Position: Lead Catechist for RCIA at St. John Neumann Catholic Church
Year of Graduation: 2016
Could you describe what your job entails? What is the most rewarding part of it? I am the lead catechist for our RCIA program. The most rewarding part is the love and deep friendships I have developed with people who are becoming Catholic. It has really enriched my life.
How did you find that job? I was an RCIA core team member without teaching responsibilities; then, as I became more qualified, I was more or less promoted to be the lead catechist.
How did JPCatholic’s MA in Biblical Theology prepare you for your job? Since I wasn’t even Catholic when I entered the program, I would say that everything I was taught, as well as how it was taught, and the example of my teachers had a role in making me a successful catechist.
What’s your biggest takeaway from your time in the MA Program? That the relationship with Christ is paramount. Many people, even people who love Christ, think that teaching is imparting a particular kind of knowledge (academic, mostly), but it’s subtler than that when you’re working with people who are discerning conversion. Being knowledgeable helps people respect you, but being very, very happy because you know you’re passing on a pearl of great price, the one thing necessary, convinces people that it’s not just intellectual assent; it’s love.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone interested in the MA program? Don’t worry about timelines too much. For me, knowing my limitations with respect to my ‘real life’ and the demands of academics was extremely helpful. Be patient. One class a quarter will get you there. If you’re going the exegetical route, take Greek online or do independent study to familiarize yourself with the material (I would even recommend taking a quarter off to do this.) Doing the entire Greek textbook in 2 quarters is pretty wild, but I did well because I had already done the first half in independent study while on hiatus. Take advantage of the coffee house on Mondays. It is very interesting to hear other people’s questions and thoughts and to get to know your community.