Called by Name

The Adult as Co-Seeker

Of the 32 Points of Contemplation, several specifically call adults to a very particular role in the prepared environment.

  • 22

    The catechists work together in a spirit of unity and harmony...

    …in tune with God’s plan for communion in the history of salvation and in keeping with the themes of unity so strongly expressed in the parables of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1ff) and the True Vine. (John 15: 1ff) They generously offer their talents and experience for the good of all.
  • 23

    The attitude of the adult has to be marked by humility before the capacities of the child...

    …establishing a right rapport with the child, that is to say, respecting the personality of the child, and waiting for the child to reveal themselves.
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    The tasks of the catechist include:

    • going deeper into the Christian message through the knowledge of the biblical and liturgical sources and of ongoing living tradition of the church, including the theological, social, and ecumenical movements which enliven the church today;
    • preparing an environment and maintaining order in that environment (the atrium) so that it fosters concentration, silence, and contemplation in both the child and adult;
    • preparing the materials oneself as much as possible while collaborating with others in areas that are beyond one’s abilities.
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    The reasons why the catechist is requested to make the materials with his/her own hands are:

    • to absorb the content more deeply;
    • to combat hurry, consumerism, and even excessive “efficiency”;
    • to pace oneself more to the rhythm of the child and thus also, or so we believe, to the working of the Holy Spirit;
    • to try to reach the integration of hand, mind, and heart.

Read More

Ways to Nurture the Relationship with God by Sofia Cavalletti and Patricia Coulter.

A collection of meditations on scripture and liturgy first shared by Sofia with adults.

The meditations in this book explore and illuminate the Christian message and are the fruit of Sofia Cavalletti’s meditations with adults gathered together as listeners to the Word. Because this book arose from actual encounters, the writers invite you to enter into it as a fellow listener, meditating on scripture and liturgy alongside them.

“For decades now, catechists across North America have shared tidbits of Sofia Cavalletti’s adult reflections in their formation courses. Now finally we have many of these reflections in written form to meditate upon at length. Cavalletti has been recognized internationally for her unparalleled understanding of the religious potential of children. These meditations betray her equally unparalleled devotion to life-long scripture study, rooted in the original biblical languages.” ~ Ann M. Garrido, DMin, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Director of the DMin and MAPS-CGS Programs Aquinas Institute of Theology

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We believe God and the child have a unique relationship with one another. Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship. The growth of this relationship is assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child.

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What is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was born from the joy of the children’s encounter with God. It has been observed that children of the same developmental stage, even those from widely varying cultural backgrounds, respond to elements of the Christian message in the same way.

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In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd adults are given the opportunity to embrace a method of catechesis (or religious education) that will deepen one’s relationship with God. Catechist formation in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is both instructive as well as experiential. It captivates both the head as well as the heart.

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We read in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs, two by two; the journey was not meant to be a solitary one. It is essential for us as catechists to support one another as we prepare materials, work in the atrium, and observe the child. We come together in unity, as members of CGSUSA, to share the joy of this work.

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Through their joy, their wonder and awe, their capacity for love and prayer, and their radical simplicity, children offer us adults a glimpse of what it means to fall in love with God. This has been the work of CGSUSA for over 30 years: to advocate for the child’s joy.

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