Articles Under: Pedagogy & Methodology

Introduction: Addressing the Interface of Faith and Reason The final installment of this series reaches back to the nineteenth century to highlight the contribution of Blessed John Henry Newman. Cardinal Newman was widely acknowledged to be among the greatest thinkers of his time. His special relevance to the field of education can be found in his classic work, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent. It was here that Newman confronted—at their point of origin—many of the intellectual challenges that have come to fruition in our own time. Of these challenges, Pope John Paul II drew particular attention... Read more
Because the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity “is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life” [1] it is nearly impossible to exaggerate its importance in all catechesis, including that of children. But how can we possibly convey to children this holy mystery, which even well-educated theologians admit is beyond human understanding? Trinitarian Beginnings Asking how we can best teach children about the Trinity is akin to asking how we ought to teach children about their mother and father and siblings. Ideally, children are born into a family and welcomed into the pre-existing communion of love... Read more
During my twenty-plus years of teaching, I have seen thousands of students respond enthusiastically and genuinely to the teachings of St. John Paul II and have frequently asked what they find so exciting about his teachings. My students have expressed a wide variety of insightful comments about why St. John Paul II was (and remains) so successful in making the Gospel both attractive and transformative, but one student in particular stands out in my mind for having concisely encapsulated the key to his success in reaching the hearts of so many people. According to this student, the message of St... Read more
When my kids were little, I had the privilege of serving as a catechist at my parish. My experience as a catechist and then later as a DRE and a diocesan leader convinced me that something more was needed in the process of faith formation to help children make their faith real. Year after year, I witnessed children completing their lessons and receiving the sacraments, without any visible sign of conversion or attachment to the person of Jesus Christ. It was like pouring water on a rock; nothing seemed to stick. My experience is not uncommon. In my role as... Read more
As catechists, we often shy away from teaching the Trinity. Perhaps we imagine that our audience will not be able to understand; or, perhaps we doubt whether we are capable of teaching adequately on this great mystery. And so, the Trinity can appear in the curriculum as a burdensome lesson plan that needs to be addressed and, thank goodness, when the lesson plan is over, we can move on to catechizing on “easier” aspects of the faith. The goal of this article is to offer a challenge and a consolation in regard to catechesis, curriculum, and the Trinity. The challenge... Read more
Introduction In previous articles for this series, I have confined myself to authors who have written from a Catholic perspective. While it may be true that some contemporary educational practices are seriously at odds with the teaching of the Church, one should avoid the temptation to be dismissive of all contemporary educational theories. The General Directory for Catechesis makes it clear that the Church “assumes those methods not contrary to the Gospel and places them at its service… Catechetical methodology has the simple objective of education in the faith. It avails of the pedagogical sciences and of communication, as applied... Read more
On May 29, 2012, it was announced that Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota was returning to his home diocese of Denver to become its fifth archbishop. Many archdiocesan leaders had an immediate hunch: Restored Order Confirmation was coming to the archdiocese. Bishop Aquila had already restored the order of the sacraments of initiation in Fargo, and even received public praise for it from Pope Benedict XVI during an ad limina visit to Rome. These expectations proved true when in the fall of 2013 the archdiocese began internal preparations to move toward Restored Order Confirmation, becoming the first archdiocese... Read more
Introduction Sofia Cavalletti was arguably the most effective catechetical theorist and practitioner of her era. Born in 1917, she belonged to a noble Roman family, who had served in the papal government. Marchese Francesco Cavalletti had been the last senator for Rome in the papal government, prior to its takeover in 1870 by the Italian state. Sofia herself bore the hereditary title of Marchesa, and lived in her family's ancestral home in the Via Degli Orsini. In 1946, the young Sofia Cavalletti began her studies as a Scripture scholar at La Sapienza University with specializations in the Hebrew and Syriac... Read more
Examinamos las implicaciones concretas de una catequesis inspirada por la pedagogía de Dios. En la última edición de The Sower notamos la centralidad del concepto de la pedagogía de Dios en el Directorio General para la Catequesis . Vemos que el Pedagogo es el mismo Dios y que los catequistas trabajan dentro de la pedagogía de Dios . “La catequesis, en cuanto comunicación de la Revelación divina, se inspira radicalmente en la pedagogía de Dios tal como se realiza en Cristo y en la Iglesia” (DGC 143). Como Pedagogo, la labor de Dios es la de disciplinar, o ‘discipular’ a... Read more
En 1977, comencé mi carrera como docente en una escuela católica, y de una manera u otra, he estado activo en esta vocación, durante toda mi vida adulta. En cuanto a mi herencia, tengo predecesores inspiradores quienes se empeñaron por establecer un sistema educativo católico en mi país, Australia. Parece que para la Iglesia Católica a lo largo del siglo XIX, una de las labores principales de la evangelización enfocó el establecimiento de escuelas católicas. La estrategia fue la transmisión de la fe situándola en el contexto de una visión educativa global. Esta prioridad se ve reflejada en el número... Read more