We are approaching a year of being away from our beautifully prepared atria and materials as well as parish traditions and customs. Yet our children are not waiting, they continue to age and move into successive stages of development. The challenge has been with how to best meet the spiritual and vital needs of our children.
The model of a child listening to God can be fruitful in our own lives, and it can actually show us the way.
Liturgical time is whole; it envelops the past, the present and the future. It offers us, who live mercantile time in our daily lives, a pause—a pause that is charged with possibilities for newness of life.
We are connecting with the children through weekly prayer table sessions and nightly bedtime readings, but parents are serving as the main formation leaders and teachers. Through faith, attitude toward others, and trust in a loving God, parents are influencing the development of the faith of our children, especially at this time.
This Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. This year marks the twenty-fifth year of St. Peter’s use of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as our primary method of Christian formation for our parish children. Please consider if the Good Shepherd is calling you to formation.
Last Sunday, in the atrium for the oldest children of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, we talked of the life and vocation of St. Francis of Assisi in anticipation of his feast day. We read the Canticle of the Sun and sang the Prayer of St. Francis. There was much curiosity and interest expressed by the children. “Could he really talk with the animals?”
This Fourth Sunday of the Easter Season is lovingly referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” It is a “feast day” of sorts for the children and adults who participate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd approach, with some of our favorite readings and hymns. During worship on Sunday some of our children will be celebrating Eucharist together, culminating a sacramental retreat held Saturday.
“The Resurrection is the bedrock of our Christian Faith.” -Gianna Gobbi
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is grounded in an understanding that God and the child have a unique relationship with one another particularly before the age of six and that the growth of this relationship should be assisted by an adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child. The religious needs and capacities of older children are no less great or essential from those of the younger children. Their religious potential is equally strong as they seek the presence of God in a tangible way. Children need their own place to foster that presence and the growth of that relationship.
While many of our formation offerings held during the school year take a break over the summer, formation is not on vacation.