Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sofia Cavalletti, rest in peace!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Luke 1:46-47

Dearest Friends,

With tears and with peace, we want to share with you that our beloved Sofia Cavalletti, at 94, a founding mother of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, has entered the celestial pasture of the Good Shepherd. There is great rejoicing in heaven for her with Gianna, Tilde, Fr. Mongillo, Maria Christleib and Tina, along with members of her family who have gone before her.

Francesca Cocchini sent the following announcement from Rome, Italy: “Dearest, this is only to say that during this night – at ten after midnight (Tuesday, August 23) Sofia encountered the Good Shepherd face to face.” The funeral mass will be on Wednesday, August 24.

Francesca also shared the announcement for the Italian newspaper, Repubblica:

“The Maria Montessori Association for the Religious Formation of the Child sings the Magnificat for the life of Sofia Cavalletti who gave the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to the Church. Eucharist is at 11 am, Wednesday, 24 August, at S. Giovanni dei Florentini Church, Rome.”

Sofia goes ahead of a large family of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechists and children in thirty-seven countries around the world. A Hebrew and scripture scholar, Sofia began to work with children in 1954, collaborating with Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator. Together they were called and inspired by the children they served to listen, watch, and deepen an understanding of children’s spirituality in relationship with God.

Sofia leaves to the world an approach to the Christian formation of children from the ages of three to twelve that is theologically sound, systematic, and rich in Bible, liturgy, and sacred history. Sofia’s reverence for the Bible and liturgy, her fresh and compelling style of writing and speaking, her wise and intelligent way of discussing complicated theological themes simply, her sense of humor, and personal warmth will be greatly missed by many.

Information shared by the National Association of the Good Shepher in USA

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The children in the Atrium


The children in the Atrium, a set on Flickr.

Formation Course for Catechist, a joyful experience.

Formation Course Level II, part 1 in Ottawa.

From July 2nd to 8th, 2011 at Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Ottawa, a group of local catechists came together to continue our personal growth in this Journey. We began our Formation Course level II part 1, led by Rose Yagiela.   Rose very kindly agreed to come and share her talents and expertise with us, while accommodating our scheduling requirements.  She is a formation leader recognized by the National Association of the USA, and now also from our Canadian Association here in Canada.

As usual in God’s plan, things unfolded perfectly.  Initially, the participants were slightly hesitant because of many constraints (the fee, babysitting, distance, holidays with their families or other reasons).  But God was there to speak to us in the way He only knows; gentle and loving.

During that week, not only the training itself but the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Word of God were talking to us the catechists, and this is what I would like to share with you today.

After overcoming what seemed like insurmountable obstacles, both on the part of those preparing to host the course, as well as those preparing to attend the course, the welcome we received was this:   

“Come to me all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest”.

This welcome helped set the tone for our week together.  It was a week of fraternity among the participants, with a profound respect, where the Good Shepherd had the principal position and the sheep were ready to listen to His voice.

We started our course learning the differences between the 3 to 6-year-olds and the 6 to 9-year-olds. For the first two days, our course ran smoothly with lectures and presentations.  When we received the presentation of “The Fettuccia” under the category of the History of the Kingdom of God, everyone was amazed.  Rose gave an excellent presentation; the adults were enchanted in awe, but our Lord was there to remain us that this is not our merit but the Holy Spirit who works through the Formation Leader or catechist, and he spoke with a smooth voice to us   “You (Father) have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed it to the little ones.”

We continued our course.  The days were long; we had presentations, lectures, album pages to be completed, materials to be made, and so forth.  And here was our Good Shepherd speaking again to us:

“The harvest is abundant but the labourers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest”

In the middle of our training we received great news; Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast would come to visit us!  He came and celebrated Holy Mass; he began his homily saying:  “Everyone thinks that they have the best program ever, however this program certainly has a very good approach to the children.” On this day the Good Shepherd spoke to us in a special way, the gospel for the day was the Mission of the Apostles; we were 12 catechists in the training, we were experiencing this golden thread that Sofia talks about, in our own journey.

We continued our work with the Synthesis of the Infancy Narratives, the Synthesis of the Kingdom Parables and we also had the presentations of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector.  Our Good Shepherd was there watching closely over the syllabus that Rose had prepared for that week because He had something else to say to us, the gospel for that day was: As you go, make this proclamation: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand”...

When I reflect and pause to consider exactly how much I have spent on this Journey over the years, I realize that it’s impossible to quantify.  If I try to account for the total cost for the time spent in Formation Courses, or making materials, or writing album pages, or the money required to pay the fees for training or to pay the expenses of traveling and lodging or even the time my husband has been available in order to watch our children while I’ve attended training, it is very difficult.   In my mind it is just “too much.”  But, if I see it in a different perspective; that everything comes from God because He loves me that He has been the one who has organized the time so that all of these things could happen in my life.  If I see Him as the giver of everything, the one who gives my husband the job to pay for the training, the time off to watch our children, the enthusiasm to help me in making certain materials that I cannot (wood working), then I can understand and embrace what He has told us in the gospel:  “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

One of the presentations that brought tears to the eyes of the catechists was the Wolf and the hired hand.  The meditations that came after the presentation, the way people used the materials and the way each one saw or understood the parable can’t be explained in just three lines because I would be losing the real meaning of this experience.  But I can say this was a real spiritual retreat for all of us, a time to grow, a time to be close to the Good Shepherd, it was our own personal experience with Him as an adult, as a catechist, the humble servant who is taking care of His sheep.

As the time was nearing the end of our first part, our Good Shepherd didn’t want to let us go without warning us, and He said: “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves”

We will meet again next summer July 3rd to 9th, 2012 to complete our Formation Course.  If you have already completed your level II, but would like to refresh your level 2 part II  specially  the reconciliation and first communion retreat with children, feel free to contact me.

In the love of the Good Shepherd

Lilia Villasenor-Garcia

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Formation Course for Catechists, level 2 for children 6 to 9 years old.

Holy Eucharist celebrated by Archbishop Prendergast.

Archbishop Prendergast and the catechists.

Msgr. Robert Latour, Paul Cuddihy PPC, and the catechists.

Jennifer Camfield bringing grettings from the Association of the Good Shepherd in Canada.

Dale Balkovec and the parable of the hired hand and the wolf.

The History of the Kingdom of God (The Fettuccia)

The Books of the Bible

Catechists at work.

Shyntesis of the Infancy Narratives

Katlheen, Heather, Dana and Tracey making materials (the books of the Bible)

Tracey and Dana working on her album pages.

Paschal Mystery (Last Supper, Origin of the Eucharist, The Empty Tomb)

Shyntesis of the Kingdom Parables.
Rose Yagiela, Formation leader

History of the Kingdom of God (Unity and Vastness)

Catechist during a lecture

Lunch hosted by the Cuddihy's.  Thank you!

Monday, 16 May 2011

John Paul II visited Sofia Cavalletti's atrium in Rome.

'Jesus said to his disciples: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," and he will add: "for to such belongs the kingdom of God" (Mk 10:14). Another time, as the Apostles are arguing about who is the greatest, he will put a child in front of them and say: "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3). On that occasion, he also spoke harsh words of warning: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea: (Mt 18:6).

How important children are in the eyes of Jesus! We could even say that the Gospel is full of the truth about children. The whole of the Gospel could actually be read as the "Gospel of children".

What does it mean that "unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven"? Is not Jesus pointing to children as models even for grown-ups? In children there is something that must never be missing in people who want to enter the kingdom of heaven. People who are destined to go to heaven are simple like children, and like children are full of trust, rich in goodness and pure. Only people of this sort can find in God a Father and, thanks to Jesus, can become in their own turn children of God.

Is not this the  main message of Christmas? We read in Saint John: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14); and again: "To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12) Children of God! You, dear children, are sons and daugters of your parents. God wants us all to become his adopted children by grace. Here we have the real reason for Christmas joy.
Be happy in this "Gospel of divine sonship".'

Extract from the Letter of the Pope to Children in the Year of the Family.