Inviting children to come close to God
- Anne Delsorte
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a form of teaching that invites and helps children to come close to God.
A seminar on this Catechesis had twenty-six sisters of the Missionaries of Charity participating at the Pastoral Centre at Tokarara from 9th to 16th January 2020. Facilitating the sessions were Veronika Metcalf, President for Australian Association for Catechesis of Good Shepherd and Anne Delsorte, Vice president for Association.
Based on the pillars of the Bible and Liturgy, every work or presentation is centred around the words of the Scriptures or the prayers of the Church and with its many hands-on materials, it speaks to all ages, all levels of education and all cultures.
Ms Delsorte said, “When visiting a 3-6 atrium, you might find one child setting the model altar, another might be sitting with the diorama of Mary’s house with the figures of the angel and Mary. These activities are repeated over and over with great joy developing the inner child and preparing them for longer periods of prayer and meditation.”
Materials are designed to draw the child and adult into an encounter with God. They respond to the cry of the child’s heart “Help me to come close to God by myself!” An authentic and personal relationship with God is formed and the pure joy of being in God’s presence is experienced.
This space (the atrium) is a retreat centre for children to come into the Lord’s presence. Here they are called by name, fed and nourished, cared for and protected. Here they discover the many wonderful secrets hidden in the Bible about God and His Kingdom, that He wants us all to know.
Framed by the pedagogical principles of Maria Montessori, this work enables the child to grow in dignity, self-esteem and independence preparing them for the second stage in this formation for the older child.
The Catechesis originated in Rome, in 1954, by two women Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew Scripture scholar and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessorian. Today atria of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd can be found in over a hundred countries throughout the world.