SAN DIEGO — The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, an internationally recognized approach to the religious formation of children, has been introduced at St. Didacus Parish.
St. Didacus is the first parish in the Diocese of San Diego to offer this program bilingually.
Based on the Bible, the liturgy, and the principles of Montessori education, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is designed to teach children the basics of their faith, how to be in silence with God, and how to be contemplative from the earliest years of their lives.
Participating children meet in an “atrium,” a place specially prepared for them, which has materials that they can interact with and use to study and to pray.
A training for adult instructors in the program will be held on June 17; for teachers, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd represents a 90-hour commitment, plus homework. Morning teaching sessions with children, ages 3 to 6, will begin in September.
Elena Platas, director of catechetical ministry, explained that adults can re-read a Biblical passage, think deeply about the words, and start a conversation with God about them. But young children, especially those too young to read, need “another medium.” She explained that, in the atrium, younger children can engage in such activities as using wooden figures of sheep while reflecting on the Good Shepherd parable or figures of the apostles in conjunction with a lesson about the Last Supper; older children can copy parables from the Bible or work with a long pictorial strip showing the story of the Kingdom of God.