Youth Faith Formation

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an Episcopal based faith formation program; our curriculum is rooted in the Bible, Catechism of the Episcopal Church and our Mass. We utilize Montessori methods to nurture each child's relationship with God while educating them about the pillars of our Church.


Children gather in a room specially prepared for them, called an atrium, which contains simple yet beautiful materials that they use to draw near to God. Each week children participate in small group presentations with a trained catechist, freely work with materials and engage in prayer time. For the child, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshipping community.


Catechists are Safe Church trained and participate in a nationally recognized training program to familiarize themselves with the curriculum and learn more about Montessori principles.

In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd there are three levels of atrium, with different sets of materials and corresponding curriculum for each age group.

  • Level I atrium: for children ages 3 to 6 years old, or Preschool through Kindergarten.
  1. oThe Catechesis proclaims the message of Jesus to children by presenting His parables in a Montessori learning environment. Preschool children are attracted to the Good Shepherd’s abiding love for His sheep. They develop a special love for Jesus, the Good Shepherd, even before they realize that they are the sheep. The children hear the Bible story in the words of the catechist, using actual scripture verses, and discuss and reflect on what they heard. Materials that accompany the teachings are available for the children to re-enact the story.
  • Level II and III, also referred to as The True Vine:
  1. oLevel II: for children ages 6-9, builds on the covenantal love between God and His children, but adds the element of the merciful, forgiving love of Jesus and calls for a response from the children. Older children receive meditations to enhance their participation in the sacraments of Confession, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation.
  2. oLevel III: for children ages 9-12, focuses on the plan of God to join all people together. The child focuses on God’s generosity and the responsibilities thatHis gifts. They are posed the question, “What is my place in the Kingdom of God?”

In each atrium there are children from different age groups; as they grow, they begin to work with new materials in the atrium. Also, students may work individually, with a partner or in a small group. Often the older children serve as role models or mentors for the younger ones.

When is CGS offered?

  • Sunday mornings, 8:30 am – 10:30 am, we join the 10:00 am mass for Eucharist
  • Classes will begin in mid-September 2018.

How Can I Be involved?

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program involves so many people. We are always in need for people to:

  • Become a Catechist!
  • Become an assistant
  • Volunteer to set-up or clean the atrium rooms
  • Volunteer to help make materials
  • Volunteer to sew some materials
    • Click HERE
    • Registration forms are available at the front and back of the church
    • Visit the church office to pick up a registration form
    • Call the church office, (651) 388-0411, ask to have a registration form email to you
    • Print the registration form here.

How do I register?

Return completed forms to:

  1. o Give completed form to an usher
  2. oDrop completed form in basket attached to the church office door located in the parish hall
  3. oscan and email completed form to


History of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Sofia Cavalletti, with the help of Gianna Gobbi, began this work in 1954 in Rome. A known Hebrew scholar/theologian, Sofia discovered that the child received the Word of God from Holy Scripture with joy. She discovered that the children want only the essential things, the big truths, not watered down. Sofia discovered that the child already has an established relationship with God, and what is primary for the child is the relationship with God.

Another important aspect of CGS is the knowledge that the adult cannot replace the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching the child about God. The adult (the catechist) prepares the materials, studies the Scriptures, prays, and then makes a presentation to the children. The work is then put in the hands of the child, trusting that God’s own Holy Spirit is working within the child to nurture the love relationship between God and the child. Therefore, we say that the true teacher is the Holy Spirit, not the adult!

The prepared environment helps the child respond to the child’s vital religious needs, respecting the relationship that already exists between God and each child, meeting the child’s needs both developmentally and spiritually.

© 2021 Christ Episcopal Church, Red Wing MN
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