By Mary McEntee McGill
As our year’s program comes to an end, we want to take time to thank those who have diligently labored, exercised patience, and modeled Christian love to share the Catholic faith with the children, teens, and adults participating in the parish education and faith formation programs. A nice party or a pretty thank-you card is not enough! This is a time for a significant blessing of those who have served your parish responsibly!
Choose a good time to gather your group. Consider asking your pastor or parish deacon to work with you to plan this special blessing. It is important that you discuss this service with your pastor or deacon early so that he will have time to prepare his reflection and blessing. Spend some time telling him about these men and women and the unique characteristics each has brought to the program, and your hope for their participation in the future.
Prepare by considering each individual catechist so that your thank you and blessing recognize each one for his or her special gift. Discern the special talent each one has—patience, humor, storytelling, creativity, etc.—and be prepared to acknowledge that talent in the prayer and blessing. Also think about an appreciation gift for each person. Affordable books, holy cards, small plaques, or medals are available from Church publishers and catalogs as well as stores.
Here is a basic format for your End-of-the-Year Thank-You Prayer and Blessing.
Leader: We gather today to thank the Lord for the gifts each of you has shared with us in our parish’s catechetical program this year. Our children, their families, and our entire faith community appreciate all that you have done to bring our children, teens, and adults to a deeper understanding of the Church’s teachings and the Lord’s blessings.
Reading and Reflection: 1 John 4:6-12 (sharing the love of God with others)
Share a reflection on this reading, emphasizing the role of catechists in your parish community. Your priest or deacon or you can offer this. Follow the reflection with a personal thank-you to each catechist. For example:
Lord, thank you for these men and women who have worked with love and patience in our catechetical program this year. Thank you for the gifts they have shared in service to this parish. Especially, Lord, thank you for (give the name of a member), for (name the special gift he or she brings to the ministry).
Especially, Lord, thank you for Donna, for the tender love she shares with younger students and her wonderfully creative ideas for learning activities.
Especially, Lord, thank you for Chris, for the stories he shares in teaching our seventh-graders. His stories help students better understand how relevant their Catholic faith is in the world today.
Especially, Lord, thank you for Liz, for her sparkling sense of humor that brings light-hearted moments to all of us.
Especially, Lord, thank you for Mark, for the insights and wisdom he shares with the people in our adult education series.
Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27 (we are all one in the Body of Christ)
Leader: Thank you, Lord, for all these precious gifts. We ask you to bless each of us. Please keep us healthy, happy, and close to you. Give us an enjoyable summertime! (Your priest or deacon can bless the entire group and then give each person a special gift of appreciation.)
May God bless you, too. Have a good summer!
Mary McEntee McGill has professionally served parishes and dioceses for more than 40 years and continues to enjoy catechetics in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).
Copyright 2012, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article is from the archives of Catechist magazine from 2012.
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