Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

One of my parishioners posted this as her Facebook status this afternoon:
So, M...'s been sick for a couple weeks, and I haven't let her drink from the chalice at church. This morning at the altar rail she asks, "Mom, can I have salvation this morning?"
M. is her daughter, who turns seven this Friday. Reading this was, for me, one of those luminous moments when the veil that divides Heaven and Earth is exquisitely thin.

If you know the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer, it's not difficult to see where she got the language of her petition. For longer than this child can remember, she has drunk from the chalice while hearing the words, "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation." Hence ... can I have salvation this morning?

Of course, M. was saying more than she knows. I suspect that she also knows more than she can say. (Shameless plug: This little girl has been formed for the past two years in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.) And I thank her mother for sharing this precious moment. We all stand in need of being reminded just what it is we're doing every time we stretch our hands across a communion rail. We are, implicitly, asking, "Can I have salvation this morning?" And the answer, unfailingly, is ... Yes.


Malcolm+ said...

Your post led me to do a bit of websurfing late last night since I didn't know very much about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It appears that it is very similar to Godly Play - both based on Montessori methodology and the work of Sofia Cavaletti. My quick bit of research suggests that Godly Play is a bit more user friendly, especially where there are limited resources.

I'd be curious to know what people think of the two.

Daniel Martins said...

You are correct that CGS and GP both drink from the same Montessori well. CGS is the older of the two. And, yes, GP is more "user friendly." CGS has stiff training and certification requirements. It's a quite demanding commitment of the part of a catechist. GP is more relaxed about such things. Also (and very much in general), CGS tilts in a "Catholic" direction (sign-symbol-sacrament), while GP tilts in a "Protestant" direction ("word"). I favor the original (CGS), but understand the practical concerns that would motivate a community choosing GP.

Victoria said...

Hi! I've been a CGS catechist for 17 years, and I've worked in small churches with limited resources. Yes, the training is more extensive, but it tends to produce formation in the participants which leads them to a long-term call to this ministry. (See 17 years above.) So many of my fellow catechists say how much they enjoy the training because they grow and are formed in it.
Also, CGS encourages parishes to make their own materials, rather than buy ready-made materials, so the materials cost much less. I regularly have materials-making workshops in our small parish. The workshops are well attended, and the participants always tell me how much fun they have. An added advantage is that the workshop participants learn about the program and support it. It becomes a parish ministry, and not just "the kid's program."

Judith said...

I am a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd parent and am training in my third level as a catechist as well. As parents, if our child is to be seen by a medical professional for an ear ache, we want that person to be top in their class as an undergraduate in order to go through four more years in an excellent medical school. If someone is going to teach our child how to read, we want them to have a degree in elementary education, and we still don't want them to be a first year teacher! So when it comes to introducing our children to the mysteries of God, why do we balk at the training required to do it well?

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training is only one course per level, the time equivalent of a high school or college course. And oh, what a rich course it is! I feel like I am on a retreat every time I go to class!

So, I find myself wondering, who are the users this is so unfriendly towards? If the users are the children, I think we do well to prepare ourselves with this modest training.