Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)
Registration for 2017-2018 is NOW OPEN!!!
Parishioners and non-parishioners--register today!
Now offering Level I (ages 3-6) and Level II (1st -3rd Grade)
Click on the Links below:
View a video about CGS
National CGS website
What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)?
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a method of helping children enter into a relationship with God. It was developed based on the educational principals of Maria Montessori, an expert who studied early childhood development in depth and greatly valued the dignity and immense potential of the child for learning.
Where does CGS happen?
CGS takes place in a room called the "Atrium". This is what the entrance space in Basilicas was called in ancient times. The Atrium is "more like a church than a classroom." (Religious Potential of the Child, 1992). It is a place where the children learn to contemplate God. For All Saints, Atria will be located in the Annex building at 310 Cardinal Place.
How did CGS get started?
Two women, Gianna Gobbi and Sofia Caveletti, started using this method in the 1950s in Italy. Through extensive experience praying with children and observing them work in the "Atrium" they identified which scripture passages seemed to resonate the most deeply with the children. One of these passages was the parable of the Good Shepherd. They wondered why the children grasped onto this particular story so much. By listening closely, they heard the children saying they loved the story "because the Good Shepherd knows my name!" Developing this personal loving relationship with Christ is what CGS is all about.
What happens in the Atrium?
The children are presented with short scripture passages which they ponder with the trained adult Catechist. Some of the presentations have "materials" that go along with them. For example, for the story of the Annunciation, the children listen to the scripture and are then presented with clay figures of Mary, the angel Gabriel, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. After hearing the scripture, the children are invited to "work" with the materials. This leads them to internalize the scriptures and contemplate it in a personal way. Similar presentations are given with materials to teach about the Liturgy. This helps the children understand what is going on at Mass and become more engaged as they make connections between what they absorb in the Atrium and what they see in the Liturgy on Sunday.
Who is CGS for?
CGS has three levels. Level I is for ages 3-6, Level II is for ages 6-9, and Level III is for ages 9-12. All Saints has active atria for Levels I and II. Catechists for this program go through an extensive year-long training program.
Does CGS replace PSR or Religious Education in the Catholic School setting?
CGS is not meant to replace other forms of religious education, such as PSR or religion class in Catholic schools. However, it greatly increases the benefit your child gains through those classes. The CGS Atrium is not a place of religious instruction but a place of religious life that recognizes the deep bond between God and the child , first; the difference between "pouring in" vs "calling forth" that which already exists. "In Catechesis...it is Christ alone Who Teaches. Anyone else teaches to an extent that he is Christ's spokesman." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #427).
How can I register my child for CGS at All Saints?
We will soon be accepting registrations for 2017-2018. Registration forms will be available in the links section at the top of this page or you may contact Karen Mesler at 314-220-4390 or CGS@allsaints-stpeters.org to request a registration form.