The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Children's Catechesis: Seasons of Faith – Sharing the Liturgical Year with Young Children

Authored by Joseph D. White in Issue #8.4 of Catechetical Review

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Among the five essential tasks of catechesis, the 2020 Directory for Catechesis mentions “initiating into the celebrating of the mystery.”[1] This task includes teaching learners “to understand the liturgical year.”[2] In the simplest of terms, the liturgical year is the way in which the Church tells time. It unites the Western Catholic Church and provides a framework for us to connect with salvation history as we contemplate our own walk with God.

The themes we find as we experience and contemplate the liturgical year are familiar to us in many aspects of our lives. In Advent, we experience a period of darkness and a promise of light to come. Christmas is a time of joy and hope, an experience of promises fulfilled. Ordinary time is so named because of the ordinal numbering of weeks. Following the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas, we begin with the first Sunday of Ordinary time, then the second Sunday, and so on. So it is called ordinary because the weeks are ordered, not because this season is plain or boring. Ordinary time can connect us to those everyday moments of life. This time provides opportunities to find small joys and reflect on everyday things for which we are thankful. Lent is a time in which we might contemplate a crossroads in our lives. Here, we pause for self-examination and take stock of areas in our lives in need of reform. We do penance for those times in which we have fallen short. At Easter, we are aware of new beginnings as we celebrate the Resurrection. At Pentecost, we increase our awareness of the fire of the Holy Spirit as we open ourselves up to the movement of God in our lives.

All these themes are found in the story of salvation history that we explore through the liturgical year. They are also universal to each person in the course of daily life—we experience darkness and hope, death and new life, and look for joy in ordinary moments. What a wonderful gift we have in the liturgical year as a temporal context for our faith and a vehicle by which we can contemplate the essence of human existence. How can we pass this gift along to our youngest learners?

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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

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