1. What goal(s) do you have? We should be able to articulate clearly what we are doing and why, and how our effort relates to what the Church says we owe to people who are being catechized. Clear goals are essential for the direction of the program, the choice of resources to be used and for later evaluation.
2. Who will make the decisions? Of course, it is first the pastor who has responsibility for catechesis and is the one to decide what the parish will offer. Then, with his guidance, gather an advisory group that represents the whole parish—adults, youth, children, cultural backgrounds, etc. This group can help with decisions, planning, and execution. It also expands ownership of the effort and ensures that the unique needs of the community are considered.
3. Who will be invited? One of the potentials of whole parish catechesis is that it promotes the unity of the parish and of the catechetical ministries in the parish. In order to fulfill this potential, everyone has to be invited: young and old, religious education and school families, couples with no children, single person households, etc.
4. How will you spread the word? How and where the invitation is delivered equals who will hear it. The Sunday bulletin is one way to publicize whole parish events, but consider other ways as well.You might put flyers in local businesses or a message through the internet in order to reach those who do not come to the parish. Whole parish catechesis has an evangelizing potential if we reach beyond the usual means of communication. Personal invitations are sometimes the most effective way to make sure people feel included.
5. ¿Estamos invitados? Consider the languages and cultural identities of your people as you publicize the whole parish catechesis events. Choose resources and processes that are appropriate for the cultures of the people who will participate. (If they are represented on the advisory group this will happen more easily!)
6. How will your whole parish catechesis link to the Sunday Eucharist and the liturgical year? These connections keep people in tune with the rhythm of Paschal mystery and with the community of faith throughout the world. A weekly question that will help people focus on the meaning of the Sunday readings can link families to the Sunday celebrations. Whole parish events which have their themes based in the liturgical year expand the Sunday celebration and enable people to more fully live the liturgy.
7. How will your whole parish catechesis send participants on mission? Whole parish catechesis, as all catechesis, is to form evangelizers. Its purpose is not “more time at the parish”, but “go and make disciples.” What will you provide to help participants bring the message back to their homes and their neighborhoods through service?
8. What will be the measure/s of success? Evaluation points should be designed at the planning stage; we name measures consistent with the goal/s we have articulated. Evaluation should be done not only by the leaders, but also by the advisors, and by the participants. And, results should be communicated to the parish so that people see their concerns are addressed in future events.
9. Pray: alone, together with the advisors, before decisions, in the process, at the event, after the events. All effective catechesis is, after all, the work of the Holy Spirit!