Teaching Catechism -
Noble Work of
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
The Vocation of a Catechist
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send?
Who will go for us?"
"Here I am," I said;
Have you heard the voice of the Lord calling you to serve him?
Can you offer your time and talent to be sent by the Lord?
Do you enjoy working with children or adolescents?
Qualities of an Effective Catechist
• A desire to grow in and share our faith
• An awareness of God’s grace and the desire to
respond to that grace
• A commitment to the Church’s liturgical and
sacramental life and moral teachings
• A strength of character built on patience,
responsibility, confidence, and creativity
• A generosity of spirit, respect for diversity, and a
habit of hospitality and inclusion.
Knowledge and Skills of a Catechist
• A basic understanding of Catholic teaching,
Scripture, and Catholic Tradition
• Honest and caring relationships with children
• An ability to plan, organize, and work well with
• A familiarity with basic teaching skills
Whom do I Train?/Context
• One language, One religion, One Hindu nation.
• Children today are exposed to the hi-tech media
• Today churches are slowly growing empty
• It’s a mixture of the locals and the migrated
• Children who lack love and acceptance, who are terribly scared of parents.
• Can these be pillars of the church? Can there be a Francis Xavier? John the Britto?
Story: Once there was a huge, shapeless stone,
in front of the….people tried to move it,
but it was such a huge one, people could not….
• Infancy: Trust vs mistrust:
• It has much to do with the mother or the primary care giver.
• Trust and Mistrust.
• Ego strength and hope
Early childhood: Autonomy vs Shame or Doubt( 2-3 Years)
• Doubt over the ability to hold on may lead to shame or doubt, that leads to lack of
Play age: Initiative vs Guilt(3-5):
• At this stage a child tries to learn new things. The success of this stage depends on
the parents response to the self initiated activities of the children.
• The discouragement or punishment leads to Guilt.
School Age: Industry Vs Inferiority( 7-11):
At this stage, child is busy doing something, and make it well. At this
stage, certain passionate and imaginative qualities of earlier years
calm down, so that child is free to concentrate on learning. This is
the stage teachers and peers place new demands on the children.
Society slowly comes into picture. Peril at this stage will lead to
inferiority. This is the stage to learn competence and build go
Adolescence: Ego Identity vs Role Confusion:
• Ego identity Vs Role Confusion.
• Ego identity is influenced by one sees oneself and how others
look at him/her.
• Pricking question: Who am I?
• Whom do I belong to ? question slowly creeps in.
Mind is not a blank slate. The collective unconscious consists of the predispositions
or possibilities of behaving in certain way.
Man is not born human, but is formed by the society.
It’s a process of learning.
It’s a guided process.
It’s a social process…social interaction is very necessary.
It’s an ongoing process and is successive.
Piagets 4 Stages of Development
Sensory Motor Stage( Infancy – 2years)
• At this stage children experience the world through movement and 5 senses.
• Child begins to make mental images and classify them.
Pre- operational stage(2-5):
• Use of symbols, slowly language matures,
• Memory and imaginations slowly grow.
• But thinking is done in non logical
• Child starts to use language, but can’t make a distinction between mental and
Concrete Operational Stage(5-11):
• In this stage, 7 types of conversation: number, liquid,
mass, weight, area, volume.
• Logical thinking slowly develops.
Formal Operational Stage( after 11):
• Logical use of symbols related to abstract symbols.
Person is capable of deductive reasoning.
• Child starts questioning, suspects norms – Why?
• Need of reason and understanding.
If the teacher is indeed wise, he/she does
not bid you enter the hose of his wisdom, but
rather leads you to the threshold of your
own mind. – K. Gibran.
Ordinary teachers meet students’ needs.
Extraordinary teachers anticipate them.
Being and Doing…
• It is not what you teach; it’s about
what you are….Personal Life.
• Profession Vs Passion (2 types of
• Every physical body emits vibrations.
Children, will perceive
• If there is a dichotomy between,
what you believe and what you say;
what you say and what you
are…there grows a resistance to
• Doing is important, but does it flow
from your being.
Some basic Core Values that, Need to be
• Love, forgiveness, Justice, Care
• Clarity of basic concepts: Trinity, Social
• Knowledge of the scripture.
• Intellectual clarity on what we believe and
an genuine attempt to understand them.
• Make sure, the feeling that you impart to your
• Acceptance / Rejected
• Important/ Not important or good for nothing
• Belonged to / Unwanted
• Loved & Cared for/ Unloved uncared for?
• Fraternal Correction?
The feeling that children go through…
Effective Ways of Teaching….
• In any teaching the effectiveness depends not on
what you say, rather on how you say it / how they
• Quite often our teaching methods appeal to only
one or two senses. Today studies are proving that ,
if you can make the learning through five senses,
more Effective the reception will be.
Learning is at 2 levels:
• First at the intellectual/ head level that remains as an
information or knowledge. This appeals more to the Doing
Person in you
• Second is at the heart level. This brings about
transformation.This brings about a l;asting impact. Now this
largely depends on your Being – What you are in your own
• Is the learnerning in your class passive or active?
• Basic input is essential.
• Can the class begin with a conversation where, children
express their views/ their questions on the topics to be
discussed on that day and the teacher carries on from
there. For example; what they think of God? Remember
questions to be given on the previous Sunday?
• Use stories and inspiring quotes/ scriptural verses.
• Some other methods could be: Collage, use paper
cutting on the topic to put it together.
• Can you get some pictures…relevant to the topic.
• Can there be some activity/ game etc, from where
effectively the message could be communicated.
• Can the lectures – experience/ case study/ family
• Discussions debates on some relevant topics from
there you connect back to the theme.
• Cross/ jumbled words…
• Video Presentations / Movie occasionally.
• Group activities like role play/ one act play
• Music: play a relevant song and build it into
• Repetition of the important information /
• Repeat the important message, in the middle
and at the end and see that they have
received, what needed to be communicated.
• Asking them to draw.
• Preparation of collage, timed…
• Teach them some songs / Action Songs that
would remain in them.
• Teaching, at least some sections through
• Ask for an action plan, whenever possible,
that makes the learnt knowledge,
integrated.( One act of Random kindness
at a time). Here teacher can facilitate, like
how can we follow Jesus…?
Methods of Teaching according to Section Wise
1-3 Std Stories, Images, Paper Cuttings, Songs,
Memory, Repetition, Drawing
4-6 Std Questions, Collage, Songs, Game, Cross/
Jumbled Words, Memory, Role Play, stories,
7-8 Std Questions, Collage, Songs, Game, Memory, Role
Play, Stories, pictures Quiz, Videos, Music, Case
Study, Inspiring quotes, Scriptural use.
9-10 Std Questions, Incidents,life experience,Case
Study,Songs, game,Quiz, Video, Collage, Music,
Role play, Debates, Discussions, Inspiring
• Corrections need to be Confrontation Vs
• Congratulate the child when it has done well
openly, and correction , especially in a
catechism class, needs to be personally done.
One Step Further…
• Make learning personal. My experience in the SJASC
this summer…people with mobile phones.
• Do you know your children?
• Do you know, each of them by name?
• Do you know their personal story? Their life? Their
rhythm – ways of relating responding?
• It’s then the teaching becomes personal and effective.
• Can the catechism teacher be a loving parent?
• How will it be if children love to remain in the catechism
• Teaching catechism is a noble work of
formation. It’s the work of the kingdom.
• These are like the shapeless stones,
waiting to be carved.
• On the final analysis, what forms the
children , is what you are as a person ,
what you practice in your life and not
merely what you teach.