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I am an Air Force wife and mother of three precious gifts from God. I enjoy learning at home with my children, and the many adventures this life sends our way. So stop by often to visit, and check out what the Five Nomads are up to.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

101 Wednesday: The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism

This is my first 101 Wednesday post. I'd like to share with you my love for The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism. I know this is pre-Vatican II, but I still love it. No, I'm not a super conservative Catholic that yearns for the mass to be said in Latin. I wish I were that knowledgeable and devout. Alas, I am just a work in progress. Maybe one day I will graduate to that uber level of wisdom. Until then, I am going to just keep on trucking. Studying our faith, and basking in the glory of our Lord.
So this is where my basking has recently been: For our daily religion I have the kiddos memorize this Catechism. I love this book, because it is laid out nicely in little chapters. Monday we read the little chapter and the corresponding Catechism. Tuesday we read the Catechism portion, explain all vocabulary/intent questions, and do half the chapter questions. (I feel it is imperative my children UNDERSTAND what they are memorizing.) Wednesday the other half of the questions, again reading the Catechism. Thursday go over Catechism, and read the Bible verses to support the Catechism. Friday more Catechism. Now the following week we practice the Catechism each day, with the goal of having that chapter's Catechism memorized by Friday.
Memorization is important to brain development, but I also think it is important for my children to have this stuff down so they can be positive defenders of our faith. So much of the Catholic Church is misunderstood, many times because we as Catholics are not well versed in our faith. The other portion which is pivotal, is my hope these treasures will be stored up in their hearts. One day they will find themselves in a difficult situation, and these little treasures will point them in the right direction. The direction of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
For some time the Catechism has been focusing on the 10 Commandments. Now we all know these, right? What I find so helpful is they explain the command in terms my children (and I) understand. For example: Thou shalt not kill. Hey, that is pretty easy. I do not go around killing anyone. . .but do I? It goes on to explain. . .
by the fifth commandment we are commanded to take proper care of our own spiritual and bodily well-being, and that of our neighbor. This forbids murder and suicide, and also fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, drunkenness, reckless driving, and bad example. --Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism 1964
Ouch. I've got some work to do.
Now the spirit of this exercise is not to condemn. That was not God's intent when he handed the tablets over to Moses. The intent, which the Israelites rejoiced over, was for these commands to be a guide to holy living. I pray these guides are as helpful to you as they have been to our family.


  1. Nicely said. I agree that the kids need to understand what they are memorizing, but I do love the memorizing part... who knows when that little nugget will lift out of their memories just when they need it!

  2. I've just been wondering lately about this catechism. I think I have one floating around that someone gave me once. Thank you for explaining how you use it.

  3. Is it blue?, The Catechisms I rememeber were always blue. I don't have them any more. But I remember the first lesson was about why God made me--to know Him, love Him and serve Him.

  4. Welcome BecomeWhatYouAre! I stopped by your site to see if you preferred to be called something else, but couldn't find your name. While I didn't find a name, I loved your posts. I'm glad I checked it out.
    I began using this method when my daughter was in third grade. It is modeled after the Mother's of Divine Mercy religious ed. Check out their site, they would have great suggestions.
    No, ours is white and pink. BUT, it all begins with God made me--to know Him, love Him, serve Him! And with that, you made my day. I'm guessing your Catechism days were a while back yet you remember the lines perfectly.
    Now the one thing lacking here at the Nomad Pad is the nun with a ruler. BUT, if they don't shape up I may have to scrounge one up. ;)

  5. Tami - so excited for you guys. I agree that knowing our faith is so important. One of the really great things about being Catholic is our catechism. It is spelled out for you on why we believe what we do and how it is rooted in the Bible and in tradition all the way to the very earliest days of the Church by the people who actually walked, and talked, and ate with Jesus! The catechism is well thought out, has academic rigor and been tested and challenged by some of the finest theological minds over the centuries. It's good stuff. We are lucky to have it but only if we know it. Otherwise we are not prepared for the many who are always ready to attack our faith. God Bless!

  6. I'm glad the first lesson stayed the same. Our nuns had rosaries that wrapped around their bodies and when they were upset they would finger their beads. We always wondered if there was hair under that habit. I remember that a local swimming pool (in doors) made itself available for nuns only swimming once a week and that was such a novel thing it was in the newspaper.

  7. Tami, we try to fly under the radar on the web. becomewhatyouare or bwya or something like that is fine. I know it seems so impersonal, but it must be done ~ if i told you, i'd have to kill you. I don't want to do that. :)

    thanks for visiting my place!

  8. bwya works for me. I'd hate to force you into a mortal sin.

  9. I've learned SOOOO much from The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism! Oh, and so have my kids - even the littlest ones.