Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)

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 three to twelve years of age. 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.

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Beginning in September 2020, the children enrolled in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd  (CGS) program began working at home, revised as CGS with the Domestic Church. The families are provided with works aligned with the Liturgical seasons and age appropriate for the child. They have constructed prayer spaces in their homes to pray and work together. Children are enjoying the time doing the work at home they usually did in the beautiful Atrium created in the Annex. Parents pick up the work at the beginning of the month from the catechists, contact free and have support from the catechists via phone and email. Thus far, they have a house plant to take care of at home, viewed a video created with Deacon Jorge to show the articles used at Mass, created prayer cards, beginning to prepare for the Advent season, worked with the geography of the steps of Jesus and learning the liturgical colors. Pictured below are two of the children working and absorbing. The quotes are from their moms. 

 

"He enjoys the work and loved watching the video."

"He enjoys the handmade blocks."        

 

            

 

 

Click on the Links below for general information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: 

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 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.  

Does CGS replace PSR or Religious Education in the Catholic School setting? 

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. 

How can I register my child for CGS at All Saints? 

You may contact Karen Mesler at 314-220-4390 or CGS@allsaints-stpeters.org to request a registration form.