September 17, 2021

Evangelization & Catechesis Supplement

Teacher takes a shared path to help a new generation ‘find the love and glory of God’

(Editor’s note: While teaching and helping others to embrace a deeper appreciation of their Catholic faith, catechists throughout the archdiocese have found their own relationship with God has deepened through the experience. Here are several stories of that transformation.)
 

Alicia Popson enjoys a moment of joy with sixth-grade students Graham Sillings, left, Adilene Torres and Noah Geswein at St. Mary-of-the-Knobs School in Floyd County as she helps them prepare for a play. (Submitted photo)

Alicia Popson enjoys a moment of joy with sixth-grade students Graham Sillings, left, Adilene Torres and Noah Geswein at St. Mary-of-the-Knobs School in Floyd County as she helps them prepare for a play. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

As she tries to lead young people closer to God, 26-year-old Alicia Popson has experienced a deep satisfaction in her life.

Her satisfaction comes from a blend of “giving back” and “paying it forward”—all at the same time, and all with the added blessing of knowing that she is helping to guide the young generation of the Church while also showing her appreciation for the teachers who helped to deepen her own relationship with God.

“Teaching is a passion that requires a special kind of heart,” Popson says. “I don’t say this of myself, but of those who have taught me about faith, love and family. Through their own trials and tribulations, they said yes to a call from God to serve the young Church. These catechists weren’t necessarily qualified teachers according to the state, but they were qualified by God to share his word, what it means, and the ways we share that with others—with me. That is truly a special and underappreciated yes.”

Popson has paid that gift forward through the years in a number of ways, ranging from being a faith formation catechist in college to her current roles as the coordinator of religious education at St. Mary Parish in Navilleton and as an instructional assistant at St. Mary-of-the Knobs School in Floyd County.

“Some times are harder than others to say yes to these kinds of roles, but I have never once regretted a time that I have taken them on,” Popson says.

Her approach to teaching the faith in her classes is making it a shared journey.

“I make it a point to tell students that I don’t have all the answers, and that we are exploring God’s love together. I truly learn just as much—if not more—about my faith and my relationship with God than the kids in my class because they really make me think.

“It’s one of the most amazing things to be having a discussion where a student asks a question that I don’t know the answer to. Because then I get to say, ‘I don’t have a good answer for that at this moment. Let’s see if we can find the answer together or find someone more knowledgeable to share with us.’ They are almost more excited and willing to participate because I make it clear that I am still learning too, and I always will be.”

One of the most important lessons she has learned is that when you give back and pay it forward, you get so much more in return.

“I learn more about my faith, how I should live, and how to help the next generation of the Church be prepared for their own call to help a new generation find the love and glory of God.” †

 

Read more from our Evangelization & Catechesis Supplement

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!