What Makes a Great Catechist (or a Terrible One)

CALLING ALL DIRECTORS OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND CATECHISTS! This one’s for you. Dave “Cucumber Melon” VanVickle and I talk about the qualities that make for bad catechists vs. great catechists and how to find the right people for your program. This is a huge issue for religious education that is so important because the immortal souls of kids depends on it.

We also have storytime with Dave on why Kenny Baldwin is A MONSTER (just kidding) and extend an extra-special welcome to long-time listener Ralph “The Party” VanVickle!

We want to hear from you! Email us at eksb@ascensionpress.com with your story, question, or comment—or if you’ve got a new nickname for Dave.


 What makes a good catechist? 

  • You have a mature spiritual life with daily prayer and a mentality of fides quaerens intellectum or “faith seeking understanding”.
  • You have an answer to this question: “Can you tell me about your daily lived relationship with the Lord?” 
  • You prioritize the truths of the Faith and always tie them to the Person of Christ. 
  • In the classroom, you make sure any craft or art project is truly effective and relevant to the lesson. 
  • You understand that you are making a difference to the immortal souls of your students.
  • You have a DRE who is responsible for ongoing formation of catechists.

What makes a bad catechist? 

  • Unprepared, you haven’t read it or prayed about it.
  • You don’t know your kids’ names.
  • You never pray for them.
  • You don’t quote the Bible.
  • You never share your story of God’s movement in your life.
  • You don’t think about conversion, only communicating the doctrine.
  • You don’t see the whole and how it is all interrelated to Christ and the Trinity.
  • Prayer is nothing but a bookend to your class.

How to find good catechists

  • Start a Bible study or adult faith formation event (or go to one that already exists) and see who shows up consistently and is serious about growing in their faith.
  • Invite specific people to be catechists. Don’t advertise to the whole church. You’re looking for people who are called, not guilted into it.
  • Do a ministry fair where people can come and see what ministries your parish has. 
  • Pray and ask God for good catechists.
  • Be comfortable letting people go.


  1. Personal Prayer Time: Ephesians 4:1-16 
  2. Memorize Catechesi Tradendae center of paragraph five.
  3. Handwrite each kids’ name and pray for one minute for each kid in your class this week. 
  4. Prepare a lesson plan for one lesson on one topic and, keeping in mind good/bad catechist, write one sentence that ties it to Christ. 
  5. Come up with one example from your life per lesson plan.


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