Bringing the teachings of our faith to children and youth is a key part of their formation as young Catholics. Mom-daughter duo Karen and Sarah Duff are blessed to serve together as catechists helping to form young Catholics in their faith, right here in our parish community.
“We are serving as catechists for the combined class of fourth and fifth grade,” says daughter Sarah.
As catechists, Sarah and her mom, Karen, are responsible for planning each class. There is a textbook that outlines the curriculum, but how the information is presented comes from the two of them.
“Each year it has been slightly different based off the kids we have and what they are interested in,” Sarah says. “Oftentimes, we try to plan a game, activity, or craft to help them better learn the lesson that we covered, as well as have some fun.”
Karen and Sarah enjoy being able to serve together and say they complement one another in their teaching roles.
“My mom is a bit more organized than I am, but I tend to be better at connecting with the children,” Sarah says. “She enjoys planning crafts and I would prefer to do games or activities with them. So between the two of us, we are able to bring a variety of things to each class.”
Sarah decided to become a catechist because she recognized how important it is to develop solid Catholic teaching at a young age. With both parents being practicing Catholics and attending Mass regularly, Sarah saw the need firsthand for her own Catholic education and formation. She remembers having an “amazing” faith formation director while in high school and meeting with a group on Sunday nights.
“I remember in high school, other classmates would complain about having to give up a few hours of their week to attend religious education,” Sarah says. “This was no fault to any teacher, just that these kids did not develop a strong enough faith when they were young to see the importance of attending class each week. For this reason, I wanted to work with young kids to help them develop their faith from a young age. I also felt like I would be able to make it fun for them so that they can enjoy coming each week.”
The duo truly enjoys teaching together, too.
“I enjoy planning our week’s class with Sarah, and watching how her faith and ideas help to mold these young children,” Karen says. “She is a great role model.”
“What I enjoy most about being a catechist is seeing the kids change throughout the year,” Sarah says. “Bringing faith to the children has also taught me a lot. It brings me back to the basics of faith. A lot of times with Catholicism, it is easy to overthink things — but teaching children has helped me to get back to the basics of our faith. Also, kids ask a lot of unique questions, oftentimes things that I have never even thought of, this has helped me to also think of things differently.”