Skip to main content

Tales of Woe from the Catechetical Front

I have a feeling this may be an on-going series throughout the year. Friday night, a friend of mine called, rather distraught. She's a really good religion teacher, has years of experience teaching religion in Catholic high schools, and truly loves the Old Testament. She's incredibly frustrated that she now has to teach (to high school freshmen, mind you) the entire Old and New Testament in ONE SEMESTER. Impossible. But that's the standard.

I have volunteered to teach 7th grade catechism this year at a local church. We are covering prayer and the sacraments. We meet every other week for two hours. Yeah.

First class last night: I tried my darndest to get the kids to come up with the story of Moses when talking about the idea of "covenant". "What did God ask Moses to do?" Silence. "It had something to do with the number 10....?" Silence. I finally dragged it out of them.

Later in the class, I wanted to have them look up something in the book of Psalms. In the class of 14 kids, NOT ONE knew how to find the book of Psalms, how to figure out chapter and verse, that the book was in the Old Testament (what's that??).

Sigh.

I know that these kids must have been taught some of this stuff previously and it just hasn't stuck for one reason or another. I also know that a lot of these kids don't attend Mass with any regularity, so talking about sacraments is going to be a tough one. (The last Baptism some of them "witnessed" was their own...)

It isn't supposed to be this way. As educators, our job is to reinforce what is being joyfully lived and taught at home. We are supposed to help the kids dig deeper into Scripture and the faith and help them love it. Instead, we're caught up in hardcore curriculums, deadlines on what is being taught and when, and kids who literally have no idea what we're talking about.

Woe.

Comments

  1. If it's any consolation, this is not just happening in the Catholic church. The protestant churches are having the same issues of the kids not knowing the basic Bible stories anymore or how to use a Bible. It is frustrating when you have them for 45 minutes in Sunday School and then again for 45 minutes on Wednesday night...

    Zoanne Brugger Clark

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know if it's consolation but it sure is frustrating! Bible stories used to be such a big part of our culture as a whole and now they just aren't. It's sad.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.