Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

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Who: Children 3 years old* ( by August 14, 2016) – 6th grade, 12 years old

3 years* – 5K:  Level I

1st – 3rd grade: Level II

4th – 6th grade: Level III

*To begin Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, children must have turned three years old by August 14, 2016 and be potty-trained.

What: The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is our version of Sunday School.  The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation experience for children ages 3*-12 years old.  It is based on the belief that young children can and do experience God.  An atrium is an environment created to nurture children’s spirituality.  This approach to the religious formation of children is rooted in the Holy Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori.  Hands-on materials are used to help children and adults reflect together on the great mysteries of the Christian faith.

Children gather in an “atrium,” a room prepared especially for them, to encourage a quiet, prayerful experience (which is why the children remove their shoes before entering).  The primary aim of the CGS is to involve adults and children in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood are predominant.  We are in starting our fourteenth year of offering Catechesis of the Good Shepherd here at All Saints.

You may be wondering how the materials in the atrium help the religious life of children. If an adult hears a beautiful passage from the Bible, the adult might take a Bible, find the passage, and read it slowly again and again.  He or she may think deeply about the words and perhaps speak to God in a thankful or hopeful prayer.  A little child, too young to read, needs another way.  In an atrium, the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer from the liturgy by taking the material for that text and working with it – placing wood figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table, or preparing a small altar with the furnishings used for the Eucharist.  Older children often copy parables from the Bible, place written prayers in order from the Rite of Baptism, or label a long timeline showing the history of the kingdom of God.  The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a sensorially rich experience for children from the ages of 3* to 12 years that gives children the opportunity to grow in love and knowledge of God through the Christian tradition.

*To begin Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, children must have turned three years old by August 14, 2016, and be potty-trained.

Where: The atria (plural of atrium) are located “down the ramp” in Hulsey Hall.  A sign-in table for all levels will be at the hallway entrance and a Hall Parent should be available to answer any questions.

When: Starts at 8:30 AM or 10:00 AM on Sunday morning.  Starts at 6:00 PM on Wednesday evenings

We offer two atrium times for each age group on Sunday mornings.  In addition, we offer an atrium session for each age group on Wednesday nights during Oasis.

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Sundays During the School Year

Session I – 8:30 AM

Begins promptly at 8:30 AM: note this session begins fifteen minutes before the 8:45 AM service and concludes when all children (Levels I, II, and III) process into church prior to Holy Communion and join their parents during the church service.

Session II – 10:00 AM

Level I:  Begins promptly at 10:00 AM and concludes when all children process into church prior to Holy Communion to join their parents during the church service.

Levels II and III: 10:00 – 10:55 AM. Parents pick up children from atria at 10:55 AM.

Register for atrium here.

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Children’s Liturgy in the Sunshine Room

Who: Ages 3 years – 6 years

What: Children are invited to come to Room 109 (the Sunshine Room) for supervised play with children 3-6 years of age.  Trained nursery workers supervise the class.  This classroom is open primarily for children who are not old enough (didn’t turn three before August 14, 2016) to attend an atrium session (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) or arrived too late to attend an atrium session (after 8:45 AM or 10:15 AM).

Where: “Sunshine Room”

When: This Class is open for play on Sundays from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Children’s Liturgy of the word takes place at 11:00 am.

Contact: Nursery Director, Gretchen Lerner, Nursery Director at 769-3190, or gretchenlerner@me.com

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Wednesdays During the School Year

The atria are open from 6:00-7:30 PM each Wednesday when Oasis takes place.

Level I:  3 years – 5K

Levels II & III: 1st – 6th grade – in Level II atrium

(Children are welcome to join after dinner/choir)

Contact:  Kathleen Busbee, kbusbee@allsaintsbirmingham.org, (239)222-8549

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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Course for Adults

Interested in becoming a catechist (trained adult volunteer)?  All Saints’ is always looking for adults to serve as catechists in the atria. The CGS training course is designed to attune participants to the religious life of the child and to provide specific methods and materials to foster the child’s spiritual life.  The course not only gives participants a chance to explore the general philosophy and methodology of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd but also provides time of valuable scriptural reflection.

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If you would like to learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please contact Kathleen Busbee, kbusbee@allsaintsbirmingham.org, (239)222-8549, or  Jeannie Feldman, (jeanniefeldman@att.net, 205-516-2347) or visit the national CGUSA website at www.cgsusa.org.