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Going Out to Meet the Needs

Catechist Formation in Northeast Alabama

Helping faith formation leaders and catechists grow as disciples of Jesus and witnesses of living Catholic faith is a big part of the work of the Office of Religious Education, an office which would not exist without the financial resources made available through the annual Catholic Charities and Communities Appeal.

Recently, the office partnered with leaders from St. William's Parish and the Chapel of the Holy Cross to host a formation day for catechists in Northeast Alabama. The day focused on needs expressed by teachers and questions asked by students.

Catechists took part in bilingual formation activities throughout the day, Mass, the sacrament of reconciliation, and a shared meal. They also engaged in hands-on learning opportunities with students and with one another.

Led by Sister Madeleine Marie, S.s.E.W., children participated in catechetical activities drawn from “Come Follow Me,” a Montessori-style faith formation program. Catechists took turns joining in a formation environment staged with simple visual and tactile elements and observed students as they listened to the stories of the sacred Scriptures proclaimed with group sharing, art, and play.

Carol Wiget, diocesan director for youth ministry, led catechists through an experience of listening in small groups. She demonstrated how to set aside space and time after teaching to listen closely to the needs and experiences of those being formed and build relationships of deepening trust.

Regarding this experience, Debbie Still, director of religious education at St. William’s, said, “My catechists really appreciated the direction on how to gather as a small group.” In fact, they were able to put the news skills to immediate use. “One of my catechists was just starting out,” Still remarked, “and the teaching came at a perfect time as she started work with her students.”

Sister Karen Muniz, director of faith formation for the Archdiocese of Miami, taught Spanish-language catechists in the elements of handing on the faith and in basic classroom methodology. “Our catechists loved it,” said Yolanda Nieto, director of religious education at the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

This event is just one example of the different ways diocesan catechetical leaders are being supported by the diocese, working to support children and families in parishes. To those making the sacrifice to support Catholic Charities and Communities, I sincerely thank you. Without that sacrifice, the good work of handing on of the Catholic faith in the Diocese of Birmingham would not be fully realized.

Catholic Charities and Communities

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama

Put your money to work! Programs throughout the diocese like this one are made possible because of you.

Thank you!

Gifts and pledges to Catholic Charities and Communities can be made at any time online, by mail, or by dropping your pledge card in a parish collection. Please visit and click on “Catholic Charities” for more information or to make your pledge or gift.

Catholic Charities and Communities

P.O. Box 12047

Birmingham, Alabama 35202

205.838.8309 |

Daniel McCormick is the director of the Office of Religious Education for the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.