Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)


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 2023-2024 at Ascension Campus will be on Sundays (9-10:15 am), Tuesdays (4:30-5:45 pm) or Wednesdays (9:30-10:45 am or 4:30-5:45 pm) – Sessions in 2023-2024 at St. Giles Campus will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays (4:15-5:30 pm) or Saturdays (10-11:15 am) – This level Atrium is located in the Parish Center – The 3-6-year-old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith – the announcement of God’s love especially experienced through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen. The heart of the catechesis for children under six revolves around the Parable of the Good Shepherd who loves the sheep and calls each one by name. The 3-6 year old child enters the mystery of the Eucharist by first learning the names of the articles used on the altar and the gestures of the mass. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His resurrection.
  • Level II – 6 to 9 years of age (1st to 3rd grades) – Sessions in 2023-2024 at Ascension Campus will be on Sundays (9-10:15 am), Tuesdays (4:30-5:45 pm) or Wednesdays (4:30-5:45 pm) – Sessions in 2023-2024 at St. Giles Campus will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays (4:15-5:30 pm or 6-7:15 pm) and Saturdays (10-11:15 am) – This level Atrium is located in the Parish Center.
  • Level III – 9 to 12 years of age (4th to 6th grades) – Sessions in 2023-2024 at Ascension Campus will be on Wednesdays (4:30-5:45 pm) – Sessions in 2023-2024 at St. Giles Campus will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays (4:15-5:30 pm or 6-7:15 pm) and Saturdays (10-11:15 am) – This level Atrium is located on the first floor of the Gleeson Building.

CGS CLASSES BEGIN – While CGS classes start the week of September 11, there is a required parent meeting after morning masses on Sunday, September 10 at 11:30 am. Come and see your child’s atrium (classroom), pick up important documents, and have any questions answered. The meeting is offered at each campus: Ascension campus (Parish Center) and St. Giles campus (McDonough Hall). Please attend the location where your child is registered so you can see the exact CGS environment where your children will be throughout the year. Parents may attend with or without their children.

Ascension – Level 1 & 2 – 2023-2024 CGS Sunday Calendar (PDF)

Ascension – Level 1 & 2 – 2023-2024 CGS Tuesday Calendar (PDF)

Ascension – Level 1 – 2023-2024 CGS Wednesday AM Calendar (PDF)

Ascension – Level 1 & 2 – 2023-2024 CGS Wednesday PM Calendar (PDF)

Ascension – Level 3 – 2023-2024 CGS Wednesday Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 1-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Tuesday 4:15 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 2-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Tuesday 6 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 1-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Wednesday 4:15 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 2-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Wednesday 6 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 1-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Thursday 4:15 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 2-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Thursday 6 PM Calendar (PDF)

St. Giles – Level 1-3 – 2023-2024 CGS Saturday 10 AM Calendar (PDF)

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.

For information about our Giles Campus CGS Program, please contact Peggy Plastina, at pplastina@spiritandlightcenter.org or 708-383-3430 x 408.

For information about our Ascension Campus CGS Program, please contact Laura Kelley at lkelley@spiritandlightcenter.org or 708-848-2703.

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 at St. Giles Campus, please contact Alex Ryan at aryan@spiritandlightcenter.org or 708-383-3430 x 403.

For Sacrament Formation information at Ascension Campus, please contact Terri Monaco at tmonaco@spiritandlightcenter.org or 708-848-2703.

CGS1

You are invited to become a catechist of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program – 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.

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


Visit the National Association of CGS website at www.cgsusa.org.