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Monday, 10 February 2014

Chate...Katachee.. Cateces....Oh, heck, education about God

Ah, yes, catechesis. God bless spellcheck.
When I was young we variously referred to it as Ratty-chasm, "chatty"-chism, catty-keester...

Did a lot of web-crawling today to find out if there isn't a better way. Adopt home-schooler's programs? Make one up as we go along?

When I joined this group of volunteers, I learned that the head of the program felt the textbooks, (fully compliant,) just existed as a CYA with the diocese, and that we teachers were really free to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

Which is how you get teachers who make statements like, "the Bible readings are the real heart of the Mass."
(Oversight has improved.)

I have learned that my team teaching partner thinks I am teaching way over their heads.
But I remember throughout (almost,) my entire tenure as a faith formation student feeling bored, and worse insulted - and I was one of the few actually interested in the subject.
So I try to mix it up - if you teach only to the least prepared, most disinterested member of a class, those who might actually be able to get more out of the class end up wanting to shoot themselves.

But that's another matter, I'm sure I haven't found the right tone to reach everyone.

No, my real concern is...
Well, an example:
Yesterday, we were going to talk about Mary's role in salvation history and Valentines Day. (I will not say which of the two topics was my choice, and which the other fellow's....)

Teaching the Rosary was how the text chose to structure my portion of the day's festivities, (it was silent on the other.)

Fair enough.

But I learned it was pretty much impossible to talk about the events we refer to as the mysteries when half of the kids don't know the "stories."

I don't mean Mary visiting Elizabeth, or the proclamation of the Kingdom, or Mary receiving her crown... I mean, to take an actual example, an incident more basic to our Faith - Jesus dying on the cross.
Of course,  95% of them did not know the story of the Prodigal Son, (and I don't mean pretended not to know because they were bored, or disengaged - they were interested as I told it during our class about confession. They literally did not know it.)
Or that Moses had been given the Commandments by God.
(Or - and I'm sure you will fell I am making this up, Reader - how many of those pesky commandments there were.)

This is not a class of converts.
There are no ESL matters to be dealt with.
These are all children who made their First Communion three years ago, and some of them don't remember if they have received Communion since, much less if they have ever heard anyone read Gospel, (or Old Testament,) stories.
They don't seem to know anything.
I think this is connected with the (in my mind, troublesome,) three year lectionary cycle, but that's another matter, too.
(And since many of them virtually NEVER attend Mass, I must admit, the same Gospel being proclaimed every week would not make it any more familiar to them....)

I think it is to their great detriment that we neglect the extraordinary ability of children's minds to grab hold of and preserve knowledge, even without immediate.

Tell'em stuff!
Tell it to'em again!
And then repeat it!
They don't understand it?
That's no reason not to learn it.

They don't understand the Immaculate Conception? the Blessed Trinity? how grace "works"?
Guess what?
NEITHER DO I! Neither do the other teachers, or the pastor.
Neither does the Pope.
The great Truths of the Faith are also great mysteries, and we do grow in understanding of them, but understanding them fully is beyond human ken.

But for the love of God, (literally!) use the gifts children have, use the areas in which they far exceed us geezers, utilize their capacity to absorb information.

This doesn't all make much sense, does it...

I'm tired....

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