter or email him at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

View all posts by Bob Zyskowski