A reader writes with the following question:
I have been reading your blog for a while and although I do not post comments, my husband and I very much [appreciate] the Catholic stimulus you provide for us.
So, with that in mind, my questions surround the qualifications for Director of Religious Ed in our parish. Our current DRE is leaving. After much thought and worry about who will be the new person in town, and will they bring true Catholic teachings with them, I had thought to apply. My concern is that I am not qualified.
I have a Bachelors in [another non-theological field from a Catholic college], and I like to think that my husband and I along with our children are involved in our parish.
Can you tell me what has been your experience with the qualifications of a DRE?
Here is what I sent in response. I suppose it would vary from parish to parish and diocese to diocese, but in general, while most parishes would rather have someone who has a degree in religious education or theology or the like, the reality is that it can be hard to find someone with that degree. Thus most dioceses offer some training to new DREs who don’t have the background.
But if you have a good pastor willing to lend his expertise and judgment when necessary, the most important qualifications in my mind are enthusiasm for the faith, a good knowledge of the faith (and not necessarily a degree), and good organizational and interpersonal skills. In fact, I think the latter are overlooked too often, because a DRE spends a lot of time in administrative and managerial work, not necessarily actually teaching classes. One thing that a DRE needs to be able to do is help train the teachers and give them tools and skills to teach effectively.
What other advice would those of you in the know offer?