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: St. Thomas More and the Struggle for Virtue
By Dr. James Pauley
Free Sitting alone in his prison cell in the Tower of London, awaiting his execution, Sir Thomas More wrote a prayer in the margins of his prayer book. “Give me thy grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught; to set my mind fast upon thee, and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths.” [1] In the minds of many throughout Europe in 1535, Sir Thomas... Read more
Catholic Social Teachings and the Virtue of Mercy: Living the Social Dimension of Christian Discipleship
By Dr. Donald Asci
Last year while preparing to speak at a diocesan event on Catholic Social Teachings (henceforth CST) I came across a link on the USCCB website that offered a series of quotes from Pope Francis on the CST. Thinking I might find a pithy quote to use in my address, I opened the file only to find that it contained an overwhelming 378 pages of... Read more
From the Shepherds: Love, Whatever the Cost
By Pope Francis
Free As we reflect in this issue of The Catechetical Review on “living the virtues,” we recall St. Paul’s words that faith, hope, and love remain, “but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). For the benefit of our catechetical readers, we are reprinting here the homily of his Holiness for the meeting of reflection and spirituality, “... 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