And a little child will lead them


People sometimes are curious how as a Catholic woman I ended up in the field of preaching.  That’s an interesting question.  I started preaching….

Well, let’s save that story for another day.  Because maybe even more interesting: Where did I as a Catholic woman learn how to preach?  I know that I was super lucky to enjoy a couple of really fine preachers in the parish of my childhood.  I’ve been so blessed by my education at Aquinas Institute—what an amazing place.  But I feel like I stumbled upon the homiletics jackpot the day I found myself in a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd course.  I had signed up for this Montessori-based faith formation course hoping to become a better mom to my toddler.  What I got was so much more.  I mean, let’s be clear, I do think it helped me become a better mom than I would have otherwise been and that is priceless in itself.  But it also opened for me a whole new world about what it means to be human and how we learn and grow.  It taught me how to communicate effectively about the biggest mysteries in life.  In short, it made me an infinitely better preacher.

CGS remains a bit of a hidden treasure in the preaching world.  I’ve long suspected that if bishops knew how helpful its insights and practices can be when applied to the ministry of the pulpit, they’d want all their priests and deacons and lay ministers of the Word enrolled. But formation in CGS is a significant undertaking and many who are not serving full-time with children can have a hard time carving out the time, even as they are curious about the possibilities.   

Back in 2003, I wrote my first book called Mustard Seed Preaching on the topic of CGS for preachers. It was a thin volume because preachers don’t tend to be people who have a whole lot of time.  And I’m really grateful that Liturgy Training Publications picked it up and kept it in print all the way until this year.  Many books only have a shelf life of about two years, but LTP and colleagues in the CGS world helped it to find its way into the hands of lots and lots of new ordinands and intrigued RCIC leaders and supportive pastors.  When they told me that it would be retired in Spring 2020, it started a conversation about whether my thinking on the topic had changed at all over the past two decades.  Would it make sense to do an updated book?  Maybe even a completely new book?  Preaching with Children is the fruit of that conversation.  It is even thinner than Mustard Seed Preaching because ministers have less time to read than ever.  But it cuts right to the heart of the matter describing briefly what CGS is; how it aligns with our church’s vision of preaching; what preachers should know about children; what they should know about children’s life with the Word; and how to prepare a preaching that resonates with children—and the child in each of us.

Maybe the topic will be of interest to you.  And, as the Easter season approaches with all of its ordinations and first communions and confirmations in quick succession, maybe you’d like to wrap it up with a bow as a gift for your favorite preacher!  If you would like a copy, could I ask that you order it from our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd association to help support the amazing work that this organization still does in bringing the gifts of children more fully into the consciousness of our church?  It would go a long way in supporting both the ministry of preaching and CGS at the same time.