The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori-based Catholic faith formation program encouraging children to grow in their relationship with God through a deep engagement in Scripture and Liturgy. CGS is based on the belief that God and the child are already in relationship. Our work as adults is to provide a place for the child to grow in that relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd. This place is called an atrium and is prepared with materials specifically designed for the children to work with to draw them deeper into the mysteries of our faith. At Epiphany School children ages 3 to grade 5 visit the atrium once a week.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Coordinator
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is
an approach to the religious formation of
children, rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of
the church, and the educational principles of
Children gather in an “atrium,” a room
prepared for them, which contains simple yet
beautiful materials for their use.
The adults in the atrium or catechists present
passages of Scripture which call forth the
child’s innate desire to draw near to God.
Together they ask questions and wonder:
“God who are you? How do you love us?
What is the kingdom of God like? What is
our place in it?”
Children in the Level I (ages 3-6) program spend
time enjoying and nurturing a relationship
with the Good Shepherd. Materials and
presentations on the life of Christ and His
teaching help make the great mystery of who
God is more understandable for the child.
• Through geography, the words of the
prophets, and infancy narratives, Jesus is
established as a real person.
• The Paschal narratives are treated similarly,
using model cities of Jerusalem, empty
tombs, and cenacles for the Last Supper.
• Selected parables further the child’s wonder
and curiosity about the great mystery of the
Kingdom of God.
• Children become familiar with the articles
of Baptism, and gestures and articles of
• A prayer corner located in each atrium
reflects the liturgical time of year by with
appropriate colors, prayer, songs, artwork,
For the Elementary child the image and scripture
of the True Vine (John 15) is presented. “I
am the vine, you are the branches, whoever
remains in me, and I in him, will bear much
fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
This responds to the needs of children ages
6-12 as they expand their relationships with
God, family, friends and the wider community.
Jesus moral parables are examined. The parts of
Mass are studied along with First Reconciliation
and First Communion preparation. The
concept of time is explored as the children
focus on the History of the Kingdom of God;
and the moments of Creation, Redemption
and Parousia. The older children expand their
knowledge of the prophets and study the
covenants God made with the Hebrew people.
As parents, we find that we pray often and earnestly for our children. We ask God to keep them safe, to make them well, and to help us as we care for them. But there is another gift of prayer that comes to us: the gift of praying with our children. There is a big difference between the child’s prayer and that of the adult. It is precisely this difference that makes it such a privilege to pray with little children. They lead us to an enjoyment of God that we may have been missing. When allowed to pray naturally, their simple words come straight from the heart.
What is prayer? We have probably been told that prayer is talking to God. But talking is only one of the ways that young children communicate with God. They help us understand a broader and richer notion of prayer: to pray is to listen to God and to respond to God, to receive God’s gifts and to respond.
One way to respond is to pray as a family at Mass. Below are tabs with ideas and resources for praying with your children. You can also go to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd USA website for more ideas.