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RECRUITING AND TRAINING VOLUNTEER CATECHISTS. Part 1 Who is a Catechist?. Overview. Understanding Volunteerism The catechist’s role as vocation Role description for the volunteer catechist What Church documents say What Scripture says. Outcomes.

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Part 1Who is a Catechist?


  • Understanding Volunteerism

  • The catechist’s role as vocation

  • Role description for the volunteer catechist

  • What Church documents say

  • What Scripture says


As a result of this segment you will be able to:

  • Identify the principal reasons why people volunteer

  • Articulate the role of catechist as a vocation

  • Create a working role description for a volunteer catechist

  • Place catechist’s role descriptions in the context of Scripture and Church documents

Why People Volunteer

  • Achievement

  • Challenge

  • Creativity

  • Independence

  • Leadership

  • Recognition

  • Self-Expression

  • Service

  • Socialization

“Idea Pool, Volunteer Support And Recognition"

The Catechist’s Role as Vocation

“The vocation of the laity to catechesis springs from the sacrament of Baptism.”

(GDC #231)

The Catechist’s Role as Vocation

“Indeed, efforts must be made to encourage in parishes and Christian communities vocations for catechesis.” (GDC #233)

A Sample Role Description

Jesus’ Role Description for Discipleship

“But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?

And how are they to believe in one whom they have never heard?

And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?

And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10.14-15 (NRSV)

Part 2: Recruiting and Screening


  • Creating a positive “buzz”

  • Recruiting

  • Tailoring tools

  • Handling objections

  • Screening


As a result of this segment you will be able to:

  • Communicate the image of your program in ways that motivate volunteers

  • Plan effective recruiting strategies

  • Screen prospective catechists with confidence and purpose

Our Religious Education Program Is…

Creating a Positive Buzz

  • Ministers and Marketers

“No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light.”

Luke 11.33

Creating a Positive Buzz

  • Ministers and Marketers

  • Ownership leads to involvement

  • Quality is key

“Use good paper and a good printing process…If you have something well-thought-out…prospective volunteers…get the idea that your program is concrete.”

--The Effective DRE/Recruiting

“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”

Luke 16.8

Recruit Early and Often and Don’t Do It Alone!

  • Form a recruiting committee

  • Start early (Jan/Feb)

  • Market everywhere

  • Jesus’ method of recruiting

Gender is not an indicator of time, talent, or willingness to teach.

Invite everyone to live their baptismal call.


  • The Interview

  • The Channeling

  • The Paperwork

The Interview

The Joy of Discovery

“Catechist Interest Form”

Thank you for your interest in teaching! Please give some thought to the following statement and bring this completed sheet to our meeting on _____at____in the Religious Education Office. I look forward to seeing you.

1. My primary reason for wanting to teach is:

2. When it comes to teaching…

My fear is that:

My hope is that:

I am excited about:

3. I feel I offer the following talents and skills in this ministry:

4. I feel I need the following things to make me a good catechist:

5. I am a person of faith because:

6. The ways I would like to grow in my faith are:

The Channeling

Never waste a volunteer

Dismissing a Catechist

  • Inform

  • Instruct

  • Inspire

The PaperworkConsult Your Diocesan Office

  • Application for Parish Catechist

  • Application for Volunteer Service

  • Sample Reference Letter

  • Application Form for Minors

  • Parish Catechist Referral Form

  • Catechetical Staff Record

“Catechists must be able to be, at one and the same time, teachers, educators, and witnesses of the faith.”

GDC #237

Part 3: Developing Skills

Developing skills

  • Considering differences: responding to needs

  • Hey, who’s got time to train? I’m just glad they said “YES”!

  • Designing catechist training sessions


As a result of this segment you will be able to:

  • Identify your challenges and concerns in training catechists

  • Outline the needs and concerns of new, returning, and veteran catechists

  • Use an assessment tool to plan catechist inservice opportunities

  • Apply principles for adult learning to create dynamic and effective catechist training

Considering Differences: Responding to Needs

  • What comes after they’ve said “Yes!”?

  • Catechists are not a homogenous group

“New, Returning, and Veteran Catechists.”

Who’s got time to train?

  • Have you ever heard this…?

  • Assessing your past year’s efforts in four areas:

    • Orientation

    • Theological Education

    • Skill Development

    • Spiritual Growth

Strong = 1, Good = 2, Mediocre = 3, Weak = 4

Training Options

  • Independent training opportunities

  • Group training at the parish must be:

    • Organized and systematic

    • Based on needs

    • Based on diocesan certification

  • Local, regional, diocesan, and national training opportunities

“Volunteers’ Theological Background and Skills Needs”

“Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Your Training Session”

Designing Catechist Training Sessions

  • Recall one of your best or worst adult learning experiences

  • What ingredients made the experience:

    • Very good

    • Very poor

“Principles for Adult Learning”

Part 4: Supporting and Retaining Volunteers


  • Support and recognition of volunteers

  • Definitions and distinctions

  • Support, recognition, and role of the DRE

  • Motivation as a key


As a result of this segment you will be able to:

  • Structure a support framework to ensure catechist well-being

  • Identify “support and recognition” approaches that work for you

Support and Recognition

  • Favorite approaches

  • Teamwork is essential

    • With staff, catechists, and parents

    • All with parish community

    • Each and all as responsible

    • DRE as team leader

Personal Support Is…

  • Knowing where to go with a problem

  • Knowing it’s OK to ask for help

  • Being held accountable

  • Having others care in times of need

  • Having others celebrate with you in times of joy

Individual Affirmation Is: SMART

  • Specific

  • Meaningful

  • Authentic

  • Relevant

  • Timely

Public Recognition: Principle Approaches

  • Formal commissioning

  • Appreciation dinner

  • Awards or certificates

  • Publishing volunteer names

“Public Recognition Action Plan”

Support, Recognition, and the Role of the DRE

  • Resourcing

  • Supervision

  • Record Keeping

  • Assessment for Growth

Ongoing Support, Recognition, and the Role of the DRE”

Why People Volunteer

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