Two catechists in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan, bow their heads as they receive a blessing from Msgr. James Burke, weekend assistant. Rich Hundley photos
Two catechists in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan, bow their heads as they receive a blessing from Msgr. James Burke, weekend assistant. Rich Hundley photos

Eileen Ziesmer is impassioned when she reflects on those who serve in catechetical ministry in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan.

“We are very blessed to have men and women every year who come forward to share not only the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and Church history and teachings with our parish children [but also] they come and share themselves, their witness, their faith journey and their joy in the Lord,” said Ziesmer, director of religious education.

Photo Gallery: Catechetical Sunday in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan

Photo Gallery: Catechetical Sunday in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting, and St. Dominic Parish, Brick

Related: The Monitor's annual tribute to Catechetical Sunday

St. Denis was but one parish in the Diocese to participate in the Sept. 14-15 national observance of Catechetical Sunday, which acknowledges the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and honors those serving the Christian community as catechists. The theme for the 2019 observance of Catechetical Sunday was “Stay With Us.”

Ziesmer noted that there are about 48 catechists serving in St. Denis Parish, all whom have varied backgrounds. “Many serve in other ministries as well,” she said, including the Doves Youth Group, and St. Vincent de Paul Society. Others, she said have been inspired by participating in adult faith formation efforts such as Walking With Purpose, a woman’s faith sharing group or the ongoing adult faith formation that Father William Lago, pastor, “has given great effort.”

In St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting, Debbie Milecki, the coordinator of religious education, extended appreciation to the 14 religious education catechists who received a blessing from the pastor, Father Pasquale Papalia, during a Mass Sept. 15.

She noted the parish has a large senior population, many of whom appreciate seeing the young families. She added that there are a number of events that the children actively take part in such as the annual Thanksgiving lunch, Christmas pageant, Live Stations of the Cross, youth ministry breakfasts and car washes. All of these events are planned for and facilitated by the catechists.

Acknowledging their good works throughout the year, Milecki said Catechetical Sunday is a time to recognize the catechists for “volunteering their time, faith and talents to the children of the parish and to have them as a visible sign to the congregation that we are doing what Jesus called us to do.”