Claire McManus Capstone Story

Forming Our Catechists
The Six Tasks Every Catechist Should Know

Claire McManus
Fall River Diocese
2014

Very few of the catechetical leaders in our diocese are digital natives, and most are wary of using social media in their ministries. They are serving a generation of parents and catechists that are immersed in the digital age. Catechetical leaders lament that they are unable to engage their catechists in formational opportunities because they are too over-committed in their lives and won’t come to meetings. I wanted to see if I could create a web-based tool that could reach across the barrier of real-time formation meetings and engage the catechists directly. As my capstone project, I created a Weebly website, a web 2.0 tool that combines website and blog features. This tool is fairly easy to use, and it is also free. The parish catechetical leaders were intrigued by this and very willing to offer a few of their catechists to pilot my project. Forty catechists from across the diocese signed up for the pilot and very willingly offered feedback and corrections

The website that I created was designed to be a brief introduction to catechetical methods, and so they began with the six tasks of catechesis. The catechists started the process by completing a brief registration survey using Google Forms, and then worked their way through the site, one task at a time. Each task had its own page, followed by a blog page that offered a way for the catechist to interact with the learning through YouTube videos and other web-based media. They demonstrated their understanding of the lesson with by posting a response to a reflection question. This formation process was not designed to offer an intensive learning experience, but to determine if catechists are willing to engage in formation on their own time. Based on the responses made by catechists in an exit survey, the process worked well for them.