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What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)?

    Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a children’s formation program designed to foster a deep and personal  relationship with Jesus. Created by Maria Montessori’s close friend and a Catholic theologian, Sofia Cavaletti, CGS uses Montessori methods to introduce children to the faith in developmental appropriate ways. 
     CGS happens in a special dedicated space called the atrium. The atrium is filled with beautiful materials that introduce children to the life of the church through Scripture, parts of the Mass, liturgical calendar, sacraments and parables in a hands-on way. It is a quiet place where the children learn to slow down and listen for the voice of God. 
     One of the favorite “works” or materials for the children to do is the Parable of the Good Shepherd. The children have the Scripture proclaimed to them and then get to work with a model of a sheepfold, shepherd and sheep. After hearing the parable and moving the figurines along with the story they are asked thought provoking questions, “How do you think the sheep felt when he was found? How do you think the shepherd felt when he found the sheep? Who do you think this loving shepherd could be who loves his sheep so much? Who do you think the sheep could be?” A couple of weeks ago in our atrium, I asked the students, “How do you think the Shepherd feels about His sheep?” One boy with bright eyes said, “Lucky!”
     The very foundation of this program (and our own faith) is the shepherd's deep love for us, his sheep. Instead of telling the children we are loved by Jesus, they get to discover it for themselves through these hands-on parables and times of meditation in the atrium. 
     It is difficult to begin to summarize what CGS is and everything that takes place in the atrium. We hope to continue to share more that is happening at St. Joseph’s. 
     St. Joseph's is currently providing CGS to the second graders in the school and in CCD. We hope to expand to more grades, specifically Kindergarten through 2nd grade. We could use donations and volunteers to help make things. We are also hoping to add more trained catechists. If you are interested in any of these ways to help please contact Lisa Bales at or Megan Pytleski at  


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