Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a religious formation program for children which seeks to create and facilitate a sacred ‘hands on’ space for children in what is called an Atrium. In the Atrium, both the children and the catechists can hear, ponder, and celebrate the most essential mysteries of our Faith. The catechist’s own in-depth formation is essential in order to guide meditations on biblical themes and liturgical signs that can draw the youngest child to fall in love with Jesus.
In 2018, our parish began Level 1 of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program.
The Level I Atrium fosters the 3-6 year old child’s innate relationship with Jesus using the Parable of the Good Shepherd. The reality of Jesus in this image affirms within the child the covenant relationship that exists between the Good Shepherd, Jesus, and His sheep. We wonder about these sheep that Jesus calls by name, feeds and protects, searches for when lost, and rejoices when found. The treasure hidden in the parable—of who
these sheep could be—is for each child to joyfully discover on his or her own.
As the child is orientated to the Atrium, we present lessons in grace and courtesy as well as controlled movement and practical life activities, such as pouring and transferring, to assist in the development of fine and gross motor skills and in preparation for more advanced work specific to the Atrium. We also introduce nomenclature and gestures that are part of our life in the Church, such as the Sign of the Cross, Genuflection, and articles of the Mass, as well as the liturgical colors and calendar.