Looking for heroes? Catechists

This weekend we celebrate “Catechetical Sunday” in parishes around our diocese, yet many Catholics might stammer if asked to define the word or its root, “catechist.” For starters, there’s a one-word definition that works well for us:

Hero.

OK, the official definition of catechist is one who teaches in the name of the church. And that includes many, many of us — including all parents, who are the primary teachers of their children in the faith.

But this weekend is known more as a time, at the start of the school year, to recognize and commission those who staff religious education programs in our parishes. Who are they?

They are accountants, secretaries, stay-at-home moms and dads, nurses. They are everyday Catholics who may have volunteered, or been volunteered, to stand up in front of young people or adults and explain the teachings of our church — the Creed, the sacraments, prayer. They invite us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Could you do it? The answer is probably “yes,” but we all can make excuses not to volunteer. It’s a time commitment. We don’t think we know enough. Not everyone is meant to teach.

Because it’s easier to answer “no,” the hundreds who answer “yes” to this special ministry are our heroes. Thank them this weekend. And if you want to be a hero, contact your pastor. Your parish may have a few openings to fill as the new year starts. — Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief, The Catholic Post

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