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Growing high-commitment, sacramental Christians in community.

Growing high-commitment, sacramental Christians in community.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

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"An Experience of God, Not a Lesson about God"

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) Christian Formation Process is based on the premise that children innately have the desire to draw near to God but to nurture this relationship they need adult guidance as well as the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is not a traditional Sunday School curriculum, but instead is a particular way of journeying with children toward God.

CGS seeks to involve adults and children in a common religious experience through which all persons develop an authentic faith relationship with God. The Catechesis is grounded in scripture and liturgy, using the self-teaching principles of Maria Montessori. As one church member put it, "It is allowing the kids to have an experience of God, not a lesson about God."
alter The classroom is set up as an Atrium, a spiritual environment that is more like a place of worship or a retreat center than a traditional classroom. It is perceived as holy ground where Christ may be encountered in Word and Action, a place where children are invited to experience God’s love for them, a place for community and worship where the spiritual life of the child is nurtured, and a place for prayer and conversation with God.

The silence and reverence practiced within the Atrium allow for and help children to focus on and listen to God. The Atrium has been referred to as “a space where God and the child can come together and fall in love.”

In the Atrium, the adult helpers are not called teachers but catechists because the premise of CGS is that the Holy Spirit is the teacher and the catechist simply provides the child with the necessary tools and assistance.
Examples of materials found in the Atrium would include an altar and related furnishings, Baptismal font and other liturgical items, maps of Israel and Jerusalem, miniature environments representing the elements of the parables and historical events from Scripture.

The catechist’s role is to prepare the environment and to make presentations that evoke a response from the child rather than pour in information as in traditional instruction. The motto of CGS is "Help me fall in love with God by myself."

For more information on the Catechesis model for children's spiritual growth, visit the National Organization of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd website.
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