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Monday - Saturday: 8 a.m.
Tuesday: 6 p.m.

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Monday - Saturday: 7:15 - 7:50 a.m.
Tuesday: 5:30 - 5:50 p.m.
Saturday: 3 - 4:15 p.m.

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Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Celebrating Christmas 2020


 

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.

  • In my own smallness, weakness, and vulnerability, how can I recognize the presence of Christ today?
  • Are there gifts that I am able to offer Jesus this week?
  • The Magi were instructed to go home by a different route. The Magi themselves were “different” after they had encountered Jesus. How has your own encounter with Jesus, in the Bible, in your daily prayer life, in your family, caused you to have a different or new frame of mind?

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, mminor@epiphanymn.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.



Sunday with Your children

Please click on the links below for explanations and ideas for sharing the Mass with your children.

The Liturgy of the Word

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Gestures

First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion in the Atrium

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.

  • We look at God’s overall Plan of Salvation and how we fit into it.
  • The children reflect on the Maxims – short scripture verses that are the teachings of Jesus showing us how those who love and listen to God are invited to live. All the maxims spring from the Great Law, the “Summary of the Law,” the law of love. We also review the Ten Commandants. For a list of Maxims, click here.
  • We explore Moral Parables – the Found Coin and The Found Sheep in Luke 15:1-10. The freely given gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness is an occasion of celebration and rejoicing.
  • We review and practice receiving Reconciliation.
  • The Loving Father or Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24. The Father and his prodigal son celebrate with a banquet!  What matters most is not the sin but that the son returned.
  • “Remain in me and you will bear much fruit.” The True Vine scripture in John 15 is explored in 2 separate presentations.  The first with emphasis on the relationship between the Vine grower, the Vine and the branches.  And the second using the imagery of the parable, sin is discussed as a “block” to the flow of sap with the vine. The Church provides a particular way to unblock the sap – Reconciliation. The joy of bearing fruit gives glory to the Vine grower.

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.

Retreat Experiences

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.

Information You'll Need to Know

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
Church.

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 mminor@epiphanymn.org

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.

Please find your welcome letter and schedule for:

Tuesday
Wednesday

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

Level 1, Part A Formation Course – Print form and return to Mary Minor


The images will give you a little glimpse into our atrium to see what the children are up to.

Would you like to stop by to observe a class? Contact us to set up a time.

Mary Minor

Coordinator of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 763.862.4348 or mminor@epiphanymn.org