The United States Association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGSUSA)
The forming of a national association for the United States began in the summer of 1983, in a series of meetings at a religious order house in Washington, D.C. Sofia Cavalletti had come from Rome to offer a course that included materials for children and discussions on the theme of Eucharist. During several evenings, Sofia and some of the course participants gathered and explored several questions: Do we need an association? If so, what would be its aims? What are the needs we perceive? How do we respond? Those who were present, from several places in North America, had encountered this catechesis in St. Paul, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C., or Rome, Italy. They already shared a vision: a world where the religious life of the child was honored. It was not surprising that the first stated aim of the association was: “To involve adults and children in a religious experience in which the religious values of the child are predominant, keeping in mind that the contemplative nature of the child indicates to the adult a certain way of drawing near to God.” Proceeding slowly, a street address was chosen and a newsletter was created. The following year a five-member board was elected and discussions were held to choose a name. We were incorporated in the State of Maryland on October 7, 1986 as The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Inc. Our first membership directory listed 54 members. Today we have three offices: the National Office in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Formation Office in Marietta, Georgia, and the Membership Office in Urbandale, Iowa. There are over 2,500 members; and 220 adult formation courses. There are over 150 formation leaders recognized by our association to offer these courses. We now have an elected seven-member board, and a staff of ten: a national director, a formation director, two administrative assistants, an office manager, and coordinators for Membership, Shepherd’s Closet, Spanish-language CGS, and our website. In the United States there are over 3,750 atria (that we’re aware of) in Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox settings, as well as in several other Christian churches.