Saturday - 4:30 p.m.
Sunday - 9 & 11 a.m.
Monday - Saturday: 8 a.m.
Tuesday: 6 p.m.
Monday - Saturday: 7:15 - 7:50 a.m.
Tuesday: 5:30 - 5:50 p.m.
Saturday: 3 - 4:15 p.m.
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summer Hours: Fridays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
In the Atrium
The first session after Christmas the children celebrate Christmas in the Atrium. After a procession singing “The King of Glory” and each child carrying a beautiful item for the prayer table, we are ready to proclaim and celebrate Jesus’ arrival, the arrival of the Great Light Isaiah prophesized. Besides all the Advent wreath candles changed to white, each child lights a candle. Much singing and prayer is enjoyed by all! The older children review all the Infancy Narratives and we mediate on a common theme such as who was listening or where was the Holy Spirit. May the Light of the World shine in all our lives ever brightly this new year!
The Feast of the Epiphany
King Herod is worried as he gathers the chief priests and scribes to question them about the newborn king of the Jews. His advisors were able to read and understand the words of the prophet Micah about the town of Bethlehem. The Magi or wisemen, were not Jewish, they did not have the words of the prophets to help them find the birthplace of the Messiah. But they turned their hearts to God and looked to a star to show them the way. When they found the child, the Magi bowed down before him, attempting to become small in recognition of the one who was so great a king.
The Comet Star
is an important biblical image. In CGS the youngest children are introduced to the symbol of the star, often depicted with a “tail” and sometimes called a comet star or shooting star. This comet star is seen in their geography work as marking Bethlehem and of course from the Gospel of Matthew, wise men from the east travel to Israel, inspired by this star. The older children study the prophesy from Numbers: A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. -Numbers 24: 17b. Sofia Cavalletti (founder of CGS) writes on page 78 of The Good Shepherd and the Child: A Joyful Journey, “God places a “sign” (a star) even in nature so that those from far away, and not of Jesus’s country or religion, can also know of his coming. The Magi follow the star to honor him and give him gifts.” For the three to six-year-old child, the six to twelve- year-old child, and even the adult, the gifts that are given to this child, and that the Magi “adore” him by prostrating, make us wonder: who is this baby? Blessings in the new year! Mary Minor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori-based Catholic faith formation experience where children grow in their relationship with God through a deep engagement in Scripture and Liturgy.
CGS is based on the belief that God and the child are already in relationship. Our work as adults is to provide a place for the child to grow in that relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd. This place is called an atrium and is prepared with materials specifically designed for the children to work with to draw them deeper into faith. At Epiphany we offer CGS to children age 3 – to grade 3 as part of our Faith Formation programing on Wednesday evenings, Tuesdays, as well as children enrolled in Epiphany Preschool and Epiphany School. We are planning on starting Level 3 with grade 4 for Epiphany school and Faith Formation 2021 – 2022. Please continue reading for more information.
This year we are helping to prepare the children for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Ever since the children have been in the atrium, they have been preparing. Staring with the Good Shepherd, the Model Altar and the Gifts of Baptism, the children have been meditating on the gifts from God and how much He loves us. As they get older, we move into their response to these gifts.
Below is an overview of Sacrament Preparation in the atrium.
After working with the Gestures of the Mass, the children are presented a Synthesis of the Mass. A beautiful work putting the pieces of Mass together on a long table.
Practice receiving the Eucharist.
Reconciliation Retreat – The Child and parent experience prayer and reflection as they walk through preparation materials and receive the sacrament.
Eucharist Retreat – Similar format to Reconciliation retreat, with beautiful reflection and reviewing materials. First Holy Communion is received the next week.
First Communion Thanksgiving Retreat – an optional day long retreat giving thanks for the beautiful gifts received.
If you have heard of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, you have probably heard the terms “atrium” and “prepared environment”. Here are explanations:
Why is it called “Atrium” anyway? The word “atrium” means “portico, or porch entrance to a large house.” The Atrium was a term given to this space by
Maria Montessori (Acclaimed educator). It was chosen because in the ancient church, the atrium was a gathering space between the Church Proper and the street. It was the place where the catechumens, those preparing for initiation to the Church, would receive instruction. The Atrium has a similar purpose for our children, as it is a place to help them enter into full, conscious and active participation in the liturgical and communal life of the
Why is it called “Atrium” anyway? When children experience The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd the children enter a specially prepared environment called the ATRIUM. The Atrium is not a classroom, but can be likened to a retreat house for children. The word “atrium” actually means “portico, or porch entrance to a large house.” The Atrium was a term given to this space by Maria Montessori. It was chosen because in the ancient church, the atrium was a gathering space between the Church Proper and the street. It was the place where the catechumens, those preparing for initiation to the Church, would receive instruction. The Atrium has a similar purpose for our children, as it is a place to help them enter into full, conscious and active participation in the liturgical and communal life of the Church. We are busy making materials for our new Atriums or Atria. If you would like to help us by sewing, painting or woodworking contact Mary Minor at email@example.com
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather in an “atrium,” a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials that they use.
Click here to learn more about the CGS.
CGSUSA was formed in 1984 in North America with its main aim being that of “involving adults and children in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood (contemplation and enjoyment of God) are predominant.” Other aims include building community among catechists in supporting their work with children in aiding the growth of the spirit of this method of catechesis, establishing rapport with the wider ecclesial community, and encouraging, documenting, and spreading the research related to the religious life of the child through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Click here to visit the National Association Website