All posts tagged: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: Cultivating the Christian Imagination of the Child

Recently I was talking to a mother of two young children, who explained that she drops her youngest son off at childcare while she attends Mass because “he is too young to get anything out of it.” Implicit in her remark is the assumption that the child, particularly the young child, neither possesses within himself a hunger for God nor is capacitated for worship—that his age prevents him from meaningful participation in the liturgy. She primarily envisions worship in terms of utility. It exists in order for us to “get something.” Cast in therapeutic, moralistic, and individualist terms worship functions either to meet one’s subjective needs, to make one “feel good,” or to make one a generically “better person.” Such a view, both of the nature of the young child and of worship is deeply imprinted on the Catholic imagination in the United States. Children are seen as a distraction to adult worship—hence, the emergence of strategies to get kids out of Mass: “the cry room” and “children’s Liturgy of the Word.” In fact, there …

The Secret Lives of Children

Since school has ended (and so too the endless number of meetings), I’ve been dropping my son off for his final days at preschool. Along the way, we listen to Caspar Babypants, the greatest of all child artists. After listening many times to Messy Face, his favorite tune at present, I drop him off. My son has never been one to bemoan school. Actually, as soon as we mention that the present day is a school day, he gets off the couch and waits at the door to leave. He loves to be apart from us, learning to write his name, to participate in circle time, and presumably to play an array of toddler games that we can only imagine. His mother normally must drag him away from school when it’s time to go home. Over the last semester since he began his scholastic career, I’ve noticed that our son has learned things that we didn’t teach him. He has become an expert at spelling and writing at least the first two letters of his name. He …