Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) has been formed in the wisdom of the Montessori method and the lived tradition of the Catholic Church, paying attention both to “who is the child” and “Who is God”.
In serving the mystery of the great love of God and the child, CGS finds that both child and adult are called to ‘listen to God together’. The leaven in the dough of this work for the catechist (me) is the invitation from Jesus, “Whoever welcomes a little child such as this welcomes Me and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but Him who sent Me.” The catechist realizes that to serve God and the child is to be present to a great mystery of love and we see ourselves as ‘matchmakers’.
The catechist has three important jobs:
- To create the environment, which we call an atrium, that is conducive to listening to God together, to prayer, and for the children’s work
- To prepare the presentation, based on Scripture and Liturgy
- To assist the child in their work time
Children in PK3, PK4, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 come to the Atrium of Consolation for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) each week, half the class at a time, for up to an hour and a half. Most weeks the parents of these children receive a Parent Letter to give them a sense of what the presentation in the atrium was about, and how that might be connected with home and with being at church with the child.
Having CGS over these five years allows the child to build on the skills developed in the atrium and to grow in their relationship with God. The focus for Level I CGS, serving children ages 3 to 6, is on Christ Jesus the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd. Attention to the child’s religious potential in the youngest years, their potential to fall in love, as it were, with God who is Love, will be the foundation on which is built the capacity for moral response and ‘staying in love’ with God in the years to come.
Late in Kindergarten and early in Grade 1, the child enters the transition period from Level I to Level II. In Level II (ages 6-9) the metaphor of Jesus the True Vine (John 15) is key for the expanding relationship of the child with God and communion with others in the Church. The child begins to search for the face of God as judge, and the heart of God as mercy. The child is present in a new way to the mystery of time. The mystery of life and death is deep experience for children in both Level I and Level II CGS.
Preparation for participation in the Sacraments is imbedded in all of CGS from Level I all the way through Level II. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd impacts positively on the children’s Mass participation, especially with the parents’ desire to assist that participation and to grow in understanding it for the child and for him or herself as a parent.
PK3: Mrs. Teresa Miller
PK4: Ms. Arleen Daniels
Kindergarten: Mrs. teresa Miller
Grades 1 & 2: Mrs. Betsy Puntel
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Go to www.cgsusa.org for more reading about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.