Today I began in earnest my new career as catechist. My nephew J-- and some of his classmates were due for first communion this December but owing to a scheduling conflict they were not able to join a catechism group. I volunteered to handle their preparation if the parish priest would allow it, and it turns out there was no objection. (I wasn't even interviewed; I would have thought they would have screened catechists more vigorously.)
We actually started last week but only two students showed up, J-- being one of them. We simply reviewed the traditional prayers which they already knew quite well. Today I finally had my full complement of six, and they were quite a handful. The oldest was eleven and the youngest was seven (I may have to have a chat with the lead catechist about that, if the age is appropriate.)
I didn't want any namby pamby stuff and so I decided to go right to the heart of it, Jesus Christ. These first few weeks will be all about the life of Christ. As a guide, I used the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Today we went through the Joyful Mysteries, with me reading from excerpts from the Gospel of St. Luke to highlight each of the events. The kids were very smart and very receptive, picking up on the names of people and places very quickly. I gave each of them a rosary, with their first assignment to get it blessed by a priest.
Since time is short, I make it a point to ask at the start of each session: what are we here for? The answer being: to prepare for First Holy Communion. I then emphasize that Holy Communion is important because they are receiving Jesus Christ, and to receive Christ properly, they have to know him.s
I admit I'm a little tense about this endeavor. The time is pretty short and what's more I'm going to have a gap of about a month next month (thankfully someone will take over.) I aim to cover the important bits after the life of Christ: the Creed, the Sacraments, Confession, and Holy Communion. By then, I hope they'll be well equipped.
Adelante sin miedo!