As a mother of two teenage daughters interested in my own faith development and that of young people, I was looking for a course that would promote both.
In my search I discovered the Shekinah course which aims to train interested adults in youth retreat facilitation. I was searching for a course that would work around a full time job and be affordable. Shekinah seemed to fit the bill. Fees could be paid in installments and it ran over ten Saturdays between October and February. Additional work included three practical retreats and three short essays.
Not having studied for over thirty years, I decided to take the plunge. The training was very practical, very much 21st century in its approach and Christian in perspective. Academic input included adolescent development and youth culture – both necessary to understand where young people are at. On top of this we engaged in a wide range of practical but fun activities, similar to those we in turn will do with young people e.g making masks, salt jars, drama, music, art etc. These activities promote reflection on the Gospel message and connection with each other and the Spirit within.
I was scared initially at the thought of trying to give a meaningful retreat to young people, many of whom are no longer church going and whose lives are so largely influenced by today's culture and social media . However, very quickly I realised that although they live in a very different cultural and religious environment to that of my youth, the fundamental needs of children are the same.
The Shekinah approach,
While fostering their spiritual growth, Shekinah does so in a way that also meets the needs of a young person for love, respect, being listened to and having fun.
Having completed my three retreat days with students from secondary schools in Dublin I have been thrilled by the reaction of both students and teachers to this method of retreat facilitation. I can concur with the view of a Religion teacher who previously completed the course, that it is one of the best things she has done in life. The students love her as a teacher and love the subject because of her enthusiasm, her sincerity and her approach.
I would recommend this course to teachers involved in faith development and parents of teenagers, who are trying to pass on a meaningful and lively faith to young people.
Our youth are the future of our world.
We are the adults challenged with the responsibility of passing on the Christian faith to them. This course goes a long way to enable us to do just that.
The Shekinah course is accredited by St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Successful participants are awarded a Certificate in Spirituality with an option to progress to diploma level.
Blog submitted by Deirdre Grant - Past Pupil of Shekinah