A Gift for the World

After desiring that her daughter be educated according to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Monica receives an unexpected gift that would propagate from her heart to that of others.

When my daughter Lucia was a few months old, I remember hearing Father Rich Veras talk about the The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The way he spoke about this specific method of catechesis was very fascinating. I remember thinking, "I want this for Lucia ... maybe I will do the training and get certified to teach it?" The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children ages three to twelve that originated in 1954 through the work of Sofia Cavaletti, a Montessori educator. Dr. Cavalletti was convinced that at only three years old a child has full capacity to understand God. I totally wanted this for my Lucia!

Obviously I never did the training! There was no way I could get my act together in the summer time to do this (I am a high school teacher and my second baby, Joseph, was born a couple of years after Lucia). When my husband got a job, we moved from New York to Boston in the summer of 2014. Shortly afterwards, a friend from the Communion and Liberation community in Boston, Christianne, called me up and said, "Hey, I am planning to get certified to teach Catechism of the Good Shepherd, are you interested in this for your children?" I remember being so moved! Here I am, wanting something for my kids and not being able to "do it" for them, and a friend decides to get training and offer this catechism for my children! How is this possible? I was amazed and, of course, I said yes wholeheartedly! And so Christianne, together with Maria Elena, started teaching catechism to the children in our community. The Fraternity of Saint Charles priests opened their door and offered a space at their parish, Saint Clements, where the atrium could be built. The catechism takes place every Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. for two hours, and Christianne and Maria Elena, together with Laura, Silvia, and Anna, spend their mornings communicating the faith to our children. This gift of self is out of this world and yet it is happening in Medford on Saturday mornings!

Fast forward four years, and on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12, my daughter Lucia received the sacrament of First Communion. Watching Lucia receive Jesus for the first time was such a concrete experience of God’s love and preference for me. It is as if God was saying to me, “See, I take care of you! You don’t have to worry, all that matters is saying ‘Yes,’ and I will take care of you and of your loved ones. Happy Mother’s Day!” I am filled with gratitude for the friends in the community who are the concrete face of God, and I am grateful for God’s faithfulness in time.

After the First Communion mass we had a small coffee and cake celebration in Saint Clements’ Parish Hall. I invited a new mom to come with her daughter Therese, who became friends with my Lucia while singing in the school choir. That evening I received the following text from this new mom: “Thank you for inviting us! Therese was so happy to be there. The first Holy Communion was lovely, the children impressive. I enjoyed being around a vibrant Catholicism too. In the 8.75 years we have lived here, we have witnessed the Church become emptier and emptier. I can’t help but think that Boston is missionary territory. I witnessed the mission today. Thank you again!” This gift is not only for me, but for the world!

Monica, Boston, USA