Holy Redeemer Parish - The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Overview

Children's Religious Formation

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children that is based on the conviction that God and the Child are in relationship. Our role as adults is to protect and nurture this bond. In the Catechesis we present age- appropriate themes from the Bible and our liturgy with manipulative materials the children use to internalize and ponder the great mysteries of our faith.

The program was developed by Sofia Cavalletti, an Italian Hebrew scripture scholar, building on the work and methods of Maria Montessori. The Catechesis seeks to give children the guidance and vocabulary which enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it. With the Catechesis we help each child to continue to fall in love with God while building community among peers.

Developmentally Structured

Each level of the child's work explores the fundamental theme of covenant, God's call and our response, as reflected in the Bible and as lived in liturgy. At Level I the 3-6 year-olds have the capacity to receive and enjoy the most essential elements of our faith: the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, the announcement of God's love given for us in the person of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. At Level II the 6-9 year- olds focus on the image of the True Vine, deepening their relationship with God, family, friends and the larger community as they prepare for and celebrate communion, broadening their understanding of Mass.

The Atrium

Children need their own place to work with these essentials and many other key elements of our faith. This place is called an atrium. Montessori coined this term recalling the part of the Early Christian church building where catechumens would gather in preparation to join the church. Each atrium is specially designed with child-sized furniture including a prayer table for gathering, a model altar, as well as materials to deepen their familiarity with the parables and the Mass itself. After being presented with new material in a small group, children are free to choose work which particularly speaks to them to foster the growth of their own relationships with God.

Catechesis of The Good Shepherd Introduction Video

This YouTube video by the Cenacle Resources presents a brief overview of the Catechesis of The Good Shepherd program.

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Parents and Teachers Testimonials

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Level 1 Formation for 3-6 year olds, is currently offered by four catechists at the Holy Redeemer Parish.

Please read below a sample of testimonials from the guests and parents of the children participating in the program.

  • Dear Father Pierre... Thank you again for working towards bringing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to our parish. My husband and I were at cross-roads regarding schooling for our daughter who was three and a half at the time. We wanted her to attend the school where she was thriving but we were also struggling with the lack of adequate exposure to a meaningful catholic education at her young age. We really wanted this for our daughter and are so happy with this program. One of the most striking moments for us was when we went to a new church that Hannah was unfamiliar with after she had been attending the CGS program. She looked around, pointed to the Tabernacle and said "There is the Tabernacle. We must genuflect." How wonderful it is to witness the utmost reverence for the Holy in a child so young!
    Anita and Joe
  • To all interested in having their little ones encounter Christ in this special way... A new Catechesis of the Good Shepherd class has just begun at Holy Redeemer in south Kanata. My three and six-year-old children are in the program and absolutely love it. Their only complaint is that it is not every day. My nine-year-old went through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd years ago when we lived in the states and was so excited to hear that it came to Kanata, she asked to become a teacher assistant and is currently being trained. Having put several older children through Catholic schools, all while practicing our faith at home, I can say I have never seen the Holy Spirit move more dramatically with and through children than with those who participate in this program.
    Jean Hancock
  • Hi Anita and Catechists... I wanted to let you know that after two weeks with your program Agnes (almost 5) has already internalized and applied the CGS messages. Recently, while playing make believe, she said that we would get eternal life and not die if we listened to God and did what he wanted. She told her baby brother to "look to the cross" for how to know what was right, and then she told her princess toys that God would open their hearts. Thanks for offering such a wonderful program. You're already making an impact in her life!

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Links to external websites and youtube videos

There are many wonderful resources on the web for The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Please visit the external websites listed below to learn more.

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