CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children that is based on the conviction that God and the Child are in relationship. Our role as adults is to protect and nurture this bond. In the Catechesis we present age-appropriate themes from the Bible and our liturgy with manipulative materials the children use to internalize and ponder the great mysteries of our faith.
The Catechesis seeks to give children the guidance and vocabulary which enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it. With the Catechesis we help each child to continue to fall in love with God while building community among peers.
Each level of the child’s work explores the fundamental theme of covenant, God’s call and our response, as reflected in the Bible and as lived in liturgy. At Level I the 3-6 year-olds have the capacity to receive and enjoy the most essential elements of our faith: the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, the announcement of God’s love given for us in the person of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. At Level II the 6-9 year-olds focus on the image of the True Vine, deepening their relationship with God, family, friends and the larger community as they prepare for and celebrate communion, broadening their understanding of Mass.
Children need their own place to work with these essentials and many other key elements of our faith. This place is called an atrium. Montessori coined this term recalling the part of the Early Christian church building where catechumens would gather in preparation to join the church. Each atrium is specially designed with child-sized furniture including a prayer table for gathering, a model altar, as well as materials to deepen their familiarity with more parables and the Mass itself. After being presented with new material in a small group, children are free to choose work which particularly speaks to them to foster the growth of their own relationship.
For more information about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd please contact Ruth Ann McClure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endorsement of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd by Archbishop Prendergast
“How wonderful it is to witness the utmost reverence for the Holy in a child so young.”
“Katherine delights in what she learns and it is amazing to see her little faith bloom as part of the great care, water and sunshine that you pour over her. Thank you.”
“In this busy world where we often find it difficult to carve out a few hours of quiet reflective time, catechesis was an opportunity to slow down in a beautiful environment and learn about the teachings of God.”
"I very much enjoyed seeing the atmosphere you have worked so passionately to create. I think Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi are smiling down on your atrium with Jesus and Mary. You have such a gift, and even in my short time there, I have taken away so much" – Katherine L, fellow Catechist, Annunciation of the Lord Parish