The Good Shepherd
There is a movement going on in the Catholic Church but it’s not just for Catholics. It’s also happening throughout other denominations of Christianity. It’s funny how it has gotten very big in the United States but I only learned about it after I moved Australia. It was while I was at an Evangelization Conference called “Parish On Fire” in Melbourne where I thought my calling was to help spread the word about God. It didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected but isn’t that always the way it goes?
This movement that I am talking about is called the Catechesis Of The Good Shepherd. This is a Christian formation for children between the ages of 3 to 12 years of age. The age groups are broken up into 3 categories. The first being 3-6, the second being 6-9, and ending with 9-12. It is broken up like this for each child is in different stages of development. The children come together to pray and meditate in a place called an Atrium which is a sacred space for all involved.
I could give you the history of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd but I am not going to do that. I want to share with you this fascination that I have with this process. How it really draws me in and how I want to create one as well because of how it makes me want to echo the teachings of the Good Shepherd who has called us each by name. In the Atrium the teacher is God. The children and adults are equal. The adult shows the child how to do something and the child responds to how the Spirit moves him/her to do. After a task has been shown for the child to do they can choose to do the work they were just shown or go off to do something else that they are drawn to do as long as they have been shown the work they want to do. It is the adult’s task to monitor and write down the tasks that the children do.
Some people don’t quite get this process. They think that they are responsible for teaching their thoughts on the presentation but it goes against what is desired in the atrium. It is not like a classroom in the sense that some may think it is. An Atrium is more like a place of worship where they come together, adult and child to ponder all the wonders of the kingdom parables.
I feel as if words are failing me. It is something that needs to be experienced. I find that through showing a work to a child I too am drawn deeper into the mystery because I am asking questions myself. There are no right or wrong answers because it is the Spirit that moves me. It is as if the truth of what is being discovered or shifted to the surface. The children are being monitored to see which work they are drawn to the most. The more answers I find the more I am drawn to wonder deeper into the things that I have discovered.
If you think this is interesting might I interest you in exploring more about the history of this formation. Here are a few links to help you on your journey of discovery. I know if I had a child, I would definitely want to expose them to this beautiful teaching.