Not too long ago, I began training in Level I of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I’ve heard a lot about this model since my college days, but had little frame of reference since I’ve never seen it in a parish or school setting. I recently have been feeling called to focus more intentionally on catechetical models for younger children, so I finally took the plunge and attended a course. Prior to the training, I was a little worried that I’d become one of those “brain-washed” catechists who is convinced that CGS (and consequently everything Maria Montessori) is The Only Way To Do Things. I’ve heard stories and had some experiences of people who are so enchanted with this method that they can’t seem to visualize any other way to engage and teach your children– and sorry, folks, that just makes you annoying– so, one goal of mine was to try and keep a level-head during the experience. At the end of the week of training, here is the brief reflection I wrote:
CGS is not a magic bullet. It won’t solve the deep crisis of division and apathy in the Church today. It will not automatically get fallen-away families back in the pews. But CGS does seem to offer something that other models of catechesis does not: it regains the physicality, the essential embodiment of our faith. Our culture is so confused about the meaning of our bodies and of creation. We are no longer interested in liturgy because we no longer understand the language of embodied signs. Gestures, postures of prayers, and sacraments/sacramentals have lost their referents in a world that has forgotten about REDITUS. We have forgotten our origins and therefore our destination: our telos. When presented without drippy sentimentality (which is so obvious to even the smallest [children]), CGS brings children face to face with the wonder and joy of a creation which was made for them and which invites them personally to eternal, bodily Beatitude.
So, what do you think? Am I brainwashed yet?
Have you ever had experience (either as a catechist or recipient) of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? What did you love? What did you not love? I want to hear!