For many catechists and faith formation volunteers, the summertime provides an opportunity to rest from pouring into the spiritual lives of others. Although it’s nice to have a little break, the summer months are not a time to neglect our own spiritual and intellectual formation as catechists. This summer, continue your spiritual formation by reading and praying with these books and Church documents. 

The Gospel of Matthew

As catechists, regardless of the ages we teach, our primary job is to teach our students about Jesus Christ. We cannot teach others about Jesus if we ourselves do not know him. We must constantly strive to know, understand and grow in our love for our Savior. The best way to do this is through the Gospels. 

In the Gospels, Jesus reveals himself to us in a deep and profound way. We learn who he is, what he says and how he lives. This summer, strive to encounter the person of Jesus Christ on a deeper level by reading the Gospel of Matthew. 

The Gospel of Matthew is often called the catechist’s Gospel, or the Teacher’s Gospel because of all the rich teachings of Jesus found in this particular Gospel. The Gospel of Matthew presents not only the teachings of Christ, but also instructs us as catechists how we can and should teach others. 

Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry A. Weddell

If our goal as catechists is to introduce our students to Jesus and help them to become his followers, we need to have an understanding of discipleship and how to form others into disciples. 

In her book, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, Sherry Weddell explains the need for discipleship, the various stages of discipleship and the ways we as formational leaders can guide others in being disciples. If you are unfamiliar with the term discipleship or what it means to make disciples, this book is a great place to start. 

Catechesi Tradendae, by Pope John Paul II

Catechesi Tradendae, or Catechesis in our Modern Time, by Pope Saint John Paul II is a document every catechist should have on their bookshelves. As a catechist, this document is for you. 

In it, John Paul II dives into a reflection on catechesis: the various methods of catechizing, the role of catechesis in the overall call of the Church to evangelize, and the role of the catechist to give the teaching of Christ and not their own agendas. 

Catechesi Tradendae is a profound document that will give you as a catechist much to reflect on and pray over. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part IV (Christian Prayer)

In the life of a Christian, prayer plays such an important role that an entire section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is dedicated to this topic. As Catechists, all that we do in loving and serving those we teach should flow from our lives of prayer. It’s in prayer that we learn to develop a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If our primary job as Catechists is to introduce our students to the person of Jesus Christ, we should strive to learn about and grow in prayer so as to learn to encounter Jesus ourselves. 

The fourth and final part of the Catechism provides a simple but beautiful reflection on prayer. This section of the Catechism teaches us what prayer is, the history of prayer throughout Scripture, and the role prayer should play in our lives. Finally, the Catechism offers profound reflections on the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” prayers, helping us come to a deep understanding of the beauty and significance of these prayers. 

If our goal as catechists is to help others encounter Christ, we need to be sure we are striving to encounter him ourselves through prayer and continued intellectual and spiritual formation. This summer, deepen your love for Christ and his Church by exploring these books and Church documents.