Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Faith Formation program for children ages 3-12 that is grounded in Scripture, Tradition, and Liturgy. CGS uses Maria Montessori's educational principles to provide a prayerful, age-appropriate environment, in which the child can explore the Gospel through hands-on materials representing essential proclamations of the Christian message. Catechists prepare the space called the Atrium, and they assist the child as she works to discover and respond with joy to the growing knowledge of their relationship with God, first proclaimed to them through Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Registration for 2017-2018 CGS is now open
CGS sessions are each week from September to May, and last an hour and a half. Sessions are on Tuesday-Friday afternoons and evenings and on Saturday mornings. There is also a Friday morning parent and child session. This bilingual program is meant for children ages 0-6 and their guardians.
To register your child, your family must be registered at the parish. This can be done by visiting the parish office. You may also register your child for CGS at the parish office.
Children with special needs
Maria Montessori's work began with children who had special needs. As a Montessori-based program, CGS can often accommodate all kinds of children. Some children do better in smaller groups or in a modified setting, depending on their needs and abilities. Please contact the Faith Formation Office (see side bar) to discuss these possibilities for your child.
The approach of CGS assumes that the children have all been baptized. If your child is aged 8 or younger, please contact the parish office to arrange for an infant baptism. Children aged 9 or older seeking baptism must be enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults adapted for children (RCIA for Children) in addition to CGS, a 2-year process culminating in the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil
First Communion and First Reconciliation
In Level I (ages 0-6), children prepare indirectly for First Communion. They learn the nomenclature and gestures of prayer, scripture, and liturgy, especially Baptism and Eucharist. By focusing on the life and teachings of Jesus, the children recognize that it is Christ the Good Shepherd who calls them by name to his presence at the Eucharistic table.
In Level II (Grades 1-3), children prepare directly for the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion. The Diocese of Raleigh requires two years of direct preparation for First Communion, which is normally done in first and second grade. In Level II, the children build upon what they did in Level I, going deeper into the parables and maxims of Jesus, the Holy Bible, and the liturgy. During the second year of sacramental preparation, the children and their parents special assemblies about Reconciliation and Eucharist. First Reconciliation typically happens in January, and First Communion masses usually take place during the first two weekends of May.
In Level III (Grades 3-5), children further their understanding of the sacraments and practices of the Church and by studying the Old Testament of the Bible and the Jewish origins of Christianity. They continue to study the life and teachings of Christ the Good Shepherd, and this now takes on a cosmic dimension, as the children see the history of salvation unfolding over the course of time.
Parents are their children's first and primary catechist. If for some reason our CGS program doesn't work for your family, there are options available for doing catechesis at home.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHOLIC CHURCH | 810 W CHAPEL HILL STREET, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA 27701 | 919-682-3449