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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.

2019 – 2020 The Year in Review: Be Thou Our Vision
A Little History

CGS In the World



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There are many ways to help support the ongoing mission of The United States Association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. 
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Adult Courses

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

Find an Atrium

CGS in the Home
CGS in the Parish
CGS in the School

Discover CGS

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.

CGS in the World
CGS and Ecumenism

Roman Catholic Tradition

Episcopal Tradition

Orthodox Tradition

32 Points of Reflection
CBP en Espanol
Children with Disabilities
Justice and Solidarity

Learn with CGS

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.

Courses for Adults
Host a Course
Register a Course
Scholarships & Grants

Good Shepherd and the Child Podcast

The Journal
Document Library

Connect to CGSUSA

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.

Become a Member
Member Benefits
Individual Membership
Organization Membership
Regions & Regional Groups
CGSUSA Leadership: Staff & Board

40th Anniversary Celebration Event

CGSUSA Vendor Members - Digital Source List

Support CGSUSA

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.

Leadership: Staff and Board of Trustees
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Ways to Give
TLM Memorial Fund
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Sustainable Giving