Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Church School Registration for Children
Sundays,  9:50 to 10:50 am.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ’18-’19 Online Registration

Leader with a group of childrenThe Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children, 3-12 years of age. It is based upon the belief that young children can and do experience God. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd originated in 1954 with the founding of the children’s centre or “atrium” in Rome, Italy. Inspired by Montessori principles of education, it now extends to over 32 countries and can be found in homes, parishes and school settings.The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd uses concrete materials to help the young child fall more deeply in love with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is the Risen Christ. Upper elementary aged children focus on scripture study and discussion as they continue their faith formation.

Child Tracing a PictureThrough the proclamation of the Gospel, exploration of parables, and celebrations of liturgical events, the spiritual life of the child is carefully nurtured.  All materials in the atrium lead to prayer.  Singing, prayer, and silence, which are integral to the atrium, arise naturally initiated by child or adult.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is unique in that it involvesChildren Working Together adults and children in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood are predominant.  The adult who works with the child is called the catechist, meaning one who holds out the faith, and the specially prepared environment is called the atrium, a place which links the church and the outside world.

Tom and child reading book on floor

Find more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd or contact Mary Nell Prichard, Director of Children’s Ministries.

Catechesis for children occurs on the second and third floors of Gray Hall. The atrium hour runs from 9:50 Am to 10:50 AM.  

Catechists at St. James’ Episcopal Church

Each atrium is led by a head catechist, an assistant catechist and several assistants. Our catechists have completed a 90 hour formation course on the level in which they are leading. Our catechists and their team members:

1. Acknowledge that opening the heart of a child to the unseen is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

2. Believe the encounter between God and each of God’s children is unique, and deeply personal, and observe this relationship with deep respect.

3. Trust the images of scripture to speak to all ages in all times.

4. Seek to avoid stamping their own personal interpretations upon scriptures.

5. Desire to support the God-given dynamic of growth and unfolding, seeking to present different aspects of the faith at the appropriate age and moment.

6. Understand their role to be that of opening the great storehouse of the church’s riches (sacred story, liturgy, and parable) to the children so they may have at their disposal the tools for reflection and response.

Level I:   Ages Three Through Five
Level II:  First Through Third Grade
Level III: Fourth And Fifth Grade, with an option for a 6th grade confirmation year

Lead Catechists for 2017-2018

Level I Room 203  Amanda Runnels
Level I Room 206   Mary Nell Prichard
Level II Room 211   Carolyn Ray
Level III Room 300  Beth Graham


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ’18-’19 Online Registration

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