FROM OUR PASTOR. . .
Why CGS at St Basil’s?
The church has always been interested in family life and the education of children; but these past few years have certainly brought about a visible renewal, which has been highlighted by Amoris Laetitia “The Joy of Love”, written by Pope Francis after two years of Synod meetings on family life.
I thank God that many families, which are far from considering themselves perfect, live in love, fulfill their calling and keep moving forward, even if they fall many times along the way. The Synod’s reflections show us that there is no stereo-type of the ideal family, but rather a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems. We should not be trapped into wasting our energy in doleful laments, but rather seek new forms of missionary creativity. (AL57)
Over the past few years, our parish has been working hard to ensure families, especially with young children, feel welcome and receive the nourishment and resources they need to fulfill their call as the “domestic church.”
We know it is hard, but that is why the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is so wonderful – because it gives the child a chance to meet God on their own. In the Atrium, they get to do this on their own, but also with other children – and more and more, St. Basil’s is an inner-city parish with lots of young children!
Why I became a Catechist?
I also appreciated that it didn’t try to teach children; rather CGS provides them with a contemplative experience of the Word of God in a manner that speaks to them.
The more I learned, the more I thought I should become a Catechist. Though I didn’t believe I would spend much time in the Atrium, I did feel it was necessary to have a sense of what happens there; but even more so, I felt like the contemplative exercises and understandings would help me to be a better priest.
The reality is that our kids always save us. Though CGS is billed as a program for kids, it is equally as important for adults.
Sofia Caveletti, Foundress of CGS, insisted that, “before we tell the children ‘what to do’, the child must be invited and allowed ‘to fall in love; and falling in love takes time.’”
In this regard, I do not think adults and children are so different!
How does the CGS extend beyond the children, to the whole parish community?
Liturgy, which most of us experience as the Mass, is one of the best forms of religious education (at least it is designed to be), though I doubt many of us think about this way. Perhaps, it is because too often religious education is very goal-oriented, rather than focused on the experience of a mystery that is ever being revealed to us through word, action, sign and symbol.
Ideally, our experience of the church cultivates a sense of wonder. If we are to have the faith of a child, as Jesus tells us, then I think it requires us to let go of some of our controls; to step out into the unknown. It means we need to relearn how to cultivate imagination, contemplation, wonder and awe.
My experience is that children understand the kingdom of God much more intuitively than adults do. They find delight in simplicity and imagination, and their sense of wonder and awe is not yet jaded by reason or judgment.
Through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd environments and reflections, my belief is that you will find the same thing.