Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

"If we want to help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him."

Sofia Cavaletti

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the result of a long period of careful observation of children by Sofia Cavaletti and her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi, in Rome.

It began quite by accident, without warning or planning, the way God so often comes into our lives. In 1954 Sofia was a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, comfortable in her role in the academic world, when a mother asked her to give some religious instruction to her son. At first Sofia refused, saying she knew nothing about children. The mother persisted and eventually, Sofia consented.

That experience with a 7 year-old changed her whole life. She saw in that child and in numerous other children since, a way of being in the presence of God that is both unique to the child and a gift to the adult who stops long enough to notice. Perhaps it is because Sofia went before the child with no preconceived ideas of what should happen that the child responded with such joy. Certainly her background in Scripture made it possible for her to talk about God in a way that opened and enthused the child.

From that day to the present time Sofia and Gianna remind us constantly to look to the child for that sign of a deeply religious life – joy – and to always ask the question: “What face of God is the child telling us he or she needs to see?”

What is an Atrium?

An Atrium is the room in which the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place.

“The atrium is the meeting ground of two mysteries: the mystery of God and the mystery of the child.”

Level I (Ages 3years old-K)

Level I encourages children to develop their innate potential for a faith-filled relationship with God. They encounter Jesus, the Good Shepherd who loves them, cares for them, and knows them by name. Catechesis includes Scripture, Mass gestures, prayers, artwork, and music. Level One is for children three years old through kindergarten.

Level II (Grades 1-3)

The goals for children in Level II is to help deepen the child’s relationship with Christ and the Catholic faith. Through the moral parables and teachings of Jesus, along with a more intense exploration of the Mass the child grows in a desire to remain close to Christ. It is during this level that the children discern if they are being called to prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist.

Level III (Grades 4 & 5)

In Level III the 9-12 year-old listens to the Old Testament and explores the history of God’s plan for salvation, linking all people together in communion. They begin to ask, “What is the Kingdom of God, and what is my place in it?” It is a primary question which lays the foundation for discerning our individual roles in His Kingdom.

Registration is now open for the 2019-2020 RE year

This includes Sacrament Preparation for Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Holy Eucharist.



Mindy Longwell

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

  • 480.905.0221 x208

Brittany Rodriguez

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

  • 480.905.0221 X206


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