Having realistic expectations
When considering the number of hours a PCL is asked to undertake and the financial benefits of those individuals, the following job responsibilities – whether the person is a director, coordinator or youth minister, should be considered:
- What responsibilities will the Parish Catechetical Leader have? Will he/she be responsible for some or all programming – Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Religious Education, Sacramental Preparation, RCIA, Youth Ministry, Adult Formation, or Family Catechesis? (See Parish Catechetical Leaders - Who are they?)
- How much time will it take the Parish Catechetical Leader to recruit, train and evaluate the catechists and other staff? We can’t expect volunteer catechists to just show up and teach – they need to be asked to participate and trained in what they are to do. Most catechists are not natural teachers – they need someone to coach and mentor them so that our children and youth have a formation experience that is worth having.
- Who is going to maintain records, establish the program calendar, coordinate parish activities, oversee the use of the facilities, and submit and oversee a budget? How much time will it take an individual to do these things?
- How will the pastor, parish staff and parishioners know what is going on in faith formation? When and how is the parish catechetical leader expected to communicate?
A key aspect of the formation ministry is knowledge of the faith. The parish catechetical leader will need training and professional growth in theology, catechetical methods, human relations and communication skills.
When a parish is small and rural, we tend to put a lot of responsibility on very few people. Consider the ethical as well as legal nature of doing this. Personal invitation and relationships among Catholics today don’t happen automatically. It all takes time. Effective evangelization also requires this.