Faith Formation Office Contacts:
Joel Musser 919-281-0720
Martha Ellis 919-281-0719
Mayra Ramirez 919-281-0718
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.
Children who prepared to receive their First Eucharist in May 2020 but have not received the Sacrament yet will receive First Eucharist in May 2021. We will contact you with more information as it becomes available in early 2021.
Registration has closed for children preparing for First Eucharist this year (2020-2021).
We hope to have a spring and summer CGS program for new children if and when we can do so safely. When that happens, we will open registration and make announcements in the church bulletin, on our websites, and on social media.
Families wishing to do faith formation at home should contact the faith formation office for materials and to register.
We have created a new website with CGS resources to help you and your children continue to grow closer to the Good Shepherd. You can access it here. We will continue to add lessons and works you can do at home and other resources week-by-week. And let us know if there's anything in particular you'd like us to make more available or help with!
There's also new podcast from CGSUSA, The Good Shepherd and the Child Podcast, available here or wherever you get your podcasts. Episodes 7-9 are especially good because they talk about how during this time without Mass and Atrium, we have a lot to learn from our children. The children understand better than most adults how to rest in the comfort of the Good Shepherd, and how to be nourished by the Spirit. Take a listen!
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 sidebar) to discuss these possibilities for your child.
The approach of CGS assumes that the children have all been baptized. If your child is aged 7 or younger, please contact the parish office to arrange for an infant baptism. Children aged 8 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.
Catechists & Volunteers
To Volunteer for other Faith Formation Ministries, click here.