Children's Catechesis: The Meeting of Two Great Mysteries

Authored by Sr. Mary Michael Fox in Issue #1.2 of The Catechetical Review

In December my niece gave birth to a beautiful girl, Noelle Rose! Her arrival so close to Christmas provided a poignant opportunity to reflect anew on the mystery, the wonder, the gift of the child! One Child was given to the world and destined to be the salvation of all. The other was given to my niece and destined to receive that salvation. The powerful link between the two is grace. Yet, the practical link between them remains the work of catechesis!

The topic of children’s catechesis can evoke passionate responses. Some scornfully recall the “content-less” catechesis that beleaguered the Church after Vatican II when many children never even heard the teachings of the Faith much less committed them to memory. Others reproach the pre-Conciliar catechesis where the primary goal was a mental mastery of the Catechism. (We might be tempted to ask whether this method of “indoctrination” might not be the better alternative to the current praxis of making “Fruit-Loops rosaries” or “cotton ball sheep.”) If we are honest, children’s catechesis has been struggling to find an appropriate praxis since the Middle Ages!

Before we can rightly consider the how (methodology) or even the what (content), we should first give serious consideration to the WHO! In the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)[1] we recognize that children’s catechesis is the meeting of two great mysteries: the mystery of God and the mystery of the child. Though I think the CGS has a particularly unique praxis for fostering this meeting, the insight is not exclusively ours. The Church clearly teaches that the primary task of catechesis is to “help a person to encounter God.”[2] For this reason, the content and method of catechesis (and catechist too) must be seen as “servants” of this encounter. Meaning, our preoccupation should not be with catechetical content and method as goals in themselves but only as they serve the goal: inviting the child to intimacy with Christ.[3] The evaluative question then regarding content and method is this: “How does this facilitate the ‘dialogue of salvation’ between God and the child?”

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Sacrifice, Gravity, and a Light Princess
By Dr. James Pauley
Free One of my favorite short stories is George MacDonald’s “The Light Princess.” It tells the story of a princess whose not-so-amiable aunt casts a spell upon the girl at her baptism. The spell alters the usual law of gravity in relation to the princess, causing her to float uncontrollably in the air (can you imagine the trouble this might cause?).... Read more
The Domestic Church
By Robert Mixa
Free How is the family a way to holiness? What does the Church mean when she calls the family the domestic church? A brief summary of the Scriptures and the development in how the term has been used will prove helpful. Judaism has always placed significance on the family. Family is everything for Israel. Without it, there is no covenant, and this is... Read more
La iglesia doméstica
By Robert Mixa
Free ¿De qué manera es la familia un camino a la santidad? ¿Qué quiere decir la Iglesia al referirse a la familia como iglesia doméstica ? Un breve resumen de la Escritura y del desarrollo de la aplicación el término nos será útil. El judaísmo siempre ha puesto el énfasis en la familia. La familia es todo para Israel. Sin ella, no hay alianza, y esto... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now