“Echoes of Faith” being implemented to better form catechists


COLUMBIA —  “Echoes of Faith,” a series of instructional modules that can be used for catechist training/certification and adult formation, was showcased to religious educators from across the Diocese of Charleston at a meeting at St. Peter School on Sept. 10.

“This is the first year of officially endorsing ‘Echoes’ as the means of formation for catechists and teachers,” said Paul Schroeder, diocesan director of Evangelization, Initiation and Catechesis, “but the diocese has always had a policy regarding the training and certifying of catechists within the state. ‘Echoes of Faith’ will allow both schools and parishes the flexibility of fitting formation of catechists into their already packed schedules.”

A project of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), produced by Resources for Living, the “Echoes of Faith” series is one method catechetical leaders such as directors for religious education (DRE) can use in the continual catechist training process.

The program was developed three years ago and is being used in many dioceses in the United States. It is described as a “basic-level, video-assisted resource for the formation and enrichment of catechists in parishes and Catholic schools.”

Diane Lampitt, former DRE for the Diocese of Charleston who now works as a consultant for Thomas More Publishing, walked through one of the 13 multimedia modules dealing with Catholic morality after giving an overview of the whole series. The training modules are broken into three major categories, catechesis, theology and methodology. The morality discussion was found in the theology track.

Lampitt explains that each subject is addressed within a four-hour learning design. There are comprehensive sidebars in the modules that reinforce the discussion, as well as communal prayer segments and questions for reflection before and after the video.

“After we experience the video, we go to ‘Look Beyond’ and see how we put this information into practice in our lives and then take it to the classroom or the home,” said Lampitt. She recommends that all learning tools be used and that facilitators not be tempted to play the video without following the methods provided. With each topic there is a video(s), video companion booklet, discussion booklet and a director’s manual.

The modules can be viewed in three different models, self-directed, small group or large group. It would depend on the interest and logistics of the particular parish or cluster as to which model is chosen.

“I really enjoyed this presentation on “Echoes of Faith.” I can see a lot of ways we could implement this program,” remarked Barbara Hollis from Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta.

Nancy Mack, the DRE of St. Edward Church in Murphy Village, also part of Cluster II, would like to join resources with Our Lady of Peace. “If we work with others then the responsibility of presenting the program would not be on just one person’s shoulder and the participants would have a variety of presenters.”

“The General Directory for Catechesis calls for quality formation of catechists in the teaching ministry of the church. This is regardless whether they faith-share in a school or parish setting or deal with children or adults. ‘Echoes of Faith’ will enable more well-formed catechists, who are acknowledging their own discipleship, to do a better job in forming the disciples of tomorrow,” said Schroeder.