The Religious Education Program for children at St. Patrick Parish who are attending the Sunday Program is entitled “Children’s Christian Development” —CCD. The name indicates a dynamic movement in which the child, parents and other family members, teachers and parishioners are involved. The movement is a continuous experience of God and of God’s love begun at home and supported (not replaced) by classroom instruction for the child at any age. The Catechist (religious education teacher) strives to extend to the child the presence of the total family of God in a warm and sincere way through their witness of the life of Christ.
The Catechetical Program and the catechists stress in their teaching that the most important part of their role is the child and his/her religious/spiritual development. Each catechist has felt and experienced the presence of God in their lives, often through other persons who have helped them to learn about God. In turn, they wish to respond to the call to share their vision of God and their faith-life with others, in particular, the children of the parish community.
The catechist creates a loving, caring and enthusiastic atmosphere where God’s presence can be felt and the experience of God shared. It is believed that the power of God is experienced through common everyday experiences. The child’s experiences are related to the life of Christ and the Catholic Church in the classroom setting, but more importantly, to the home. The child’s textbook invites the child to respond to all of life’s experiences through song, prayer, art, drama and other activities.
We, as catechists, believe that we must respond to the uniqueness of each child with sensitivity, flexibility and respect. We believe in the necessity to respect the child’s own vision of God — and to very gently broaden and deepen it in whatever way we can.
Most important for the child’s Christian development is the parent involvement and effort at home. The formal classroom effort by the catechist can only support and build on the firm foundations begun at home. Each parent, child and teacher has a different, yet important gift in the Body of Christ. Together we bring Christ to fullness and unity as we join in building God’s world.