Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious education and spiritual development of children that respects the pre-existent relationship between God and the child, and nurtures its continual maturation. By introducing the children first to the parable of the Good Shepherd, they come to understand that God is a person who provides safety, sustenance, and serenity to each and every one of His beloved sheep.
The meeting room for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is a specially prepared space called the atrium. The atrium is a beautiful environment with many biblical and liturgical activities or “works” placed in an orderly fashion. The catechist presents each work to the children in a timely sequenced manner that moves from a simple to a deeper level over time. The children are free to choose their works, which include activities such as carefully selected parables, infancy narratives, prophesies, prayers, gestures, biblical geography and liturgical lessons. The atrium draws out concentration, prayer, and learning in each child as he interacts with the beautifully designed “hands on” materials.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is based on the belief that children have a close and intimate relationship with Christ, especially in the sensitive younger years. In the atrium, the presentations and activities satisfy the child’s natural inclination to be spiritual, leading the child to fuller participation in the Divine Liturgy and a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd. The catechist’s role is to prepare the environment that nurtures this sensitive period of spiritual formation for the young child and to present materials that encourage the children to respond to God’s love. The catechist is the link to the prepared environment, as she reads the Holy Bible, asks contemplative questions, and shows the children how to use the materials.