Young girl praying with her eyes closed

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori approach to faith formation with children (ages 3-12) that began in Rome over 50 years ago.

In 1954, Sofia Cavalletti, a Biblical scholar, and her co-worker, Gianna Gobbi, a trained Montessorian, began to develop this approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was a devout Catholic who believed faith formation has an essential role in the development of the child.

Schedule for 2019-2020

(Space is limited to 10 children per session)

CGS takes place September through April.  Classes are held every Sunday or Wednesday following the school calendar. Students must be the appropriate age by September 15, 2019 and must be potty-trained.

Level I (Preschool-Kindergarten/Ages 3-5)

Day Time
Sunday 9:30 – 10:30 am
Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45 pm

Level II (Grades 1-3)

Day Time
Sunday 9:30 – 10:30 am
Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45 pm
Wednesday 6:15 – 7:30 pm

Level III (Grades 4-6)

Day Time
Sunday 9:30 – 10:30 am
Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45 pm
Wednesday 6:15 – 7:30 pm

To register for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, visit 2019-20 Faith Formation Registration information:

19-20 Faith Formation Registration

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place is a specially prepared space called an Atrium.

  • The Atrium contains age appropriate materials that are simple and essential to the child’s development of a relationship with God.
  • The Atrium items are carefully selected or created out of wood, glass, metal and fabric.  Many of the materials will remind the child of what they see in church.
  • Children are taught a sense of reverence for the Atrium and for the items it contains.  Expected behavior in the Atrium is peaceful and respectful, similar to what is expected at Mass.
  • In our busy, noisy world, many children find refuge in the quieter atmosphere of the Atrium.

A visit to an atrium session would be a good way to understand the experience of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Each session consists of a presentation of new material, work time and prayer.

  • Presentations include biblical geography, liturgy, the Nativity narratives, parables and practical life lessons. Older children are also introduced to Old Testament work.
  • The presentations are selected to coincide with the Church year. After the presentation the children may choose to work with the materials during their work time. All materials remain in the Atrium the entire year so children may revisit past presentations during their work time. The children are given time for repetition and contemplation but may only choose to work with materials that have been presented to them.
  • Communal prayer takes place during each atrium session.  The children gather around the prayer table and are encouraged to be calm and silent.  This habit helps develop an atmosphere to listen and talk to God.

Since many of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd lessons are linked to the liturgy, children benefit greatly by also attending Mass regularly with their families.

Students in 2nd grade in the CGS program will need to attend 4-5 bible studies that take place outside of their regular class time for sacrament preparation for 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion.

Watch this video to learn more about CGS

CGS Parent Meeting

All new families to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program will need to attend a mandatory parent informational meeting. This parent meeting will be scheduled in August. Our hope is to help parents understand more fully the unique approach of the CGS formation model. At this time, we will explore with you the atrium and the Montessori approach used for the catechesis. You will also have an opportunity to see a presentation of one of the atrium works.

Volunteer Opportunities

Our Youth Faith Formation programs rely on parents, families and parishioners as volunteers to support our children as they grow in their faith.  Each of the volunteer roles are either 100% Tuition Waived or 50% Tuition Refunded.

YFF Volunteer Opportunities

For more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jill Klubek-Alonzo, Early Childhood Faith Formation Coordinator, at (515) 440-1030 or