No one arbitrarily volunteers to become a catechist. Rather, the Church understands this vital responsibility to have the dignity of a vocation [see General Directory for Catechesis, no. 233]. This means that being a catechist is a call that a person receives from God—an authentic path to sanctity. One reason for this is the profound level of cooperation with God that is needed in order for catechesis to be fruitful. Cooperating with God in the process of catechesis can sometimes be a grand and dramatic endeavor, but most of the time being attuned to God as a catechist happens in silent and simple experiences. Of course we know that God is always present and moving when his Word is proclaimed and encountered. We have Christ’s word on this: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” [Mt. 18:20].
It is our hope that regularly reading the testimonies of catechists, who share God’s powerful presence in the work of catechesis, will not only inspire but bring hope.
"Thank you, God, for shots!"
Sometimes God works in ways we could never imagine, let alone plan.
Just as parents were dropping off their three, four, and five year old students for an early evening catechetical session with me, a woman I had never seen before introduced herself. “I’m here to fill in for your aide. Her husband is in the hospital. I’m not sure whether she had a chance to call you, but I said I would take her place.”
The young woman had never served as an aide before, but there was precious little time to explain what was expected of her. Instead I breathed a prayer and she prayed along; “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful . . .”
The two hour session progressed peacefully and toward the end we gathered around the prayer table. As usual, the children offered spontaneous thanksgiving. A three year old, sporting a bright Band-aid on her upper arm spoke quietly, “Thank you, God, for shots.” “Shots?” A boy turned to her incredulously. “Why would you thank God for shots? They hurt!” “Because…even though they hurt, they keep you from getting very, very sick!” Satisfied, the boy offered his own prayers of gratitude and we sang a closing song.
Alone, we were cleaning up the room when the substitute aide turned to me, tears streaming down her face...