• Document: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Summary of Presentations. Help Me Fall in Love with God
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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Summary of Presentations “Help Me Fall in Love with God” The philosophy of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is that even very young children have a religious life. God is present to them in their deepest being and they are capable of developing both a conscious and intimate relationship with God. We provide materials based on age-appropriate Scripture passages and liturgical signs that nurture their relationship with God. The program balances exposure to our liturgy and the richness of our communal sacramental life with reading the Bible. Our program begins with presenting the New Testament to the children because it is the foundation of our faith. The youngest learn about Jesus and the beauty and wonder of the Kingdom of God through carefully chosen Bible verses that foster a deep love for Jesus. As they grow older they are encouraged to think about their personal responsibility to maintain this relationship with God and their social responsibility in the world. The oldest group studies the Old Testament in great detail and continues to deepen their understanding of the liturgy. They plan worship services and begin community service. Each presentation has specific materials designed to draw the child into the Biblical and Liturgical themes. These materials are always available to the children during their work time so they have additional opportunity to absorb the lessons. The following is a summary to the presentations offered for Level I. Classes are structured to offer a time of prayer and song, a time for the “presentation” and a time for individual work by the child. The work of the children is their prayer and is the most important part of their time in the atrium. Level I (Children ages three through Kindergarten) The theme for this level is the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and gives everything for them. The child is introduced to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and discovers who the sheep are. The enjoyment of the gift of God’s own self to the child is the foundation of further religious insight and moral development. This Level could be characterized as a “time of joy and wonder” in the lives of the children. 1|Page Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Summary of Presentations “Help Me Fall in Love with God” Presentations offered over this three year period can be divided into several large groupings. Below are listed the names of the presentations and their purpose. Prayer The Prayer Table - each atrium has a prayer table that is the central “gathering place”. Its purpose is to offer a place to support the prayer of the child. Prayer table cloths reflect the colors of the church year. Children are encouraged to set the prayer table. Prayer Cards – children are encouraged to select prayer cards for display on the prayer table which reflect their thoughts. 23rd Psalm – this psalm is read and explored; the psalm is a form of prayer and talks about God’s protective and restoring love for us. The Good Shepherd (an image the children are familiar with) will take care of our needs. Song and Art – all presentations are supported by art and music. Practical Life Exercises – are activities done to establish, maintain and restore order to the environment and to oneself. One catechist describes the benefits of these exercises as follows: “the Holy lives in our lives and we can experience God in our most simple acts when we open our hearts and minds to Him. God is present in our ordinary lives and His spirit can permeate our daily practical work.” Bible Scripture Booklets – most presentations are accompanied by scripture booklets that contain the scripture passages on which the presentation is based. Often we will read these passages directly from the Bible. Land of Israel – a globe, a puzzle map and a large topographical map are introduced to encourage the children to realize that Jesus was a real person who lived in a real place – Israel. The cities of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem are introduced as well as the regions and waters in Israel. 2|Page Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Summary of Presentations “Help Me Fall in Love with God” Infancy Narratives: All of the Infancy Narrative lessons are presented with figures, readings from the Bible and time to wonder at the events. Annunciation (Luke 1:26 – 38) Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39 – 49, 56) Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke 2:1 – 20) Adoration of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21 - 33, 36 – 39) Paschal Narratives: Jerusalem – a large topographical model of the walled city of Jerusalem is used to tell the events of the last days of Jesus’ life. Jerusalem is a real place where Jesus visited, celebrated the Last Supper, was arrested, tri

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