Time for Change in Catholic Catechist In-Service Meetings

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September 09, 2020

Previously, Franciscan Sister Rochelle Kerkhof, Youth Minister, was responsible for a Fall and Spring In-Service Meeting for the Catechists of the nine parishes in the Grant Deanery of  the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The in-service was held in St. Patrick Parish Hall, Imperial. Meetings were held on Wednesdays, regular class nights, between 6-8 pm. (Mountain Time) and included a meal sponsored by Altar Society. Catechists car-pooled, traveling between 30-60 minutes or more, one way. Coming from various time zones and sometimes in very threatening weather, attendance was often negatively impacted.

With the ongoing pandemic, Sister Rochelle requested the following changes to her Director, Fr. Matthew Eickhoff, the Dean, and received approval to proceed with a new plan. In place of the two Catechists’ In-Services held in Imperial, Sister Rochelle has the approval of each parish pastor to present one Catechist In-Service gathering at each parish site before CCD and CYO programs begin in 2020.

The Specific Goals of this In-Service:

  • Provide teachers and aides’ time to prepare for students’ return to classroom in pandemic times; i.e. sensitivities, awareness, listening skills.
  • Share key elements of catechesis with the ‘end in mind’: namely, the person of Jesus; i.e. explicit kerygma within each class lesson connecting information to Jesus.
  • Provide teachers time to create and prioritize their catechetical teaching goals for this new year.

The Pros of ‘on site’ in-service:

  • less travel (especially at night) for the catechists from distant parishes
  • ‘more hands on’ opportunity during in-service due to smaller numbers in group
  • shape a quality catechesis focus for all teachers at one site benefiting students
  • new format will provide two Wednesdays/year for CCD and CYO instructions
  • Protocols: As advised by our local Health District in Southwest Nebraska.

Article Comments:

Sister Rochelle Kerkhof Kerkhof 09/11/2020 @ 4:07 pm

Ministry Outcomes: This is working out well at each parish site. Over the course of the past 3 weeks, I will have completed my presentation at five parish sites and have had 33 people impacted positively through our time together. This would include pastors, classroom teachers, local Directors of Religious Education and classroom aides. I am hoping that this will make a difference in the structure of religious education classes as we slowly start our new season.


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