Anna Hurdle

Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Our Children

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.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

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.

Observing the Feast of St. Francis

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?”

Good Shepherd Sunday

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.

Seeking the Presence of God

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.