How to begin and what is needed
A ‘Seed Planting’ Information session is a good way to introduce the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to those who might be interested. From there a hunger is born to bring the Catechesis into the Parish setting.
There are several key factors that help bring the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to a Parish.
- Pastor – The encouragement and support of the Pastor and the Parish Pastoral Council is essential.
- Catechists – Someone from the parish must be willing to take the formation course in order to get the atrium started. Two or more persons are even better. A team of people is best!
- Formation – Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is not published as a text or program. Everyone begins with the Level 1 (3-6) Course, which is foundational to becoming attuned to the religious life of the child.
- Community – It is good to gain the help from the community as this gives them an ‘ownership’ and interest in the Catechesis. Many people have skills with carpentry, wood turning, calligraphy, sewing, painting, sculpture etc to help make all the materials needed.
- Space – Ideally the parish can provide a room dedicated solely to the atrium. Shared space is more difficult due to the many materials but is not impossible.
- Finances – The Catechesis is feasible for any parish. Costs involve preparing the atrium, making materials, and sending catechists to formation courses. With a little ingenuity, the atrium and materials can be prepared very simply and scholarships are available for some of the courses.
- Legal Issues – The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd operates in a wider community context where legal requirements exist and must be implemented, for the safety and ‘duty of care’ for both catechists and children and to cover the atrium involved. As each Australian State implements these requirements differently, all catechists involved in the work of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Australia, must be aware of the legal responsibilities placed on them by legislations of the State in which they operate.
All works by a catechist and the atrium should have Public Liability Cover. Usually this would be included in the local parish’s insurance policy.
Working with Children ‘Suitability Card’ or the State equivalent, is also required for all adults – catechists and helpers, working in an atrium. Further information can be obtained from your State Commission for Children & Young People.