Faith Formation Office:
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.
CGS and Children with Special Needs or Disabilities
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 sidebar) to discuss which option might be best for your child.
CGS and First Communion
Children must be baptized before receiving First Communion. Contact the parish office to arrange for an infant baptism if your child hasn't been baptized yet and is 7 or younger. Older unbaptized children must be enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults adapted for children (RCIA for Children).
CGS prepares children for First Communion and so much more!
In Level I (pre-K and Kindergarten), 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. The assemblies usually begin in January (about 1 per month), and First Communions are usually celebrated in May.
In Level III (Grades 3-6), 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.
"Level 0" is new toddler atrium we are starting. Please contact the faith formation office if you are interested in helping us expand our ministry to the youngest of children. To learn more, click here.
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.
This ministry also serves parents with children infants and toddlers in the atrium environment. Click here for more information.
Catechists & Volunteers
As St. Augustine said a long time ago, only God teaches. For this reason we call ourselves catechists, "echoing" the Good News of Jesus Christ in a prepared environment called the atrium, where children hear and respond to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Let us know if you are interested in guiding children on their journey of faith in the atrium as a catechist or in other ways, such as cultivating the environment by making or preparing materials.
Website for CGS at IC and at Home
We have created a website with CGS resources to help you and your children grow closer to the Good Shepherd as a family. There you will find information about life in the atrium, resources for your family, and up-to-date information about First Communions etc. this year. You can access it here.
To Volunteer for other Faith Formation Ministries, click here.