OLPH has had
a positive impact on my spiritual life in a number of ways.
The most significant way has been through my involvement as
a catechist in our SPRED program, which has helped me to
become a more contemplative and (I hope) loving person.
Because SPRED is based on a small community of adult
catechists growing together in faith, I have gotten to know
others who have supported me on my faith journey.
Also, through my work as a Religious Education catechist, I
came to have a greater understanding of scripture as I
prepared lessons for my students. OLPH further has
deepened my faith by offering adult education sessions that
have given me insights into how I can become a less
judgmental, more compassionate person. I’ve also
benefited from attending mass at OLPH, as well as Taize
services which feature scripture, silence, and contemplative
music and always touch my soul.
three leadership positions in each SPRED group of eight
catechists: Leader Catechist, Activity Catechist, and
Parish Chairperson. The Leader Catechist is responsible for
the catechesis of the catechists and of our friends with
disabilities (“Friends”). The SPRED model of catechesis is
based on identifying and sharing experiences of Spirit in
our lives, not on teaching doctrine.
Catechist conducts each catechist preparation session,
attended by only the adult catechists; this involves
relating the theme of the session to liturgy, scripture, and
experience by using symbol, words, music, and gestures.
The Leader Catechist uses this same approach in the total
community sessions with our Friends. As part of both the
catechist preparation and total community sessions, the
Leader Catechist takes the hands of each person, makes eye
contact, and speaks a simple spiritual message to the
person. This is a powerful, spirit-filled moment, where we
all feel the presence of God in our midst.
Catechist is also responsible for organizing SPRED masses,
which include modifications that help our Friends with
disabilities to participate meaningfully in the mass. At
OLPH, we are fortunate to have great support from our pastor
and parish staff, and we have three SPRED masses each year,
including a joyful First Communion mass in May.
To become a
Leader Catechist, a person must attend five training
sessions. These sessions are offered on Saturday afternoons
twice a year. I want to emphasize, however, that only one
training session is required for a “regular” SPRED