"In places where widespread unbelief and invasive secularism makes real religious growth practically impossible, "the church of the home" remains the one place where children can receive an authentic catechesis." - Pope John Paul II
No child can believe in God without knowing Him. Thus, it is one thing when children lose faith and turn away from God, it is quite another when they never learn the faith to begin with.
Our children need systematic instruction in the faith and the Church has provided parents and teachers with an excellent tool in the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism stands at the end of a long tradition of catechetical instruction which anchors our children in timeless Catholic teaching--even while the Church currently works to develop new resources to serve the Church's modern challenges.
While many families use the Baltimore Catechism, we provide a unique set of resources for explaining, exercising and assessing student lessons. Every lesson provides prayers, catechism questions, explanatory lessons and examinations that require no preparation by the parent. Our rigorous examinations at the end of each lesson help us to pinpoint Christian doctrines that our children do not understand. This ensures no important teaching is neglected.
The lessons in the Academy's Classic Catechism include nothing but the text of the original Baltimore Catechism. The Catechism used by the CLAA was published by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1885 as the Catholic Church was established in America. Nothing is added to or taken away from these trustworthy sources in our catechism materials.
Most importantly, we are working to lead Catholic students to know the entire content of Sacred Scripture--systematically and devotionally. Our Daily Religion program joins the infallible Word of God with the official Prayer of the Church to lead students out of a world of devotional chaos into a discipline of trustworthy spiritual formation.
"How shall they believe
Him of whom they have
St. Paul, Romans 10:14
Petty School Religion
This new course is intended for non-readers who are several years away from First Communion. Available: Fall 2012
Classic Catechism I
This course coves the first half of the second book of the Baltimore Catechism, which was intended to prepare Catholic children for Confirmation.
Classic Catechism II
This course covers the second half of the second book of the Baltimore Catechism.
Classic Catechism III
This course has sadly been buried with past generations of Christians, but we're thrilled to bring it back into use. This was designed to serve as a 2-year course of Christian instruction for confirmed Christians. We provide these more mature students with exercises that challenge them to apply their instruction to complex real-life questions, and careful assessment. An excellent course.
CLAA Daily Religion
The Christian life is not supposed to be one of academics and arguing. God is a living being to whom our daily praise is due and to whom our daily needs should be brought. The Catholic Church has always maintained that Christian devotion should be oriented around active prayer--not study alone. Our Religion program is a daily course that provides students with a rich and balanced routine of sacred prayer, readings and reflections. Our #1 priority is to cultivate the discipline of daily Scripture reading using a reading schedule that loosely folows the Church year, yet covers the entire Word of God. The Liturgy of the Hours, the Christian calendar, lives of the saints, a Scripture reading program and corresponding reflections are all included...daily. This is an extraordinary program that we hope will shape the culture and lives of our students.
Click here for more info on the
CLAA Religion program.
WHAT IS 'CATECHISM'?
Catechism is the ancient method of systematic instruction in the Catholic Christian faith. The essential points of the Christian faith are taught in a simple question and answer format that anyone can teach or learn. It's mission is described in the St. Cyril's Prologue to his Catechetical Lectures:
"Suppose that the Catechising is a kind of building. Stone must follow stone by course, and corner match with corner, and by our smoothing off inequalities the building must thus rise evenly. In like manner we are bringing to thee stones, as it were, of knowledge. But unless thou fit them together in the one whole, and remember what is first, and what is second, the builder may build, but thou wilt find the building unsound."
Unfortunately, in our generation, this is hardly being done. Schools have yielded to secular pressures and educational fads to avoid controversy and maintain high enrollments, and religious instruction has been pushed out of the curriculum. Today, the restoration of classic catechesis begins with individual families. St. Cyril encourages us further:
"Thou art receiving armor against the adverse power, armor against heresies... Thou hast many enemies; take to thee many arrows, for thou hast many to hurl them at: and thou hast need to learn how to strike down the unbeliever, how to contend against the heretic."
This is the goal of our Catechism program. As with all of our courses, nothing is new except the technology, since the truth today is nothing but what it was in St. Cyril's day.
CATECHESIS AND PRAYER
Pope John Paul II taught that true catechesis leads men to intimacy with the truth--Jesus Christ himself. The CLAA Catechism program also teaches the meaning of the prayers of the Church and provides for their regular use. From basic daily prayers like the Sign of the Cross, the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary and the 'Angel of God' to devotion that includes the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Rosary, students learn their traditional meaning and use. Prayer is a habit that must be cultivated by learning and practice.
As parents, we are our children's primary catechists, and it is our duty to not merely to teach our children about religion, but to lead them in the practice of it. Therefore, in addition to our Catechism courses, the CLAA offers a Daily Religion program that allows parents to introduce their children to the Church's Liturgy of the Hours, which is the system of daily hymns, prayers, psalms, and spiritual readings used by monks, nuns, priests and bishops around the world--and through all time. The Liturgy of the Hours was reformed by the Church in recent years to be made the official prayer of ALL Catholic Christians and we are eager to introduce the next generation of Christians to it. In addition to the LotH, we also provide students with the daily readings of the Church's Mass Lectionary.
Lessons are deilvered daily and include hymns, saint biographies, lessons on celebrations in the Church year, the daily Psalms and Scripture readings and reflection questions that help students steep in their readings. We will constantly be developing resources to serve students in this course and believe that this is one of the most important things we're doing in the CLAA. For a sample lesson, click here.
Note: Catholic Prayer books and Bibles are available for purchase at discounted prices
in the CLAA Bookstore. To learn more about the Liturgy of the Hours, click here.