Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level I, Part A

What is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?

CGS is a Montessori-based Catholic faith formation program where children can grow in their relationship with God through a deep engagement in Scripture and liturgy.

God and the Child

CGS is based on the belief that God and the child are already in relationship. Our work as adults is to provide a place for the child and God to come together and grow.

The Atrium and Materials

The atrium is a specially prepared room where children can come to know Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The atrium is prepared with materials that children work with as a way of meditating upon the essentials of our faith found in Scripture and in liturgy. Examples of materials found in the atrium include small clay figures of Jesus and the disciples used to meditate on the Last Supper; detailed interactive maps of the Land of Israel and the City of Jerusalem to help situate Jesus as a real person in time; Jerusalem Mustard Seeds and beautiful pearls to help ponder the Parables of the Kingdom of God; and a small Baptismal font and Paschal candle used to explore the significance of Baptism.

Formation Leader

Mary Minor started her training in Level I in 2009 to understand what her children were receiving and continued to become certified in all three levels. She helped establish and coordinates Levels I, 2, and 3 CGS at The Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids, MN. This includes 5 atria, serving 400 children weekly. Mary has worked in Montessori environments for 12 years. A graduate of the Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, she is active in her parish as a Sacristan, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and the Pastoral Care Ministry.

Course Description

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based religious formation program for children beginning at the age of three.  It seeks to create and facilitate a sacred, “hands-on” space for children called an atrium, in which both the children and their catechists can hear, ponders, and celebrate the most essential mysteries of the Catholic faith as revealed in the Scriptures and the Liturgy.  Originally developed in Rome by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi fifty years ago, the Catechesis continues to spread world-wide.  This course will ground the participant in the theory and praxis of CGS while also concretely preparing him/her to develop and facilitate an atrium for 3-6 year old children.

Course Objectives

  • To explore with participants the general developmental characteristics and religious characteristics and religious characteristics of the 3-6 year old child.
  • To facilitate meditation on the biblical and liturgical themes of CGS.
  • To offer guidelines and assistance to catechists for setting up an atrium for 3-6 year olds, preparing an album, and making materials.
  • To deepen participants’ ability to observe and learn form children while also exploring avenues for deepening parental and congregational ability to observe and learn from children.

Dates, Time & Location

August 7, 8, 9 and August 14, 15, 16


The Way of the Shepherd Catholic Montessori School 
13200 Central Avenue NE
Blaine, MN  55434


  • Level I, Part A – Formation Course for catechists working with children ages 3-6

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