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Archbishop Costelloe launches new teaching resource for parish Catechists


By Jamie O’Brien

“Our Christian faith, before it is about anything else, is about a relationship with the Lord,” said Archbishop Costelloe.

The Archbishop was speaking at the June 29 launch of the new Parish Religious Education Program, which took place at the Catholic Education Centre in Leederville.

“A personal relationship with the Lord but one that takes place within the community of faith,” the Archbishop continued.

The new Parish Religious Education Program has been developed by the CEWA Catechist Service in consultation with the Archbishop with the aim of assisting parish-based catechists deliver religious education in a contemporary and accessible way to their students.

The new program is entitled Gathered in My Name, derived from the Gospel of Matthew 18: 20: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them”.

At the launch CEWA Catechist Service Team Leader Dr Pina Ford, explained the reasons for the name of the program.

“The name derives from the Gospels and is simple and suitable for primary-aged children,” Dr Ford said.

“It also reflects the coming together of God’s people in the Church, including the local church/parish community and the gathering of children in the catechetical classes,” she said.

Dr Ford also thanked CEWA Executive Director Dr Tim McDonald and Director of Religious Education, Dr Debra Sayce, for their support of catechetical work and the new resource.

The new program will be the mandated Parish Religious Education Program for the Archdiocese of Perth – replacing the previous program, the Truth will set you free – as a teaching resource for Catechists.

“It is comprehensive, developmental and sequential and designed to be used in a parish setting with children from Pre-Primary to Year Six who attend non-Catholic schools,” Dr Ford added.

The year levels of Gathered in My Name consist of several modules, including Advent/Christmas, Baptism, Called to God, Confirmation (Year Five and Six), Church, Eucharist, Jesus and Easter, Mary, Penance and Reconciliation, Prayer and Word.

Dr Ford continued to explain that the program modules, each consisting of three lessons, are presented as individual booklets and collated into a boxed file.

The lessons themselves consist of an overview, extended background information for the Catechist, a Catechist Reflection, the Lesson, Activities and Worksheets (including special needs activities) and Lyrics to the songs introduced in each module.

In launching the new program, the Archbishop gave a strong encouragement to Catechists present for the occasion, particularly with regard to the reflection section of the program.

“I am so happy to see that at the beginning of each of these lessons, there is an invitation to reflection,” the Archbishop said.

“Because I think that unless we are a people who have been caught by the power of the relationship with the Lord; a living person who we can be engaged in a relationship of love; unless that is starting to grow in us; we won’t be sharing the essence of the faith that we care about so much with our young people,” the Archbishop said.

The Archbishop also made special mention to CEWA Executive Director, Dr Tim McDonald, in addition to Director of Religious Education, Dr Debra Sayce, for their tireless support and leadership in guiding the new resource to fruition.