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We are CGSUSA

Contemplation and enjoyment of God

We foster religious values of childhood.
Young girl focusing on a mustard seed in an atrium.

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The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Method

CGS is a common religious experience involving children and adults in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant. This experience is shared in a place particularly prepared for the religious life of children called the Atrium.

The CGS Approach

Beginning Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Relationships Bloom in Peaceful Spaces

An interpersonal relationship is always a mystery, all the more so when the relationship is between God and the child. We believe there is a deep bond between God and the child which produces in the child the desire to draw nearer to God. The adult, the catechist’s role is to prepare the environment, to offer selected presentations from scripture and liturgy. The catechist listens with the child and together they ask, “God, who are you? How do you love us?” The atrium (or prepared environment) is one of the important elements that helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish.

The Child

The role of the child in CGS

The Atrium

The prepared environment

The Adult

The role of the adult in CGS

The Child

God and the child have a unique relationship with one another particularly before the age of six. The growth of this relationship should be assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child. Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship. This spiritual growth is best served through tangible but indirect means.

“If we want to help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and courage…seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him.” – Sofia Cavalletti

The Atrium

The atrium (or prepared environment) is one of the important elements that helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish. After a theme has been presented, the child is free to choose an activity that will make possible the inner dialogue with the “Interior Teacher.” How does the atrium help to nourish this relationship? ~ The atrium can be compared to a retreat house facilitating recollection and silence. ~ The atrium is a place for religious life, for community and worship—not a classroom for instruction. ~ The atrium is a place of meaningful work through which the child can have a conversation with God.

The Adult

The catechist’s role is to prepare the environment and to give selected presentations from scripture and liturgy that “call forth” the child’s response rather than “pour in” information. The catechist listens with the child and together they ask, “God, who are you? How do you love us?” The adult reflects with the child on the questions generated by the presentations with the materials offered to the child to aid the child’s reflection. The catechists work together in a spirit of unity and harmony, in tune with God’s plan for communion in the history of salvation and in keeping with the themes of unity so strongly expressed in the parables of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1) and the True Vine. They generously offer their talents and experience for the good of all.

Events

CGSUSA

The National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, United States (CGSUSA) supports catechists, parents, and others in the Church and beyond, as they grow in their understanding of the religious potential of children. CGSUSA sustains the legacy of CGS by forming adults in this method and serving as the resource to the CGS community so that a prepared environment can be created that nurtures the religious life of the child.

Advocacy

CGSUSA is concerned with helping adults open their eyes to the hidden riches of the child so that adults will be drawn to learn from the child and to serve him/her.

Formation

Adults are given the opportunity to embrace a method of catechesis (or religious education) that will deepen one’s relationship with God.

Publications

Through its publications, CGSUSA gives the child a voice, passes along the wisdom of its founders, provides resources for catechists, and educates parents on the spiritual life of children.

Community

We come together in unity, as members of this Association, to support one another and share the joy of this work.

News

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CGS in US Catholic: For this educator, creativity is essential to a child’s faith

CGS in US Catholic For this educator, creativity is essential to a child’s faith Catechist Kay Perdue Meadows believes that healing division in the...
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The hidden meaning behind red vestments on Pentecost

The hidden meaning behind red vestments on Pentecost Pentecost is one of the few feasts of the liturgical year where red is worn by the priest and...
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St. Clare Parish (North Palm Beach, FL) expands catechesis program

St. Clare Parish expands catechesis program Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the innovative religious formation method for children as young as 3 years...
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Catholic schools gain interest in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation

Catholic schools gain interest in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sioux City, IA recently published an...
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CGS at the National Eucharistic Congress: The Congress Family Experience

The Congress Family Experience: Represent the Domestic Church! The Congress Family Experience will be a memorable blend of fun, faith, and family bonding...
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St. Gerard Majella children encounter God in peace and prayer through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

At St. Gerard Majella School in Kirkwood, children encounter God in peace and prayer through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori-inspired...
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Outside the Walls Podcast on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with Dr. Ann Garrido

Dr. Ann Garrido has been a catechist of the Good Shepherd since 1996. She is a member of the faculty at Aquinas Institute of Theology where she founded...
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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd mentioned on The Catechism in a Year Podcast

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd mentioned on The Catechism in a Year Podcast Fr. Mike Schmitz and Sr. Miriam James Heidland share in a recent podcast on...
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University of Mary Offers Catholic Montessori Master’s in Education

University of Mary Offers Catholic Montessori Master’s in Education In response to this growing interest both locally and nationally, the University of...
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CGSUSA Infant Toddler Atrium Work Receives an Extraordinary Gift!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 16,2023 Contact Mary Mirrione Telephone 480-228-5189 Email [email protected] Website www.cgsusa.org< CGSUSA Infant...

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Welcome to CGSUSA

We believe God and the child have a unique relationship with one another. Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship. The growth of this relationship is assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child.

The CGS Approach

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What is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was born from the joy of the children’s encounter with God. It has been observed that children of the same developmental stage, even those from widely varying cultural backgrounds, respond to elements of the Christian message in the same way.

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In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd adults are given the opportunity to embrace a method of catechesis (or religious education) that will deepen one’s relationship with God. Catechist formation in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is both instructive as well as experiential. It captivates both the head as well as the heart.

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We read in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs, two by two; the journey was not meant to be a solitary one. It is essential for us as catechists to support one another as we prepare materials, work in the atrium, and observe the child. We come together in unity, as members of CGSUSA, to share the joy of this work.

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Through their joy, their wonder and awe, their capacity for love and prayer, and their radical simplicity, children offer us adults a glimpse of what it means to fall in love with God. This has been the work of CGSUSA for over 30 years: to advocate for the child’s joy.

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