An Interview with Jan Coey Catechist for 7th grade faith formation class

08-13-2017Parish Life

What was it that inspired you to become involved in this ministry?

Sister Christine approached me and said she saw my family at Mass and asked if I would consider being an aide in the classroom. I had been pondering the thought for some time so this personal invitation from Sister helped me to say "yes." Sister assigned me to be an aide in the classroom that was focusing on Salvation History. I had no clue what that meant so I signed up for a Quick Journey Bible study to understand what it all meant so that I would be prepared. After several sessions were completed, I felt like I could relate to the kids and was more confident that I could make a difference in a classroom. That was a turning point for me.

What roadblocks or 'hang-ups' about teaching did you have to overcome before actually making this commitment?

I would see ads in the bulletin and hear announcements at Mass about the need for catechists. My kids were in classes at that time and I also received an invitation from my child's teacher to come into the class at any time, but I just couldn't bringmyself to do it because I was afraid.

I didn't feel that I was knowledgeable enough or good enough because I wasn't sure whether I was practicing the faith right myself. I was a little ashamed and embarrassed to teach and always thought that the kids needed someone better than me. However, it is my desire to overcome things that take me out of my comfort zone so I do try to push through. Describe how you experience God as a catechist/aide. Clearly through the materials and preparing for the class. But also in the classroom through conversations or jarring questions that come from the teens. I see that God is working in them to provoke such questions and to inspire the desire to seek.

How has your involvement in this ministry affected your relationship with God?

Teaching the kids opened up a whole world for me. I realized what I didn't know and encountered people who helped me discover all there was for me. My relationship with Jesus has changed and grown. I began teaching with my husband and it has been wonderful to share this ministry with him and for our marriage to grow. My husband Bill is a convert to Catholicism and I grew up in the faith so between the two of us, we witness to the joys and challenges of the faith lived. I am willing to share my witness growing up in a Catholic faith and went to Mass, but never went to confession.

Describe a moment when you realized that the Lord was working through you as a vessel to impact the lives of his children.

We were in class and told the teens that we would go to the Penance service as a class. We went through the steps of the sacrament and highlighted the graces received when you are contrite and seek God's mercy. We encouraged the kids to attend the Penance service and extended an invitation to their parents too. It was amazing to see how many teens came, many on their own, to receive the sacrament. The teens were so proud of their choiceand that they returned to the merciful love of Jesus.