Sian Owen’s Capstone Story

Catechesis – Exploring New Tools
by Sian Owen

We’ve seen it and read comments about it, and possibly have been guilty ourselves. Heads down, fingers poised engaging with a devise: it is part of the reality of life. People access information, integrate it into life in very different ways today than they did 10, 15, 20 years ago. Since the rise of smart-phones and tablets, how people engage with each other and learn about the world has changed dramatically. We can bemoan the fact if we are so inclined but we can’t change it. For Catechists, those wonderful, mainly volunteer parishioners who work with families in the sacramental preparation of children, or provide parish-based Religious Education, or run RCIA processes, the digital reality provides many challenges and endless opportunities.

New tools for teaching and learning abound. Facebook, Pinterest, Websites, Instagram etc… these are not the message nor the content of Catechesis; they are tools to support the processes and build relationships. The Religious Education Office of the Auckland Diocese has worked with local Catechists to demonstrate some possibilities and discuss their implementation in parishes. Using the established Catchiest Catch-ups, Catechists were introduced to a variety of tools. Robust discussion was held about how they could be utilized and what we could do together. Facebook closed groups were used as a safe forum for sharing ideas; resources were looked at, and Catechists competed in Kahoot quizzes and searched the hundreds of thousand quizzes that others had prepared. How to create resources using Canva, Typorama and Vimeo was also modelled and shared. Pinterest was explored. A theology of relationships was at the core of the time together, woven with fun & laughter.

One participant demonstrated the excitement by messaging, “Thank you for a wonderful workshop. Never thought of using tech phones, tablet for sacramental programme. We mulled and talked about it on the way home and now it is food for thought for RCIA. Have already shared, Canva and Typography with some of the members of the sacramental process team.” The 21st Century is here, and with it an abundance of technology tools that Catechists can use to enliven their ministries and build authentic relationships. We minister in an exciting time to learn, to explore and to share together.

This work is supported by the Catechist Network section of the new Catholic Diocese of Auckland website.