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.
The Prepared Environment
It is held in a special room at the Parish Center called an atrium, which is a beautifully prepared environment specifically 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 provides an opportunity for 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 Peak into 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. While learning about The Kingdom of God or the Infancy Narratives, I was able to grow closer to God in the quiet there. 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 basically any historical information.
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 as well.
I go to Catholic school, go to weekly mass there, and attend mass with my family.
I was baptized when I was almost 4 years old. I remember spending extra time in the atrium with Miss Cielito [Lane] understanding Baptism. I remember that day and I remember what Miss Cielito 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, the place where what can be a very confusing and complex history is explained with figures, words, and art in the atrium.
As I grew older and into level 2, the interest I had with my connection to God kept growing deeper. I memorized prayers, learned songs, learned books of the bible, 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.
If there was an atrium for kids my age, I would still go. 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.
Forms and Resources for CGS Families
Are you discerning a call to be a CGS catechist? If you feel called to serve as a catechist in the atrium, let us know.
Would you like a tour of the atrium? Are you considering CGS as the faith formation approach for your child? Let us know.
I want to learn more about the atrium
Kim Ward, Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation