Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


The philosophy of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is that even very young children have a religious life, that God is present to them in their deepest being, and they are capable of developing both a conscious and intimate relationship with God.  We provide guidance and vocabulary to enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and to express it.  Classes are structured to offer a time of prayer and song, a time for the “presentation” and a time for individual work by the child.  The work of the child is their prayer and is the most important part of the class.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the approach to the Christian formation of children the Cathedral employs on Sunday mornings. This program is used worldwide and based on the work of Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew scholar, and her co-worker, Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator.  Read more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Children are grouped by age or grade level and attend class in specially prepared rooms called “atria”. An atrium contains attractively displayed handmade materials that are designed to invite children to deepen their relationship with God at their own pace.  The program is biblically based and follows the rhythms of the church year. Based on the conviction that God and the child are in a relationship, the program focuses on the specific needs of the child.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is divided into three levels that correspond to the Montessori planes of development.  Children from ages three to six are in Level I.  Level II covers grades one through three, and fourth, fifth, and sixth graders are in Level III.  As the child matures, the essentials of our religious faith are presented in increasing detail and sophistication.  At each level, presentations focus on the life and teachings of Jesus and the liturgy of the church. For more information please contact Caroline Bauerschmidt.

A registration form, to be used for each child, may be completed here.

Level I (Children ages 3 to 6 years)

The theme for this level is the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and gives everything for them.  The child comes to discover who the Shepherd is and who the sheep are.  The enjoyment of the gift of God’s own self to the child is the foundation of further religious insight and moral development.  This level could be characterized as a “time of joy and wonder” in the lives of the children. Presentations offered over this three-year period can be divided into several large groupings. Click here for details of presentations.

Level II (Children in 1st through 3rd Grade)

The overall theme for these years is the image of Christ as the True Vine, focusing on both relationship and responsibility.  The History of the Kingdom of God is an important tool in introducing and illustrating God’s work and planning on behalf of humanity.  As the children begin to discover the vast cosmic history of God’s plan and salvation, they begin to realize that they have something to contribute to it.  Moral sensitivity/awareness begins here and grows as the work is presented. Click here for details of presentations.

Level III (Children in 4th through 6th Grade)

The theme for this level is the Plan of God as worked out in the Bible and human history.  The child begins to deal with the advance of the Kingdom and people’s opposition to it.  The paradigm of Creation-Redemption-Parousia guides a more thorough exploration of Scripture, particularly the Old Testament.  This level could be characterized as a time of “intellectual curiosity about the world and my place in it.” Click here for details of presentations.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Adult Teacher Training

Christ Church Cathedral is offering adult training in Level I,  Level II, and Level III of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. These formation courses will prepare participants to teach children in the level that chosen.

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Scripture, Saints, and Song

This gathering of children, age 3 through 3rd grade, meets with the Cathedral clergy on the Chancel steps of the Nave on a weekday afternoon. Stories from Scripture are told by the clergy inviting the interactive engagement of the children. Songs of the faith are taught and sung and a very short Scripture reading for the week is sent home with parents, grandparents, and their children. This 30-minute gathering is designed to foster biblical literacy for young and old alike, interaction among the clergy and children of the parish, and a sense of belonging to the church and Cathedral communities beyond Sunday morning. For more information, please contact Dean Kimbrough