by Christina Milan.
This is the sixteenth year we have been using the "Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" (modeled after the Montessori Method), with the parish children, and this year the very first "next generation" child has arrived!
In September, Stevie Montoya, class of ‘96-‘97, brought her three-year-old daughter to our atrium (Montessori "classroom"), and according to Josie Salazar, that child is now busy giving blessings to people all over the neighborhood.
Moreover, two of our atrium graduates, Ashley McLaws and Scott Peters, took the level one teacher formation course, and Ashley has been certified as a level one catechist.
After sixteen years, though we have had to repair many of our Montessori materials, I have been amazed at how well they have weathered the years. You’d never guess that the sheepfold for the Good Shepherd presentation, built with tiny pieces of flagstone, has passed through approximately 800 little hands.
I rejoice anew in these creative gifts whenever I give someone a tour of the atrium. And we are very grateful to the MH staff and the people in Winslow who built these beautiful atrium materials.
One of the greatest joys of the catechists in the atrium is to witness, as Tina Tan did last week, a child discover that he or she is a beloved sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd. To share that moment with a child is pure gift, and calls forth the simplest response: Thank You!
Two of the children in Tina’s Tuesday morning atrium are brought each week all the way from Flagstaff, which is 60 miles away.
Another family also brought their children from there a number of years ago, and their oldest daughter is now a novice with the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist.
The children who were in my first atrium are now teenagers: freshmen and sophomores in high school, preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation with Lisa Diniz. And we still have two level two atriums across town at St. Joseph’s School.
I would like to close by sharing something that a nine year old, who received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion last May, said last week after hearing an explanation of the articles used in Baptism: "Can you take me to confession? ‘Cause my baptismal garment needs to be washed."
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