Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Registration Now Open for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
We welcome all children of the parish age 3 – 6 (born 2012 – 2015) to register for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Registration forms are available at the back of the church or click here for the online fillable form. Please return your registration form and fee by May 31st by placing it in the collection basket or dropping it off at the parish office.  Any remaining spots will be made available to children from other parishes at the beginning of June.  The registration fee  is $30/child or $50/family.  For more information, contact Emily at emilylukenyenhuis@gmail.com (226-600-6704) or Sophie at sophie.debbane@gmail.com (613-797-8959).

Here are some frequently asked question …

Why is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd needed in our parish when we have Catholic schools?
The Catholic school system instructs children in classroom settings and works to prepare children for their future life through the various subjects. In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the focus is on an education to prayer: catechists and children listen and learn together before Christ’s Word and seek to penetrate the mystery of the liturgy. This religious experience facilitates a more active participation at mass and in the parish community.

How is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd different from Children’s Liturgy?
Children’s Liturgy takes place within the context of a Sunday mass and primarily focuses on drawing children into that Sunday’s Scripture readings. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd offers a longer session (1.5 hour) and creates a space for the children where their work and study spontaneously become meditation and prayer. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will occur at St. Mary’s on a weekday, meaning that children can attend both programs if they wish.

Is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd effective at cultivating a child’s relationship with God?
Sofia Cavalletti observed and worked with small children for over 50 years to discern how to foster most effectively a child’s relationship with God. With the help of others, her work laid the foundation for the program now known as Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Catechists are trained intensely in order to pass on Sofia’s wisdom and provide parishes with an international network that continues the discussion on how to best meet the religious needs and desires of children.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd begins working with 3 year olds. Why start religious formation so young in a parish setting?
It is crucial to begin nurturing a relationship with God at such a young age because a little child’s basic need and desire is to simply be loved and to love in return. The heart of the Christian message surrounds this reality of giving and receiving love. Around the age of six, children begin wondering what their role in life is and so naturally look for a set of rules to follow. While this shift in focus is good and necessary, we must not delay religious formation and risk focusing too much on the “rules” of our faith when we do. The parish setting allows the children a place that is just their own in the community.

How will Catechesis of the Good Shepherd run at St. Mary’s?
Sessions will begin the first week of October 2018 and run weekly on either a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon until May 2019. Each of the sessions will be approximately an hour and a half. The children and catechists will spend their time in a room in the Lower Hall of St. Mary’s.

What does a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd session look like with the children?
The emphasis of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is to nurture the natural inclination of young children to spontaneous prayer. The children quietly spend their time as they wish under the gentle guidance of the catechists. A new presentation is given to each child or a small group of children every week. A child may also choose to go back to a presentation done with them previously or instead focus on personal artwork (colouring, pasting) or practical life skills (dusting, pouring).