Monthly letters to help put the work of the catechist of the Good Shepherd into the context of the larger world · from the archives
by Catherine Maresca
Our August Annual Appeal is underway, helping us to share the best of our work with each other and our children.
We are busy people, tending our families, our jobs, children in the atrium, colleagues in the atrium, our parishes, communities, and countries (watching the Olympics!) Meanwhile, in the womb of CGS –with young children at home or in the atrium – there are wonderful moments that need to be savored, recorded, shared. These moments are spun and woven into the work we call Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. They inspired and guided Maria, Sofia and Gianna…and now they inspire and guide us. The children we work with are our ongoing formation leaders, refining our work so that it can serve them most fruitfully. What is the gem you learned this year? Who did you share it with? How can it become part of the fabric of our common work?
CCTheo is one of the places where this fabric is woven. We publish Occasional Papers (free downloads at cctheo.org) written by some of you, as you have explored various themes related to our work. We gather for Round Tables, Collaboratives, Courses and Weaving our Gifts to share the best of our experience and grow from it. We edit and print your materials and books such as Still Waters, Parenting, a Spiritual Path, or The Seed of God to support our work with children.
Part of this summer’s fabric weaving was the Toddler Parent Course led by Davette Himes. Davette began her work with toddlers, like many of us, as a mother. She revamped the church nursery and went on to develop the Level I, II, and III atriums in space built by her parish for that purpose. Then her focus turned to the toddlers. For the last eight years I’ve watched the space carved out for them grow into a beautiful atrium serving both the toddlers and their parents. Shelves hold books for both the children and the parents. Hospitality is offered to the children in the practical life space, and to the parents at their own “coffee” area nearby. The work of the children, guided by the catechist, is carefully observed and recorded by their parents – helping them to note the independence, skills, interests, concentration and spirituality of their little ones, and giving them confidence to develop these at home. Prayer together ends their time – a celebration of thanks and wonder.
Finally, nineteen of us gathered in July in Davette’s striking atrium at All Saints Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA. Her work is rooted in vast reading, her own experience with Sunday and weekday mornings toddler groups, home visits, careful thought, and deep love for both the children and the parents. For five days we “downloaded” from this rich reservoir resources and wisdom to help us serve the toddlers and their parents in our own lives. Davette gave us her best, and helped to weave the fabric of our common work.
Most of the projects nurtured at CCTheo are developed for five years or more before they are published or shared. The printing, storing, selling, shipping and communicating necessary to share it with you is supported by fees collected for our events, and sales of printed resources. But the work that precedes this is supported by your gifts. Please donate today to help us continue to share the best of our work, weaving together the fabric of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.