Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to faith formation based on Maria Montessori’s educational principles.  It is for children three to twelve years of age. Please CLICK HERE to register for the 2023-2024 session. CLICK HERE to view the 2023-2024 calendar.

The Prepared Environment

It is held in a special roatrium 4om at the Parish Center called an atrium, a beautifully prepared environment for children. It is where the children grow in the knowledge of Jesus and His love. Children typically begin catechesis when they are three or four years old.

Catechists and Leaders are Formed Locally

The Sheepfold is a Pacific Northwest Consortium for CGS Sustainability.  The Sheepfold allows a faith community to have ongoing, affordable, and sustainable training for CGS Formation.

Forming the Child— Forms the Adult

CGS Formation provides men and women the foundation to serve in an atrium— where the catechist and the child listen to the Word of God together.  In forming the child, the adult is formed, too.

A Peek into the atrium

Check out these two videos to learn more about the CGS approach to faith formation and a peek into the prepared sacred space called the atrium.

more about the sacred space— called the atrium

A Reflection on Atrium Life by a Young Parishioner

Read Hayden’s experiences in the atrium—

“My atrium journey started when I turned 3. I don’t remember much about that year, but I remember being excited to go to the atrium—more than excited. I was drawn to go. It was peaceful and calm. I’m not one for chaos!

As the years went by, I saw all of the works. I grew closer to God in the quiet while learning about The Kingdom of God or the Infancy Narratives. My favorite works were The Land of Israel, The Globe, and the Liturgical Calendar. To this day, I am fascinated by learning about cultures, geography, and historical information.13626969_10206944840239397_1816651471304787327_n

The atrium also developed what I think was already there: a love for religion or, more specifically, Catholicism. Religion is my favorite subject in school. Having Jewish people in my family, the atrium helped me develop a basic understanding of that religion.

I attend Catholic school, attend weekly mass there, and attend mass with my family.

I was baptized when I was almost four years old. I remember spending extra time in the atrium with Miss Celito [Lane], understanding Baptism. I remember that day and what Miss Celito had told me about the water, oil, white, and light and what they represent. I didn’t completely understand how much deeper an experience being Baptized was with that added, but now I can.

I would say the place I learned the most, where what can be a confusing and complex history is explained with figures, words, and art in the atrium.

As I grew older and into level 2, my interest in my connection to God grew deeper. I memorized prayers, learned songs, learned Bible books, timelines, parables, and more.

The atrium grew up with me, and in that, my faith and love for God grew in me, too. I knew God was there, but my experience in the atrium developed that into love, understanding, and knowledge.

I would still go if there were an atrium for kids my age. It’s a special place and one I will remember forever. I am grateful my parents sent me to it.”

Learn more about Hayden’s faith journey and how the atrium is still part of his life in the news article series Stewards Among Us – Renewing Works That Shaped Him.

Discerning CGS

Are you discerning a call to be a CGS catechist? Let us know if you feel called to serve as a catechist in the atrium. Would you like a tour of the atrium?  Are you considering CGS as the faith formation approach for your child? CLICK HERE to register for the 2023-2024 session.

I want to learn more about the atrium

Kim Ward, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Coordinator


[email protected]