Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children grounded in Sacred Scripture, Catholic Doctrine, Liturgy and Prayer. Themes are presented in such a way as to develop the religious potential present in every child: the capacity to love and be loved and be in a deep relationship with God.

CGS was developed by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Giobbi in Rome in 1954 and spread throughout the world. It is used in homes, parishes, and schools.

Currently at All Saints 2 Levels are Offered:

  • Level I Atrium is for 3 through 6 year-olds. It is characterized by the child’s virtues of joy and contemplation. They receive presentations about the person of Jesus, His kingdom, and their life with Him through liturgy with joy and then most often work alone and contemplate what they have heard, working with the various materials in the Atrium.
  • Level 2 Atrium is for 6 through 9 year-olds. The children at this stage are ready to respond to the relationship with God that they have received in the Level 1 Atrium in a more active way through living a moral life. The level 2 Atrium thus adds the element of morality to its considerations and materials. These older children are also developing the powers of imagination and abstraction, and are able to ponder cosmic and salvation history, and to especially enjoy thinking about their role in building the Kingdom of God.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place in a specially prepared space called an Atrium:

  • The Atrium contains age-appropriate materials that are simple and essential to the child’s development of a relationship with God.
  • The Atrium items are carefully selected or created out of wood, glass, metal and fabric. Many of the materials will remind the child of what they see in church.
  • Children are taught a sense of reverence for the Atrium and for the items it contains. The expected behavior in the Atrium is peaceful and respectful, similar to what is expected at Mass.
  • In our busy, noisy world, many children find refuge in the quieter atmosphere of the Atrium.
  • A visit to an atrium session would be a good way to understand the experience of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Each session consists of a presentation of new material, work time, and prayer:

  • Presentations include biblical geography, liturgy, the Nativity narratives, parables, and practical life lessons. Older children are also introduced to Old Testament work.
  • The presentations are selected to coincide with the Church year. After the presentation, the children may choose to work with the materials during their work time. All materials remain in the Atrium the entire year so children may revisit past presentations during their work time. The children are given time for repetition and contemplation but may only choose to work with materials that have been presented to them.
  • Communal prayer takes place during each atrium session. The children gather around the prayer table and are encouraged to be calm and silent. This habit helps develop an atmosphere to listen and talk to God.
  • Since many of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd lessons are linked to the liturgy, children benefit greatly by also attending Mass regularly with their families.

Register for the 23-24 School Year Here:

Registration and Schedule