WHAT IS CGS?
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious formation of children, 3- 12 years of age. It originated in 1954 with the founding of the children’s center or “atrium” in Rome, Italy by Sophia Cavaletti. Inspired by Montessori principles of education, it now extends to many countries around the world. Atriums can be found in home, parish, and school settings. Many parishes in our archdiocese have atriums and CGS is growing worldwide.
What is the atrium? The atrium is a room which is dedicated to the spiritual formation of our young parishioners. It is the specially prepared space where the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place. The catechesis is based on the conviction that God and the child are in relationship. The child has a deep need to experience and a special capacity to enjoy the presence of God. What sets the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd apart from most other methods of learning is that it has no “textbook” but rather many “hands on” materials. Using a Montessori-based approach, materials handcrafted by our parishioners help the young children learn about the Mass, Baptism, Bible Geography, History of the Life of Jesus, the Kingdom of God Parables, Practical Life, Art, and Prayer.
How does it work? Small groups of children come together for a weekly session in the atrium, which introduces them to the Bible and the Liturgy—the two pillars of our faith. The weekly sessions, led by an adult catechist and assistants, begin with just 30 minutes as the children are oriented to rhythm of the atrium. In time, the sessions last for up to 60 minutes. Another essential aspect of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the adult catechist. Catechists participate in several hours of formation related to three developmental levels, ages 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12.
Approximately 10 years ago, two mothers from Nativity set the groundwork for this beautiful program and we are now expanding to include second and third graders. We also are offering three classes for children ages 3-6 who are not enrolled in Nativity Parish School. (We currently offer CGS for K, 1 in our Religious Education Program) Those class times and days are:
Monday 9:15-10:00 AM or 10:00-10:45 AM
You may enroll your child/children HERE.
CGS has a podcast! Click here.
How can I help?
In order to grow further, we need trained catechists and aids. The program needs volunteers like you! You may offer your talent by assisting an hour or two a week, once a month, or what best suits your time allowances. Many fall in love with the program and desire to know and share more with the children and enroll in the catechists training. It is a beautiful way to dive deeper into the beauty of our faith and explore it with our children. If you are looking to go deeper in your faith life and plant seeds of faith in our children, please consider becoming an aid or catechist. Volunteers need to be Virtus trained.
Please contact Sara Baker, [email protected] for more information.