The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious formation of children for ages 3-12. It is rooted in scripture, liturgy, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. God is already present to children in their deepest being. With guidance and vocabulary, children become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it.
Adults prepare an environment called an “atrium” which contains simple yet beautiful materials for the child to use. The Holy Spirit is the true teacher. The catechist assists in the child’s own discovery. Catechists participate in Formation classes, create materials for presentations, and humbly listen to God with children. They observe the responses of the children and incorporate their learnings into shared questions and meditation with the children.
Level I (3 to 6 years): The children discover the Good Shepherd who loves us and calls us by name, Jesus who lived in Israel and is the Light of the World, the mystery of the Kingdom of God as told by Jesus in parables, and the symbols, gestures, and language of the Eucharist and Baptism.
Level II (6 to 9 years): The children come to know that God is working from Creation, through redemption, toward Parousia when God’s love will be all in all. God calls us to participate in this plan. Jesus shows us the way to live together in peace and joy as we abide in him through the Eucharist and Baptism.
Level III (9 to 12): years The children explore more deeply the covenants with God revealed in Hebrew Scripture. Looking at more detailed history of humankind, they discover how God draws all of creation toward the Parousia. They see in a more challenging way how God calls us to use our gifts to write the blank page toward the Parousia, and to be held in covenant with God and each other through the Eucharist and Baptism.
CGS moves from a deep grounding in Christ to an expansive Ecumenical hope for the world. The adults who participate grow as rapidly as the children. CGS is used by Anglican, Roman Catholic and other Christian churches in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Germany, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and the USA.