CGS: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CGS CATECHISTS – Two upcoming opportunities for current religious education catechists, and for those interested in becoming a catechist. To register, follow the link below, OR email, OR call at 708-383-3430 ext 404.


  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd – Catechist Gathering
    Saturday, January 29 from 9 to 11 am in St. Giles McDonough Hall

As catechists, we often feel as though our efforts are never enough, that we often fall short of our hopes for our work with the children. For those of us considering becoming a catechist, our feelings of not “knowing enough” about our faith can hold us back from sharing our gifts. Join us on Saturday, January 29, at 9 am, as we remember “with God nothing will be impossible.” Betsy Peterson, a long-time catechist and formation leader of adult catechists in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, will share with us an uplifting message of encouragement for us all.

We will meditate on the words of Jesus, “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” and what this promise means to us and to our work as catechists. Then, to illustrate how the Spiral Method is used in our work, we’ll look at the Parable of the Precious Pearl; exploring the beauty, joy and cost of the Kingdom in Levels I, II, and III.

We hope you will join us for a time of refreshment and good fellowship.

  • Catechist Enrichment: Becoming our Best Selves
    Saturday, February 5 from 9 to 11 am in St. Giles McDonough Hall

As catechists, it is not only what we say to our students that matters but who we are in the classroom. Marci Madary, St. Giles Director of Lifelong Formation, and Tim Smyth, Ascension Coordinator of Traditional Religious Education, are teaming together to create a morning of self-reflection with tools for how to be our best selves in and out of the classroom. Marci will share the principles of Non-Violent Communication; Tim will talk about uncovering assumptions in light of Springtide Studies along with the ministry of presence. The morning will also include time for prayer and small group conversation. This catechist enrichment is an opportunity to consider who we are and how we want to grow.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children in PreK through 6th grade ( ages 3 to 12 years of age). It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather with catechists in an “atrium”, a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials they use to help them absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith.

The atrium is divided into three levels of formation under these general guidelines:

  • Level I – 3 to 6 years of age (PreK to K) – Sessions in 2021-2022 will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 pm – This level Atrium is located in the Parish Center.
  • Level II – 6 to 9 years of age (1st to 3rd grades) – Sessions in 2021-2022 will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 pm and from 6 to 7:30 pm – This level Atrium is located in the Parish Center.
  • Level III – 9 to 12 years of age (4th to 6th grades) – Sessions in 2021-2022 will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 pm and from 6 to 7:30 pm – This level Atrium is located on the first floor of the Gleeson Building.
  • See calendars on the sidebar of this page – CGS Information 2021-2022

Students also receive formation for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation at the appropriate age and readiness through the parish Sacrament Preparation program. The formation for all sacraments includes students and their parents in a multi-generational setting which fosters prayer, formation, and service throughout their preparation process. For Sacrament Formation information, please contact Alex Ryan at or 708-383-3430 x 403.

What is the atrium really like? Many of you have had the opportunity to be in the atrium with the children either as a catechist, assistant or visiting parent. For those who haven’t yet had this opportunity, take a few minutes to watch this video from The National Association of CGS. The voices of the current and former children of the atrium mirror many of the comments and reflections we catechists get to share on a weekly basis.

To learn more about our CGS Program, please contact Peggy Plastina, at or 708-383-3430 x 408.


You are invited to become a catechist of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. No experience is necessary except for an open heart and a willingness to share your faith with the future of our Church. At monthly meetings catechists receive the presentations that the children will receive the following month. There is ongoing support in a community of caring women and men with the same desire to walk with our children on their faith journey – and a perk of being a catechist is that if your child is in the program there will be a 50% reduction in their tuition – CLICK HERE for registration information.

To become part of this community of catechists, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Visit the National Association of CGS website at