The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd presents one tremendous stumbling block: in order to follow this method, one needs a dedicated space, or actually three dedicated rooms, in which the environment is carefully prepared.
Why is the necessity for rooms such a hindrance? If you're asking this question, you haven't done much parish work! Space in any parish is hard to come by, and it seems to be a part of our cultural belief system that the more functions a room has, the greater the virtues of the community it belongs to. Even requesting that a parish assign a room that would otherwise stand empty and unused to just one group, for its exclusive use, can sometimes draw quite a bit of anger and suspicion. Adding to this complication is the problem that catechists almost always begin by requesting a room for the youngest group to be catechized -- 3-6 year-olds -- a group that many believe are not ready for catechesis, or for whom catechesis is unnecessary. What? You want us to dedicate a room to the exclusive use of 3-6 year-old children, none of whose parents will contribute a cent toward rent? To do what?
After a long crusade for a room in one particular parish where I was starting up Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a good friend there said to me, "You know, Suzanne, when I first met you, I thought you were on fire for the kingdom, but as I get to know you better, I begin to think that all you actually care about is real estate." We laughed together about that one because, the same might have been said of Abraham and Moses, too.
Because I've moved several times since I first began as a catechist with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, it happens that I am always leaving a place right after a parish has finally decided to give the catechists rooms for the atria. But now, after eleven years of wandering and making do, I belong to a group of catechists who have received not one, but three rooms in one of the Catholic schools that closed this year. When I first heard the news, I couldn't process it completely. Slowly, the reality of what we have been offered is starting to dawn on me. I took some "before" shots of the three rooms and will post the "after" pictures when we're up and running.
This is a miracle, one I'd forgotten how much I needed and wanted, after all the years of doing without it. I only pray to be worthy of such a gift.
As you can see, there is indeed much work ahead of us!