Monday, February 02, 2009

Catholic Catechist Recruitment Slogans

Last Thursday I gave a presentation to the catechists at my parish about the new plan to start training catechists in accordance with the National Directory for Catechesis. Four catechists showed up . . . four and a third, if you include Felix, our pastor's cat. Dozens of glazed donuts lay untouched as we sat there in embarrassed silence, avoiding eye contact and listening to the gurgling of the coffee pot, waiting for anyone else to show up. Photocopied saints coloring sheets tumbled by as a lonely wind blew through the desolate meeting room. Someone started whistling the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Finally Steve, a former cowboy from Texas, raised his lariat. "Say . . . maybe I should go round some of them stray catechists up?" He twirled the rope hopefully.

"Won't do any good, I'm afraid," I said despondently. "Most of 'em already said they couldn't come for one reason or another. One fellow just bought a new parcel of land he has to inspect. Another gal just got married. And Sue said she had to rearrange the color scheme on her blog."

"Well, why don't we get this show on the road, then, pardner?" Steve suggested.

I began by explaining what the National Directory for Catechesis is, and how it calls for all catechists to undergo a rigorous period of training. "See, it says here that being a catechist is a vocation that requires careful discernment. It talks about catechesis as a ministry that the Church commissions. And see . . . it even says, 'The suggestion that just anyone can be a catechist should be scrupulously avoided in all communications involving the recruitment of catechists.'"

When the gales of laughter finally died down we wiped away the tears of laughter and decided to focus on a plan to recruit more catechists.

"Let's come up with some catchy slogans to incentivize folks to become catechists," suggested Minnie, a nonagenarian busily knitting brightly-colored kneeler covers. Here is what we came up with:
  • "Please, please, please, please! We're really, really desperate!"
  • "Sign up now and receive a free catechist survival kit, including crepe paper, glue, crayons, coloring pages, Valium (for you, not the kids), and our award-winning classroom management tool, duct tape!"
  • "They've gone and cancelled CSI: Des Moines, so there's no longer any real reason to stay home watching TV on Wednesday nights anyway."
  • "As baptized Christians, we're each called to teach as Jesus did, by corralling a dozen teenagers into a classroom for ninety minutes and engaging them with creative yet enlightening activities . . . no, wait . . . um . . . by making children memorize a textbook and fill out worksheets? . . . um . . . with glue sticks and construction paper? . . . wait, just how did Jesus teach, anyway?"
  • "Sign up now, or we will make a long announcement begging for catechists during all the Masses. If we have to, we will even begin weeping up there, embarrassing you into volunteering. Don't think we're above that, either."
  • "Sign up now to receive a lifetime supply of fresh tuna fish!" (This suggestion came from Felix, our cat catechist.)

"Sure you don't want me to just stand outside Mass and lasso some of the folks who leave just after communion?" Steve suggested helpfully. "Or maybe I could just let my handy six-shooters do the talking, if you know what I mean."

"All righty, I guess that's it for tonight," I announced. "Donuts, anyone?"

- sic

p.s. You can read the National Directory for Catechesis, which is really an awesome document (well, to catechesis geeks, anyway), at this page at the USCCB.

Also, the saints limerick contest continues. My goal is to collect a dozen limericks for IC by the time she gets back from her silent retreat. She's going to need a good laugh after nine days of Ignatius.

p.p.s. It's been brought to my attention that the text of the NDC is not actually online, but you can buy it from the USCCB with all the money you make as a volunteer catechist. . . .


opey124 said...

Sign me up! I want a life time supply of tuna!

Barb said...

You have SO captured the situation at many parishes!!

Jeff Miller said...

Because you always wanted a thankless job, be a catechist!

Paul Cat said...

How about:

"Any warm body will do."

"Ever wanted to see how parents DON'T educate their children in eternal matters? Become a catechist today."

"All the donuts you can eat from our donut ministry table for any catechist (does not include juice, milk, coffee or any other beverage)"

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

sic... it seems to me that you have been having an awfully nice blogging time in ic's absence... and you are are awfully good at it. Perhaps you need to start your very own blog?

Paul Cat said...

There once was a man named Thomas
Who thought he could keep a dear promise.
He had a slight doubt
And gave a huge shout
“This surely for I cannot dismiss.”

Brigid was a lady no one went near
Irish true, but some still had fear.
If she should pray
One would hear her say,
“For my King a lake of great beer.”

There once was a man named Anthony.
Who found things that you could not see.
Socks and shoes.
Monthly dues.
When he found my keys, I leapt with glee.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Oopps... on examining the sidebar more carefully sic.... I have discovered you already have a blog of your own!

opey124 said...

So you have to buy the NCD? The link to the NCD on the USCCB site doesn't work.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Opey124 -

Yes, you do actually have to buy it, even though they've been promising to put it on the website for years now.

- sic

opey124 said...

OF COURSE...what was I thinking...nothing is free!
I did appreciate the opening remarks especially the mention of the value of memorization. Forget which Bishop it was. But this is what we do, and although they groan and moan, it will pay off in the end. I figured, if they have to memorize math facts, why not our faith too.

PBCSJ said...

Came across your blog by chance. It looks really interesting, but isn't "ironic Catholic" a tautology? :)

Joe Paprocki said...

Pretty funny, although to some extent we have to laugh to keep from crying! Recruiting catechists is THE greatest challenge that DREs and pastors face followed only by forming them properly. Despite those realities, it's fun to have a good laugh over the situation. Thanks.

The Ironic Catholic said...

How about
"Go and make disciples, dammit!"

--a gloss on the greek text, let's say.