Catechist News and Notes

...for March 2017

  • Schedule

    • March 1 (NO Class - Ash Wednesday)
    • March 8
    • March 15 (NO Class - Spring Break)
    • March 22
    • March 29
  • Ash Wednesday
    • ​Mass Times: 7am, noon, 5:15pm (Word and Ashes only), 7:15pm, 9:15pm
    • Help: would you be willing to help distribute books after the Ash Wednesday Mass you attend? Please see another email I'll be sending you.
  • Communal Reconciliation Times: 
    • ​At St. Thomas
      • Thursday, March 9, 7pm
      • Monday, March 27, 7pm
    • At the other Catholic churches around:

      • Sunday, March 19 @ St. Cecilia in Ames @ 2pm

      • Thursday, March 23 @ Saints Peter and Paul in Gilbert

      • Thursday, April 6 @ St. Cecilia in Ames

  • Supple Lecture: How to Interpret the Bible, Thursday, March 30, 7:00-8:30pm in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union.

  • Small Groups: What's the best thing you can give your students? Your own faith. Consider growing in your own faith by joining a group of fellow students in digging into the Scriptures and applying them to your life. Contact Emily Klaus ( if you're interested. More information can be found at:
  • Come Awake: The next Come Awake is Wednesday, March 22 at 7pm. The theme is Scandalous Mercy. Jesus came for those who are searching, those who are struggling. Come hear a parishioner's story of how Jesus came to him in the midst of his struggle and search.
  • Vocation: Join in praying for vocations on March 7 with Archbishop Jackels. At 7pm there is a vocational discernment talk and then from 8-9pm a holy hour. 
  • Totus Tuus​
    • If you will be around this summer and would like to work with kids, consider Totus Tuus the week of July 16. Totus Tuus is essentially a vacation bible school. We hold sessions during the day for kids grade 1-6 and then in the evenings for middle and high school students. Even if its just one day or one part of one day, your help would be appreciated.


...for February 2017


  • Schedule

    • Feb. 1
    • Feb. 8
    • Feb. 15
    • Feb. 22 (Prayer Listening)
    • March 1 (NO Class, Ash Wednesday)
  • Resources Needed?
    • Are there any resources that you're lacking? Is there anything that you could use more of? Something we don't have but could possibly be helpful? Please let me know.
  • Feedback?
    • In general, is there anything that you would like me to know? I'm always looking for better ways to support you as a catechist and so please don't hesitate to let me know how we can better support you. 
  • Totus Tuus​
    • If you will be around this summer and would like to work with kids, consider Totus Tuus the week of July 16. Totus Tuus is essentially a vacation bible school. We hold sessions during the day for kids grade 1-6 and then in the evenings for middle and high school students. Even if its just one day or one part of one day, your help would be appreciated.
  • Leaving
    • ​(From the Bulletin) After much prayer and discernment Lynette (my wife) and I have decided to move to her parent’s farm near Fort Atkinson, IA to pursue farming. The decision to leave was not an easy one but comes from an inward calling to a farm life filled with prayer, a hope to be a good steward of God’s creation and to reflect His light to our kids and the people of Northeast Iowa. We have, in many ways, considered Ames and STA our home ever since we met here as undergrads and we will deeply miss it. Through the years St. Thomas Aquinas parishioners, Fr. Jon and all of my fellow staff have been more of a blessing to us then we could have ever imagined. These past 5 years have been a time of tremendous spiritual growth for our family and we will be forever grateful to you for that. From the first day we moved back to Ames we have felt welcomed, supported and loved. To watch the Lord move these 5 years, both in our family and in the parish, has been a tremendous gift. This is truly a wonderful parish and I believe with my whole heart that, as a community under Fr. Jon’s leadership, STA is drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and shining brighter and brighter out in the world. Again, thank you for these past five years and for your prayers as we seek to bring the love of Christ we have encountered at STA to our new home.
    • Tyler and Lynette Wheeler (and kids)


..for November 2016

  • Prayer Listening: We will have Prayer Listening tomorrow night (Nov. 16).
  • Schedule
    • Nov. 16 (Prayer Listening)
    • Nov. 23 (NO Class, Thanksgiving Break)
    • Nov. 30 (NO Class, Parish Workshop on Prayer - see below for more details)
    • Dec. 7
    • Dec. 14 (NO Class, start of Advent/Christmas Break)
  • Payment 
    • If you have chosen to receive payment for being a catechist, we will have a check ready for you by the Dec. 7 class. If we aren't able to get it to you on Dec. 7 we can either mail it to your home or hold it for you until the second semester. In order to receive payment you need to have filled out all the necessary forms.
  • Now What? Digging Deeper in Prayer - A 1% Challenge Workshop on Prayer
    • Wed. Nov. 30, 6:30-8:30pm in the Lower Lounge
    • Free childcare provided
    • Peter Andrastek from the Evangelical Catholic will present (another talk given by Peter:
    • This workshop will explore questions lik; I've done the 30 Day 1% Challenge, where do I go from here? how do I establish and maintain daily prayer in my life? How do I grow closer to christ? You do not need to have taken part in the 1% challenge to attend this workshop, its open to everyone.
  • Daily Tips/Insights on Prayer
  • Remind
    • Continue to use Remind to send out brief summaries of what happened in class and to help parents to continue on what you are doing in the classroom. I've just sent out another reminder to parents about signing up and so hopefully more parents will join your class lists.



...for October 2016

  • Thank You!

    • Thank you for all the time, effort, and energy that you've put into the beginning of this year. Thank you for filling out your necessary forms and thank you for what you will give to the kids in the future. We pray that God may bless and guide them and that they may all come to give their lives to him
  • Catechist Needed
    • If you know of someone who would make a great catechist, please let me know.
  • Honduras Visitor 
    • John Donaghy, a lay missioner in Honduras who used to be on staff at St. Thomas for many years, will be visiting on Wed., Nov. 2nd. He would love to come by your classroom and speak to your class about Honduras. If you would like him to stop by, please let me know. He will probably only be able to visit 4 classes.
    • Also, if you would like to plan something for you class, please feel free to. In the past John has taken back pictures drawn by our faith formation classes and handed them out to faith formation classes in Honduras, as an example.
  • Prayer Listening
    • ​We will have Prayer Listening on Wed. Oct. 19. This requires nothing of you, just know that if you are a 1st-5th grade catechist you will have kids leaving your class throughout the hour to practice their prayers in the hallway with a volunteer. Other dates for the year are, Nov. 16, Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 29
  • Discipline
    • ​Discipline seems like its going very well. However, if there are any problems, if you have any concerns, please feel free to talk with me. We can discuss how to navigate the situation together. Also, don't forget that if you need them there are discipline sheets in your catechist binder. 



We're continuing to use Remind this year an effort to make a better connection between what happens here at faith formation class and the homes of our students. I'm always looking for ways to make this connection. In the past we've tried to email parents brief summaries of what happened in class. To be honest, this didn't happen very regularly at all, or in some cases ever. Plus, if it did happen, parents wouldn't receive the email until it was too late to engage in discussion with their child. So....

I'm asking catechists to text (if you use the app) or email to parents 3 bullet points that highlight the basic contents that were covered that day in class. We will do this through a website called, which will keep all information private for both you and the parents. I will need you to first sign up for a Teacher (important to be a teacher, not a parent account) account by going to Then click Join Class and enter the code I gave you at the in-service or see below for your grade's code. I will then make you an administrator which will allow you to text (by using the app: or email (by going to the website and logging in) your 3 bullet points to parents before or right after your class. No personal information is shared.

  • PreK - STAPre
  • Kindergarten - STAKind
  • 1st Grade - STA1st
  • 2nd Grade - STA2nd
  • 3rd Grade - STA3rd
  • 4th Grade - STA4th
  • 5th Grade - STA5thgr
  • 6th Grade - STA6thgr
  • 7th Grade - STA7thgr
  • 8th Grade - STA8thgr



  • Please send me your catechist bio if you haven't already, thanks.


Christ Our Life

  • Please let me know by Mon. Sept. 19th if you will want a ticket to the Christ Our Life Conference( St. Thomas will gladly purchase your ticket so that you can attend this wonderful conference.