Catechesis of the Good Shephard

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a religious program helping children enter into and deepen their relationship with God. It was developed based on the educational principals of Maria Montessori, an expert who studied early childhood development in depth, along with Sophia Cavalletti, an expert in religious studies, author of many books and extensive amount of time spent with children in Rome. Both of them greatly valued the dignity and immense potential of the child for learning.

It was brought to the United States in 1954 for children 3 to 12 years old. Recently, after discernment the Toddler program was developed using the work from Maria and Sophia. This progam has many works for the child, they are able to touch and see the articles of the Mass, see, write and read Scripture and prayers along with spend quiet time in reflection.

  • Children will be present in the Atrium for 80 minutes each week from September 2022 to May 2023
  • All Saints is proud to offer Toddler (6 weeks to 36 months), Level I (3-6), Level II (6-9), & Level III (9-12)
  • Times and Days are provided on the registration form below. 

If you are feeling called by God and would like to learn more please contact us at cgs@allsaints-stpeters.org.


CGS Volunteer Information 

Adults can assist the involvement of children and adults in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant.

Duties: Assist in the Atrium, located in the upper level of the Annex. Adults and teens accompany the catechist and children in the Atrium. Occasionally walk a child to the restroom, sit with a child while the child works, provide a quiet atmosphere and assist the catechist as needed. Help prepare the Atrium by filling vessels, clean at the end of the session and remove any debris, vacuum and sanitize.

Time Commitment: 90 minutes a week, or a rotating schedule based on the individuals availability.

Special Skills: 

  • Catechist: one must be in compliance with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, attend the retreat in August, provide their album and certificate of completion for the preferred level.
  • Assistant: one must be in compliance with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, attend the retreat in August and have an understanding of contemplation.

Contact Karen Mesler at 636-314-220-4390 or email cgs@allsaints-stpeters.org.


CGS Registration Form 

Click here to download the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd registration form.

FAQ's 

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.

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.

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.

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.

CGS has four levels. The Toddler Atrium is for newborns through age 36 months. At least one parent attends the session with each toddler. Level I is for ages 3-6, Level II is for ages 6-9, and Level III is for ages 9-12. All Saints offers all four levels. Catechists for this program go through an extensive year-long training program for each level.

CGS greatly increases the benefit your child gains through other religious education programs. The CGS Atrium is 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). Special circumcstances will be individually evaluated.

CGS@allsaints-stpeters.org to request a registration form.