CCT in Context February 2017, updated April 2021, by Catherine Maresca
I was in my early twenties when I experienced the amazing power of a small group of people committed to one another and a common work. In 1971, I joined a group of about eight adults in the Catholic charismatic renewal movement that chose to live in community. Within a short time we had become a group home for adolescents attending the Model Secondary School for the Deaf, and a refuge for people in transition – leaving the seminary, leaving school, leaving a marriage, leaving their country of origin, or changing careers. In ten years the original group had grown to thirty-five, celebrated a number of marriages and births, and together founded Christian Family Montessori School, which in turn hosted a steady stream of CGS courses and gathered the first members of CGSUSA. Eight people.
The catechists who serve today in atria around the country and the world also have a shared commitment – to the Good Shepherd, to children, and to one another. And there are quite a bit more than eight of us. There is certainly a powerful spirit among us. What are called to do?
Part of the work of CCTheo is to build our community and unleash its power for good in our changing world. Maria Montessori’s vision was no less than world peace and gender equality, brought about by children who had been raised and educated respectfully, rather than violently. As we sharpen pencils, sweep floors, and present materials we are simultaneously preparing children to live in the joy of God’s love for them and to build the Kindom of God. Their parents and congregations can also be touched by CGS and folded into the love of the atriums.
This year (2021) we have initiated a monthly conversation among catechists, using Zoom to bring us together. CCTheo Conversations, allow our community to consider key themes together, and help the wisdom of our community to rise up among us. It is one of the few CGS circles that depends on you to make it work. Please join us and share your thoughts and anecdotes and prayers. Ongoing themes this year have included Building the Beloved Atrium Community and serving children and adults in atria and courses with a hybrid of virtual and hands-on time.
In addition, Weaving Our Gifts is a peer conference of catechists that allows us to share our wisdom, love, and energy face to face. What are the gifts you can receive and offer to one another? Please consider being a presenter and/or participant at WOG in October 2021, 2023… There you can find others that share your passion and nurture your gifts. Within CGS, are you energized around music, art, nonviolence, toddlers, care of the catechist, material making, developing your Montessori practice, interfaith education or…? Weaving Our Gifts is the place to find like-minded catechists and develop your particular area of our work.
The communities of CGS are concentric. A small group of children and catechists, surrounded by a committed team of catechists, surrounded by catechists from courses and regions, surrounded by national and international associations. Let the power of community nurtured in the atrium inform and transform CGS from the inside out – we have something powerful to share, and to do.