The Confirmation Programme: Your Verdict! (Part 2)

So, what did you think?

So, what did you think?

In Part 1, I explored feedback of parishes that used the Confirmation programme this last year. In Part 2, I am looking at the catechists’ experience. You might wonder what is the point of asking these types of questions in a survey. Well, when you understand that it is a catechist who transmits the faith – not a book – then you understand why this is central to any programme.

What interested me is that 45% said they had been catechists over 8 years. 68% said they had completed some kind of formal training. Everyone who answered said there was enough information given to teach the topics presented, however, one remarked bluntly but oh so truthfully,

Still no substitute for knowing your stuff. If catechists don’t take the time to get right inside what’s in the book, the catechesis can be hopelessly awful.

Yes, my friend, 100% agree.

Another commented on the Catechist’s Guide:

Used by whole team. Excellent as enabled us all to prepare so that when we met for our planning meetings discussions could take place, questions seeking clarification raised and answered all of which led to a deeper understanding of the catechesis.

Now, do you remember from the last post which session I was shocked to find out was used by 100% of respondents?! That’s right – the session on the Blessed Trinity! Well, when asked which session catechists felt least confident in teaching, the response was – you’ve guessed it – session 2, God the Blessed Trinity – along with session 15, Life Everlasting.

I also asked about small groups. I know that when these work they can be life-changingly powerful for young people. And when they don’t work, they can be losing-the-will-to-live awful. And yes, both ends of the spectrum were represented in the responses:

At the beginning of the course the young people were shy and would mainly talk to their already established friends. As time went by they relaxed with each other and opened up. It was great to see.

And:

Sadly most candidates would rather be anywhere else

… thank you for your truthfulness, my friend!

When I asked what further training or formation catechists would want, I suspected a lot would say help with classroom management. However, only 10% said this. 55% said they would like more doctrinal formation, and 65% said they would like to be able to defend the faith better.

I will leave you with some final comments:

As a general rule I don’t like pre written programmes, and have usually written my own, together with other catechists. This is the first programme where I have felt it was trying to do what I have always tried to do, i.e include developing a relationship with Jesus as its centre… For it to be most successful though, it has to be run by catechists who already have their own deepening personal relationship with Jesus. Finally, thank you for all the work that went into producing it.

A fantastic course that supported me (in my first time) and the other catechists and makes it easier to attract new catechists. Zero drop out rate from our large class (39) speaks for itself, and course was great success given a rocky road in the two years preceding it. I reviewed several courses before taking on the challenge, and I’ve no doubt that nothing else would have supported me and our parish’s young people better than the Transformed in Christ programme. A life-saver straight from the Holy Spirit!

[I will be speaking on September 19th at a day organised by the Guild of Our Lady and St Joseph (School of the Annunciation) in Plymouth. If you want to hear more about Transformed in Christ Confirmation programme, come along! For more info, see here.]

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