The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is offered as a faith formation option for children enrolling in PREP, and as an enrichment to the religious education provided to our Holy Family children.
The CGS methodology is a Montessori hands on approach to religious formation that is rich in prayer, liturgical and spiritual content and is specifically designed to meet the age appropriate developmental stages of the child. CGS utilizes a dedicated prepared space for children called the “atrium” and extensively trained catechists. The atria are unique environments filled with materials specifically designed for the child’s use. Because children learn by using their hands, working with materials allows them to enter more deeply into meditation, nurturing their relationship with God. The goal of CGS is to nurture this relationship and prepare the children for full participation in liturgy through the use of the materials, prayer and songs, listening to the Bible with the children, and by giving them time for personal work.
CGS Level I
CGS Level I is offered for children who are ages 3-5 in the fall (i.e. pre-K through K). In Level I, the focus on the parable of the Good Shepherd nurtures the child to grow in an appreciation of the unconditional love and protection of the Good Shepherd and the deeply rooted relationship Jesus has with us. The parables of the Kingdom further the children’s understanding of the beauty, value, and strength of God’s Kingdom, deepening their desire to become participating members of the Kingdom of God.
CGS Level II
CGS Level II is offered for children who are in grades 1 through 3. The Good Shepherd and Kingdom parables of Level I provide the foundation for moral formation that comes as a natural response to God’s love in Level II. The image of Jesus as the True Vine, who invites us to remain in the love of the Good Shepherd, the Moral Parables as well as the Moral Maxims (the Commandments given to us by Jesus) help to nurture and deepen our moral life in Christ. Further study of the History of Salvation from Creation, to Redemption and Parousia allows for reflection on our personal role in fulfilling God’s plan.
Typically in their second year of Level II, children are invited to participate in sacramental preparation to receive the gift of Jesus Himself in the Holy Eucharist. This additional component includes meditations held outside of the atrium, and ends with a multi-day retreat that culminates on a Friday evening with the reception of First Reconciliation and a White Garment Service, followed the next morning with the gift of Holy Communion. Please see the Sacramental Preparation page for more information and to enroll in this preparation.
CGS Level III
CGS Level III is offered for children age 9-12 or grades 4 through 6. Listening to the Old Testament and exploring the history of God’s plan for salvation guides our focus on the plan of God as a plan of communion, a plan which links all people together through God’s love. The emphasis is on our response to this unfolding generosity of God, as we respond to the child’s question, “What is the kingdom of God and my place in it?” This cosmic query lays the foundations for discerning our individual roles in His Kingdom. Materials on the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Gifts of God, the Miracles of Jesus, and expanded presentations on Liturgy and Scripture guide our reflections.
CGS Program Offerings Fall 2023
CGS program offerings Fall 2023 include:
- For children 3–5 years old (pre-k/K), CGS Level I atrium sessions will be offered weekly on these days:
- For children age 6-8 (1st thru 3rd Grade):
-CGS Level II atrium sessions will be offered weekly on Tuesdays, 4:30pm–6:20pm
- For children age 9–11 (4th through 6th Grade):
-CGS Level III atrium session will be offered weekly on Tuesdays, 6:25pm–8:10pm
(Note: On occasion, will be combined with Level II for celebrations.)
Questions or looking to become involved/volunteer?
For questions on St. Joseph’s CGS offering, or to become involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please contact Anne Pulsifer (firstname.lastname@example.org/484-431-5156). All volunteers complete state and diocesan regulated Safe Environment checks. Safe Environment Requirements
For more information on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, see cgsusa.org.