The teacher shares the task of handing on the gift of faith to the pupils through the religious education programme. The teacher is the catechist, the teacher of faith. The gift of faith is passed from the teacher’s life to that of the pupil. Where may the teacher find nourishment and inspiration for his/her own faith in Alive-O?
Every lesson in Alive-O begins with a Teacher’s Reflection. The reflection bears relationship to the theme to the lesson in hand. It is a tool to facilitate the teacher’s own reflection at an adult level. The teacher’s reflections are drawn from many sources: scripture, religious poetry, spiritual writings and quotes from saints and inspirational people.
Alive-O follows the liturgical cycle of the year. The liturgical cycle is a teaching tool in itself, as it draws us progressively into the life of Christ. Reflection on the time of year in question will be influenced by our experience of life and by our own faith/spiritual growth.
What reading can we do to challenge and nourish our own faith?
1. It is worthwhile to seek the answers to questions of faith for oneself at adult level, perhaps by referring to scripture, the documents of Vatican II and/or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There are many good books available relating to the various Church seasons and of the year, the sacraments, prayer and other aspects of faith which are worth reading at the relevant time, so that the celebration of the season is more meaningful.
2. The Liturgical Calendar for Ireland which is published each year and available close to Advent onwards provides valuable information and catechetical material through the year. The liturgical calendar is also available on many church and diocesan websites. The calendar provides references for all the readings for each day of the year. The daily readings are a source of inspiration for our lives.
Prayer is our direct communication with God. It is conversation which leads us into relationship with Him, where we listen and speak from our hearts. All friendship and its growth depends on communication. The same is true concerning relationship with God. Jesus, the teacher, provides us with the model for a prayerful life.
The Diocesan Advisers organise retreat/reflection days for teachers during Advent and Lent in preparation for Christmas and Easter. The aim of these days is to provide a well from which the teacher’s may draw nourishment, and at which they may rest on the journey together.
There are many retreat houses and monasteries throughout the country where individuals or groups are welcome to attend a period on retreat (a day or perhaps a longer residential time). The retreat houses and monasteries have websites which provide information on such resources. An enquiry costs nothing!