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What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)?

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a religious experience involving children and adults in which the religious values of childhood, primarily contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant. This Montessori-based approach to religious formation is rooted in Sacred Scripture, liturgy, and respect for the child’s rich relationship with God. CGS believes that God and the child have a unique relationship with one another, particularly before the age of six and that growth of this relationship should be assisted by the adult but directed by the Spirit of God. We believe that children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship and that the child's spiritual growth is best served through tangible but indirect means.

What is the Atrium?

Central to the CGS method is the specially prepared environment filled with beautiful materials called an Atrium. The name come from the place where catechumens were prepared for joining the Church in the earliest days of Christian history. The Atrium is a place of quiet and meditative discovery where children listen to the good Shepherd's voice during catechetical presentations and can meditate on God's Word while working. Because children learn by using their hands, the personal work of the child with the materials allows them to enter more deeply into contemplation, nurturing their relationship with God. For the child, the Atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshiping community.

What does a 90-minute session look like?

CGS aims to nourish a relationship that already exists between God and the child wherein the Atrium is a place of prayer and can be compared to a retreat house facilitating recollection and silence. A typical day in the Atrium includes:

•  A Presentation on grace and courtesy, practical life, Scripture, or Liturgy.
•  A significant period of time for children to work with materials of their own choice.
•  A gathering time of worship at the prayer table

What if I want more information or to contribute to CGS?

For more information, opportunities for volunteering and needs, or if you would like to donate monetarily, please email Sister John Marion at

St. Joseph's 2023-2024 Sessions:
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Official CGS Website:

For even more information, visit the Official CGS Website.