Intergenerational catechesis

Last night, after the 5 PM Mass, I took part in an intergenerational catechesis program at St. Mary’s, Colts Neck.  About two hundred came, full house, and I hear more wanted to get in but it was sold out.

About the spaghetti supper, which all enjoyed, the kids went with their teachers, and the adults came with me to the auditorium where I gave a presentation on the Parable of the Sower that Jesus used to teach people about God and the mysteries of life. The kids had the same parable presented to them by their teachers.

God is a passionate sower of seed, Jesus pointed out, and he used the beautiful land and sea of Galilee to illustrate God’s blessings. I used a short dvd on Gallilee watch?v=fW0YAszmLes&feature=youtu.be– still a beautiful land– to help see how Jesus might have taught this parable. Besides what it teaches about God, the parable also has lessons for life, for example, the patience of  God, the patience we need as life unfolds, the evil that can inhibit the seed’s growth, the lack of acceptance to the good seed.

Jesus’ own life among us was like a seed the grew and died and rose again.

The questions we asked the adults to discuss were:

  1. So, what blessings do you find in your life? Don’t forget, they may look small.
  2. Waiting for the seed to be sown and for it to grow demands a lot of patience.  Where do you see patience running out, around you and in yourself?

The  kids showed us an imaginative banner they created and their reflection on the parable.

A parish has five approaches for learning today: 1) the parish or intergenerational approach 2) the peer or age-specific approach 3) the home/family approach 4) the individual approach 5) the wider community approach. Parishes usually prefer an age-specific approach to faith formation. (School, religious ed for children, lectures, retreats for adults, etc…) Whatever approach you use you shouldn’t neglect the others.

6 thoughts on “Intergenerational catechesis

  1. Gail Smyder

    Sounds like a huge undertaking, but wonderful for all involved. How I would have loved to have been a part of your celebration. Wandering around–watching and listening.
    We have an intergenerational presentation for our First Communion families this Sat. during Rel. Ed. 16 families and a very small undertaking. St. Mary’s must be a big parish. Do you have a video of your presentation with the parents??

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  2. Susan

    I want to “be a fly on the wall” at a class of our local “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” for the youngest kids. It sounds like a wonderful program, and I wish it had been around when I was 3-6 years old. The lady who runs it at our church is also in my bible class, and said I could come sometime as an observer. I’m sure I could learn a thing or two from the little ones!

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  3. vhoagland Post author

    Years ago I was a “fly on the wall” at a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for kids in Memphis, Tn. It was inspiring, so much so that the kids didn’t even notice I was there.They were totally engaged in what they were doing. In fact, some of them brought their parents to church so they wouldn’t miss the experience. It draws heavily on the Montessori method, which I also like. Go, Susan, you’ll like it.

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  4. Gail Smyder

    The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a beautiful experience. Our little ones are so deeply spiritual. There are special presentations for preparation for the sacraments as well as a continuous program beginning at age 3 and up into grade school. My friend Kim and I were initially trained years back. I am sorry to say we have lost our impetus due to many other obligations. It is a full time ministry. I wish we had someone now in our parish who would be trained and share the deep beauty of this ministry with our children. Our diocese of Greensburg has many parishes who have full time programs. One big regret.

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