Catechesis of the Good Shepherd / Atrium
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a highly acclaimed approach to the religious formation of children, rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather in an “atrium,” a room specially prepared for them which contains simple yet beautiful materials that they use to ponder the story of Christ and the life of the Church. Elements of the Mass, a topographical map of the Land of Israel and a timeline for the History of the Kingdom of God are just a few of the experiences the children encounter in atriums that serve children aged 3 to 6 (Level I), 6 to 9 (Level II), and 9 to 12 (Level III). For more information, or to be mailed a registration form, contact the parish secretary.
To enroll in St. Mary's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd / Atrium Religious Education program, please contact the Parish Secretary at 203-562-6193 ext.4; or email Allyson Long, Atrium Coordinator, at email@example.com.
First Confession & First Holy Communion
Children in the Level II atrium may prepare to make their first Confession and first Holy Communion. However, children are to be enrolled in religious education classes the year prior to the year of sacramental reception as a norm (either in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program or the traditional religious education program). For more information, contact the parish secretary.
Catechists & Assistants
All atrium catechists are required to attend 100 hours of formation in each level before leading an atrium. The 100 hours provide the foundation for their continuing study of Scripture and the liturgy, learning how to observe the child, and personal prayer.
In addition to the catechist, each atrium also has one or more assistants, who play an invaluable role in enabling the atrium to function smoothly and in assuring that each child flourishes. No special training is required to become an atrium assistant; each catechist provides brief training to his or her assistant(s). Any parent, grandparent, high school student, or other parishioner who is interested in assisting in an atrium is invited to contact Allyson Long at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Our Catechists!
Over the course of the year, Patricia De Toro, St. Mary's parishioner and long-time friend of the atrium, will be presenting interviews she is conducting with all the catechists who work in the parish's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program.
This month, she presents her interview with Gretl Gallicchio, who works in both our Level II atria, and who herself has three children in the CGS program. To read the full interview, click here.
For more information about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, including books that can be excellent resources for anyone whose child is enrolled in an atrium, as well as listings of formation classes for those interested in becoming catechists, visit the national Catechesis of the Good Shepherd web site.