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Occasional Papers

Occasional Papers is a collection of papers exploring the theology and spirituality of children.  These papers delve into subjects related to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, such as moral formation, theological, Biblical and liturgical background, Montessori and Cosmic Education, and child development.  As a gift for your support, as well as to encourage the ongoing study of our catechesis community, we are now offering all of our Occasional Papers for free. These papers have been written with you in mind and cover a variety of topics relevant to your work. Peruse the list of papers and choose a few you'd like to read as you begin the the new catechetical year.Your donations allow us to continue our own research and produce these papers. Consider a donation to help support the work of CCTheo!Following you will find abstracts of available papers. New papers are in the works, so watch this website for upcoming papers.

Children and Eucharist

in the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditons
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"Children and Eucharist" explores the history of welcoming children to the Eucharist in the Catholic and Anglican communions. Receiving the Eucharist has been connected at various times in history to Baptism, Confirmation and/or Reconciliation for both children and adults. These practices are connected to practical, political, pastoral or theological considerations. Ann Garrido carefully traces how these practices have played out for children in the Catholic Church.

Where Was God? Spiritual Questions of Sexually Abused Children

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When we address the spirituality of childhood, we are confronted with the tragic reality that at least one in four girls and one in five boys in America experience sexual abuse during childhood. Basic trust has been broken in childhood sexual trauma, invoking questions such as, “How can God be there?" Hughes relates places within the Christian tradition that offered her doorways into faith and healing.

The Child as Mystic

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Sofia Cavalletti, biblical schlolar and founder of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, noticed that the child possesses a mysterious knowledge of God. This is the hallmark of the mystic as well. In fact the mystic and the child's religious experiences share many of the same attributes. This paper examines the parallels.

I Treasure Your Word in My Heart

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Within the covenant relationship which is foundational to the Judeo-Christian tradition, the voice that calls by name is also the voice that gives aids for remaining in joyful relationship with God and neighbor. The maxims are one such aid, and heir tablet shape mirrors the sign of the covenant: the Law. Part One of this paper looks at the essential elements of the Law as background for greater appreciation of the maxims as part of the long history of covenantal life. Part Two looks at the maxims within the context of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel, for the Matthean Jesus is primarily a teacher of Law.

Sittin' in the Lap of God

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This paper flows from Genelda's studies with the Shalem Institute in spiritual direction and her observation of and work with young children. With anecdotes of children from infancy through age six, Genelda considers children's inherent relationship with God and the gift of that relationship for the adults in their community.

Backdoor to Liturgy

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This paper is an account of the author's work of incorporating the rich liturgical presentations of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for 3-6 year old children into her atrium in a non-liturgical setting. Her tradition as a charismatic Protestant is centered in the Bible and so her assumption as she learned the Catechesis was that the liturgical work would not be part of her atrium. But her experience of the liturgical presentations was so fruitful that she began to consider their use in her own setting. 

The Child As Parable

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Dr. Cavalletti explores the synoptic texts where Jesus presents a child as a sign of the greatest in the kingdom of God. He is preparing the disciples for his death and resurrection, yet they are concerned with who will be the greatest. Jesus identifies himself with a child, who is simultaneously both the least and the greatest. The child is a model of discipleship and a sign of Christ. We are invited to embrace the weakness of the child, the weakness of the crucifixion, in order to allow the power of God to reach perfection (2 Cor. 12,9). 

Prenatal and Perinatal Foundations of Moral Development

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Drawing upon an impressive body of writing and published research in the area of prenatal and perinatal psychology, the author here presents her own thoughts about the critical importance of the prenatal and perinatal period as foundational for the later moral development and behavior of the person. She argues that any design for moral education must take this early period into account.