Monday, September 16, 2013

After the homily, anyone involved in ministry to children, as catechists, aides, children's liturgy, VBS volunteers, was invited forward to make a public commitment and for a special blessing. In our usual spot, the last seat in the choir loft, I would have needed some advance warning in order to get down and join them. And I would have needed to brush my daughter off my lap, which I wasn't in the mood to do.

The parents of children in the religious education program were then asked to stand, for a similar commitment and for a blessing. Again, I wasn't willing to make those necessary shifts and trusted the blessing would find me even if seated. I'd already signed off on a parent commitment letter when I registered the kids in May.

Then, a young catechist was singled out for recognition; she'd completed the Level 1 certification. I thought that most of this could have been handled outside mass, at Tuesday's kick-off meeting. For this, we skipped the Creed.

My reaction isn't without malice. I cannot recall any such publicity ten to twenty years ago when I was in their shoes. When I joined the parish and volunteered to teach, I inquired about catechist certification (and diocesan testing of students) and was told that the parish didn't participate. The testing was ultimately dropped, as far as I know. But clearly, catechist certification is still a goal.

Looking over the present requirements, I think it was easier when I did it twenty years ago. And I do remember a listing in the diocesan newspaper as well as a mass in Trenton. But generally it was a recognition-less job. And in those days, I was hungry for recognition. For my own sake, it might be well I didn't receive any.

Now, I feel that the increased visibility at the local level is an appeal to ... ego. And I'm not sure those are the ones well-suited.

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