“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Returning to the Atrium, Restoring Community
Let us be advocates for the child’s religious life and the vital needs and capacities they have for a relationship with God as we help our communities discern what our options are for the new school year in the fall. As parishes and schools around the nation look to re-opening, many ask how we can preserve the basic principles of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd while at the same time following the guidelines for infection prevention. These two things may seem to be incompatible in many ways yet we believe that there are ways of opening the atria safely.
We have prepared the following document and reopening template to aid the local atria communities, parishes, and schools in discerning how best to do so.
Resources for CGSUSA Members
While we have many resources available for parents, families, and the general public, there are additional Covid-19 resources reserved for Individual and Organization members, for those who have been formed in the CGS method. Please make sure you are logged into the website with your email address and password before clicking the buttons below to access the reserved pages.
Refresh, Restore, Return
A 3-Part Summer Series on Considerations for Opening CGS Atria in light of COVID-19 Concerns
Refresh, Restore, Return Seminar 2: The Child, The Adult, The Environment
Refresh, Restore, Return Seminar 3: The Domestic Church
To expand and play videos in full screen mode, click four small arrows at bottom right of video screen the the playbar.
Deciding to Open in Light of Covid-19
Maintaining the Environment in Light of Covid-19
Written to be used as a two hour in-service that includes prayer, articles about the Role of the Adult, and discussion questions to help reflect upon what we have been called to do in this work. Through our reflection and discussion, we will look to our current moment in history, and how our sources and the 32 Characteristics speak about our work with the child. We will look at each of the four scenarios that were discussed at the first CGSUSA Summer Seminar, and ponder the role of the adult in each scenario.
For the families of the children you serve:
- Pray for each child by name. If you have multiple sessions that comprise many children, you may have to divide this out over several days. Let families know they are being prayed for by name at least once a week.
- As families acclimate to the prayer table, they can also ask their child if they have any favorite stories from the Bible. They may enjoy reading these together. See a list of recommendations in Resources below.
- Take a few minutes to call your parents, check-in with them, ask them how they are doing, can we pray for you, do you need help finding resources, etc.
- Practice your observation skills. Find a place outside where you can sit for 10-15 minutes and journal about what you notice. Make note of what gifts God gave you through the beauty of this day.
- Children love mail! Send a short, handwritten note or postcard to the children.
A word about offering Atrium Presentations electronically:
Please remember that giving children presentations online is not the same as when they are offered to children in person. These are moments that we cannot in any way “realize” electronically. In the atrium the presentation the catechist offers children is an announcement, a proclamation of the Christian message. While it is a brief moment: the rest of the atrium time allows children to absorb the message internally through the work of their hands. The material we use in a presentation is not a “didactic material” and therefore, it isn’t designed for the adult as a teacher’s aid. The children would see the material associated with the message but cannot immediately use it with their own hands which is key to allowing them to absorb the message it conveys. What we can do is find some time to contact them and remember with them (not remind them) that we are united in the love of the Good Shepherd. What we can do is support the Domestic Church in their shared prayer life at home which is at the heart of our mission and purpose.