Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet for the first time William O’Leary, Director of Religious Education at Ascension Parish in Kansas City. I have known William through Catechesis in the Third Millennium for about a year now, so it was great to meet him in real life. It goes to show – even in this enormous country, there is a myriad of links connecting Catholics – Dorian at the Art and Beauty Course happened to know William too!
When I get stressed out back home in my parish, I need to remember Ascension. They literally have hundreds of children in their catechetical programmes. When I visited, the summer formation programme was in full swing, and nearly 200 kids were coming in every day for two weeks of catechesis. Parents can choose whether to take the year-round option, or the summer-intensive option. So I got to help out with first-graders, take part in a music session, and see a fifth-grade class too.
These programmes need an army of catechists and helpers, as you can imagine, and William has done an incredible job in preparing the programme, manuals for each grade, and providing catechist formation. Every catechist had created a sacred space in their classroom.
Ultimately, it’s encouraging and exciting to see how truly ‘universal’ the Church is – how universal human nature is, too (we encounter all the same problems they do… how refreshing). How wonderful to be a Catholic and come and experience a parish thousands of miles away, with the same, universal vision for catechesis, and the same passion in implementing it. May we continue to journey together, learning from each other.