Approximately 30 First Communion catechists came together at St Charles RC Church, Tunapuna on Saturday, February 9 for a follow-up session to the consultation held in March 2018.
We started the morning with Lectio Divina and shared openly on what Luke 5:1–11 meant to us. We first shared in twos and then to the whole group.
This created the setting for the first session. Sr Juliet Rajah HF went through with us how the world has changed from the metanarrative where God was the backdrop of everything, and people’s lives and decisions were based on this. She pointed out that because of this change, First Communion catechists too have to change.
We have to model Jesus in our lives in and out of teaching time as the 7–8 year olds we deal with learn by osmosis—they soak up their environment, especially at home.
She stressed the importance of parents being the first and main catechists, not by having a catechism class at home but by the example of a loving, forgiving environment where an attitude of gratitude is practised.
Basically, we as First Communion catechists have to embody and articulate the Good News to emerging generations and be the vehicles of the Holy Spirit to bring our little ones to experience a life-changing encounter with Jesus. She stressed the need for continuous faith formation and teaching the children how to pray and appreciate periods of silence in life.
Session two was a full session on the use of craft. Retired principal, Margaret Noel took all of us through a mock lesson on Mary. She gave us a package of a host of aides we could use to bring across our objective for each lesson—paint by number, crosswords, dance, song, Bible stories, prayer, drama and simple handouts.
She brought a large banner on which we stuck the beads of the rosary in pink, purple, green, yellow and gold—one colour for each decade. Then we used peas, gems, glitter glue, markers and coloured pencils to do our own personal rosary craft.
In the third session Johanna Lucky highlighted Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). She was thorough and even showed us a clip on ‘Life Animated’, a film on family, love and autism. She stressed the need for First Communion catechists not to react to autistic outbursts in a punitive way but to act always out of love.
I would like to thank the catechetical co-ordinators of our Archdiocese for putting this training session together. It was full, informative and sound. —Natasha Lamy-Ramsden