New ways to pray
Two summers ago, my daughter's Sunday school teacher encouraged me to sign up for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation workshop. At first I gave her all the reasons I could not participate in a week-long training. She said she understood and did not press me. She then went on to express what a gift it was that we hold the formation courses at St. Stephen's. She explained that when she took the training she had to ask her mother-in-law to fly in to watch her children, so she could drive several hours to attend a workshop in the next town. Well, good grief! That made my reasons for not being able to attend seem a little thin. I told her I would try to make it.
Whenever I try anything new I feel very anxious and nervous. Walking into the first day of the training was no different-until Anna, the formation leader, began talking. Then I felt my heart calm down and I was totally absorbed by the experience. Anna has a way of helping you connect and fully experience the present moment. Throughout the week we watched and participated as she gave presentations on such things as pouring, flower arranging, pasting, and unrolling a mat. If you can believe it, I was not the only adult on the edge of my seat as she mindfully showed us these practical activities in the way that they are presented to the children during Catechesis. It became apparent that each activity could be a form of prayer. Every presentation was engrossing.
A favorite memory from the week was the Good Shepherd presentation. The woman sitting in the role of the "child" during the presentation was filled with joy, almost to the point of tears. After it was done she said, "Oh, this is so beautiful, I wish that someone had done this with me when I was a child!" My heart called out "Yes!" in silent agreement with her. At the same time I felt it was not too late. Right there in that room the Good Shepherd was calling each of us by name. It occurred to me that no matter our age, we are a child of God.
Being involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program has been such a gift to my inner child and has deeply enriched my spiritual life as an adult. It has been amazing to see the signs of the Holy Spirit when I watch the other trained catechists and volunteers working with children at St. Stephen's. I am so thankful that my daughter's catechist gave me a gentle nudge into what turned out to be a life-altering experience.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd approach depends on volunteer catechists to work with children as they explore and reflect on God. Learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd workshop here. The registration deadline is June 30, 2018.