What is catechetics and why should you care?
Catechesis is practice of handing on the Faith.
Catechetics is the art and science of handing on the Faith. It is the theory behind the craft of catechesis.
You may think that it’s not important to understand the underlying principles of catechetical theory. All you need to know is what you should do in class on Sunday. But I would ask you to reconsider.
I’ll admit, the idea of learning the “theory” behind anything is not especially appealing. Until, that is, you are really excited about something and want to do it well. Then, understanding the inner workings of that thing become fascinating.
I struggled through physics in college. It seemed dull and boring. However, when I became a Navy pilot, aerodynamics become infinitely fascinating because I was interested in the application. This knowledge helped me push the plane’s performance to the limits.
Car mechanics know everything about how an engine works. Athletes study physiology in order to improve their technique. Theory is only dry when you’re not interested in the application.
A working knowledge of the theory behind the techniques of teaching the Faith can help you grow as a catechist. If you understand why things are done a certain way, then you can apply those principles across different areas and create new and exciting ways of teaching. I think you will find this fascinating.
I have an M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry with a Specialization in Catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville. I grew up Catholic but drifted away in my teens.
After 20 years away from practicing Catholicism, I came back to the Catholic Church with an insatiable desire to learn as much as I could about the Catholic Faith and a desire to help others to understand it’s beauty, depth and richness. So, I went to study at Franciscan University.
My goal from the very beginning of starting at Franciscan was to learn how to convert people to the Catholic Faith.
After a few years of theology classes, I was pretty sure I could do that. So, I volunteered to teach CCD at a local parish.
I quickly found out that a depth of theological knowledge does not necessarily make you a great catechist. In fact, it sometimes hurts you a lot! I realized that I didn’t know what I was doing and needed to find out how.
So, I entered the Catechetics program at Franciscan and met Professor Barbara Morgan. She showed me how to teach in a way that would impact people for conversion. This was what I’d been looking for and I soaked up as much as I could.
Now, I work as the Director of Religious Education at Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church in Champaign, IL. Additionally, I do diocesan level catechist training and present in the Catechist Training Track at Franciscan’s St. John Bosco Catechetical Conference. Most of my hands-on work is with RCIA where I develop curriculums, teach and lead teams in the initiation process.
All this being said, I am always learning and growing myself as a catechist, and I continually seek new ways to effectively catechize for conversion.
In this column, I want to communicate to you “practical catechetics,” a working knowledge of the theory behind teaching the Catholic Faith.
I am an operator, not a scholar. I’m not interested in boring you with academics. I want to give you easily applied theory you can use to push the performance of your catechesis to the limits and better serve the Church for the conversion of souls.
I hope you’ll join me.