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Getting Started with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
What is needed to begin?
There are several key factors that help to bring the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to a parish:
The encouragement and support of the pastor is essential.
Parents and other adults in a parish community usually read and discuss together one of several fine books on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. With the encouragement of the parish staff, some may choose to take the formation course and become catechists; others may prepare a room to become the atrium; many adults use carpentry, painting, sewing, and sculpting skills to make materials.
Ideally the parish can provide a room dedicated solely to the atrium. Shared space can be a challenge, due to the many materials, but not impossible.
Someone from the parish must be willing to take the Level I formation course in order to get the atrium started. Two or more persons involved in the training together are even better. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is not a published program. Through the course, adults experience all the presentations that are given to three to six year old children over the three year atrium cycle. Led by a formation leader recognized by our association, course participants also discuss the theological and pedagogical principles that undergird the children’s presentations. They are guided in writing album pages of each of these presentations and are assisted in how to make many of the materials used for these presentations as well as in how to prepare the atrium.
This catechesis is feasible for any parish. Costs involve preparing the atrium, making materials, and sending catechists to formation courses. With a little ingenuity, the atrium and materials can be prepared very simply. Partial scholarships are usually available to members of the association through its CGS Fund for some courses.