Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Good Samaritan: A Children's Catechism

This book is over a hundred pages. You might think from the cover that this is some booklet or short title, but there is a lot here. Thirteen chapters of material with illustrations throughout. And those illustrations are quite approachable for children. They aren't photos clipped to fit the text, they were made specifically for this book and it shows.

The summary below puts this book to use in a number of places, but to me this book is ideal for the person told to run a church school program who has no idea where to start. With minimal preparation a new church school teacher could have a class ready to go. It would be an easy thing to print out some supporting material and look like you know what you are doing. They also mention homeschooling uses. This would certainly work for a parent who needs some prompts or for a child who is reticent or reluctant to listen to mom talk about "Church stuff." Plan out how much you want to do a week, post-it note stopping points, and you're off!

I recommend this book without reservation.

(Ancient Faith Store) - "The Good Samaritan: A Children's Catechism" by Fr Michael Shanbour, illustrated by Nicholas Malara.

The Good Samaritan is a first-of-its-kind catechism written specifically for young people (ages 6-12) to communicate the unchanging truths of the Orthodox Faith in the most accessible and engaging way. This beautifully illustrated, hard cover book (100+ pages) catechism follows the patristic model of sin as illness, Christ as the Medicine and the Church as the Hospital for the healing of the soul.

The introduction and thirteen interrelated chapters form a perfect kid-friendly catechism for use with priests, Sunday school teachers, and parents. Chapters can be taken in one-at-a-time, as brief lessons or as bedtime story reading. It may also be used as part of a homeschooling curriculum.

In the catechism we are taken from life in Paradise (Lesson 1), through the Fall of Adam (Lesson 2) and the reality of sin (Lesson 3), and into life and redemption through Jesus Christ (Lesson 4). In The Church (Lesson 5) we then encounter Holy Tradition (Lesson 6), the dynamic "river" that runs through the midst of the Church and provides the living water for thirsty souls. The treasure of Holy Tradition then presents the Holy Mysteries of the Priesthood (Lesson 7), the Eucharist (Lesson 8), and Baptism (Lesson 9), along with Repentance and Confession (Lesson 10), all of which are essential for the health and salvation of our souls. Finally, Prayer (Lesson 11), Fasting (Lesson 12) and Almsgiving (Lesson 13) are shown to be the indispensable means of union with God and as life-giving manifestations of faith, hope, and love.

The text brings together Father Michael Shanbour's many years of work and interaction with young people (particularly pre-teen children) as a youth director and priest, for the purpose of sharing the fundamental truths of the Faith as taught and lived out in the Orthodox Christian Church. Nicholas Malara's illustrations and artistic formatting help to bring the teachings to life.

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