CGS (Ages 3-12)

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CGS (Ages 3-12) 2017-06-15T11:12:08+00:00

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

“Though you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned,
you have revealed them to the childlike.”

                                          –Matthew 11:25

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a distinct approach to Catechesis, through which the youngest children develop deep, lifelong relationships with Christ and His Church.

Originating in Rome in the 1950s, the Catechesis uses a rich Montessori approach to engage children as young as 2 1/2 in age-appropriate, hands-on materials, based on Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy.

Because it engages children so profoundly, it has become the preferred approach to young children’s catechesis in a growing number of dioceses, parishes and schools around the U.S and the world. In recent years it has also begun to thrive here at St. Philip’s.

What is happening with CGS

Class Times

Sunday 9:30am to 10:45am or
Sunday, 11:15am to 12:45pm (in Spanish) or
Sunday 3:30pm to 4:45pm or
Wednesday 5:00pm to 6:15pm or

Register for Religious Education

In the words of Dr. Sofia Cavaletti who originated Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, “If we want to help the child draw nearer to God, we should with patience and courage seek to go closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child … will be our teacher if we know how to observe….”

Level I Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The theme for this level is the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and gives everything for them. The child is introduced to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and discovers who the sheep are. The enjoyment of the gift of God’s own self to the child is the foundation of further religious insight and moral development. This Level could be characterized as a “time of joy and wonder” in the lives of the children.

Presentations offered over this three year period can be divided into several large groupings. Below are listed the names of the presentations we have presented so far and their purpose.

The Prayer Table – each atrium has a prayer table that is the central “gathering place”. Its purpose is to offer a place to support the prayer of the child. Prayer table cloths reflect the colors of the church year. Children are encouraged to set the prayer table.

Prayer Cards – children are encouraged to select prayer cards for display on the prayer table which reflect their thoughts.<

23rd Psalm – this psalm is read and explored; the psalm is a form of prayer and talks about God’s protective and restoring love for us. The Good Shepherd (an image the children are familiar with) will take care of our needs.

Song and Art – all presentations are supported by art and music.

Practical Life Exercises – are activities done to establish, maintain and restore order to the environment and to oneself. One catechist describes the benefits of these exercises as follows: “the Holy lives in our lives and we can experience God in our most simple acts when we open our hearts and minds to Him. God is present in our ordinary lives and His spirit can permeate our daily practical work.”

Scripture Booklets – most presentations are accompanied by scripture booklets that contain the scripture passages on which the presentation is based. Often we will read these passages directly from the Bible.

Land of Israel – a globe, a puzzle map and a large topographical map are introduced to encourage the children to realize that Jesus was a real person who lived in a real place – Israel. The cities of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem are introduced as well as the regions and waters in Israel.

Infancy Narratives: all of these lessons are presented with figures, readings from the Bible and time to wonder at the events.
Annunciation (Luke 1:26 – 38)
Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39 – 49, 56)
Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke 2:1 – 20)
Adoration of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12)
Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21 – 33, 36 – 39)

Messianic Prophecies: Prophecies are presented to the children to increase their understanding of Jesus and to increase their understanding of the plan God has for us.

Prophecy of Names – (Isaiah 9:6) this prophecy introduces some of the many names for Jesus – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Prophecy of Light – (Isaiah 9:2) this prophecy proclaims that Jesus is the light of the world.

Prophecy of Mary, the Mother of Christ – (Isaiah 7:14) this prophecy proclaims that Jesus was born to a young woman and is God incarnate.

Prophecy of Bethlehem – (Micah 5:1) – this prophecy proclaims the birthplace of Jesus as Bethlehem.

Prophecy of the Star and Scepter – (Numbers 24:17) this prophecy proclaims that Jesus is a historical figure from the lineage of Jacob who will be an eternal light and ruler of the world.

Altar and Articles of the Eucharist – through the use of models the children learn the names and uses for the: altar table, fair linen, paten, chalice, cross, candles, lectern, pulpit, ambry, lectionary, altar book, gospel book, sanctuary lamp, corporal, purificator, lavabo bowl, lavabo towel, book stand, cruets, ciborium , credence table and sacristry cabinet.

Liturgical Colors – this lesson introduces the colors of the church year and the vestment – the chasuble.

Liturgical Calendar – through a puzzle of the liturgical calendar, the children learn that God’s time is different from our time and the church year revolves around the important events of Redemption. There is no beginning and no end to the church year. The children also learn the great feasts of the year – Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

Level II Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The overall theme for these years is image of Christ as the True Vine, focusing on both relationship and responsibility. The History of the Kingdom of God is an important tool in introducing and illustrating God’s work and planning on behalf of all humanity. As the children begin to discover the vast cosmic history of God’s plan of salvation, they begin to realize that they have something to contribute to it. Moral sensitivity/awareness begins here and grows as the work is presented. (Children generally receive First Reconciliation and First Communion in the 2nd year of Level 2)

Prayer Services – children continue to pray at the prayer table, and begin planning and leading prayer services for the entire class using familiar songs, readings and prayers.

Song and Art – music and art continue to support the curriculum at this level with more advanced songs, including “part” singing and rounds. At this age children learn about illuminated masterpieces and calligraphy. Frequently their art synthesizes work they have seen.

Books of the Bible – this lesson helps the child understand that the Bible is one book – made up of many books – which reveal the history of the Kingdom of God, it also begins to give the children a structure to locate various books in the Bible.

Land of Israel – a pin map is used to highlight additional cities and geographic features important in the Gospels. The children also use the Bible to locate biblical accounts of events which occurred in these cities or at these geographical locations.

Jerusalem – a large topographical model of the walled city of Jerusalem is used to tell the events of the last days of Jesus’ life. Jerusalem is a real place where Jesus visited, celebrated the Last Supper, was arrested, tried, condemned, crucified, died, was entombed and resurrected.

Infancy Narratives –  the lessons presented in Level I are represented in more depth. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23) is presented for the first time with figures, the Biblical narrative and time to wonder at the work of God as seen through the actions of Mary and Joseph. The infancy narratives are looked at thematically as the children begin to see how they work together to demonstrate the love of God for his people through the gift of Jesus, and the response, still continuing, of all to this gift.

History of the Kingdom of God – this lesson begins by introducing the children to the three great moments in sacred history – creation, redemption and Parousia (a time when God will be all in all, no more war or sickness, etc.). Once these terms are understood, the lesson progresses by unrolling a timeline of history and telling the story, rooted in the Bible, of creation over the expanse of time, focusing on the wonder of the preparation of our world for us, God’s creatures; the coming of Christ; where we are today; and, what we know about the time of Parousia.

Found Coin – (Luke 15:8-9) this parable is read and wondered about to deepen the child’s understanding of God’s love which is unconditional, active and unfailing even when we are separated from God. It also continues the theme that when we are in unity with God and the people of God it is a time for celebration.

Maxims and Summary of the Law – (Matthew 5:48, 5:42, John 13:24, Matthew 5:44, Luke 10:27, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 6:6, I Corinthians 6:19, Matthew 5:37, Matthew 18:21) this lesson introduces some of the passages from the Sermon on the Mount that give us the guidelines for forming our moral codes. It also highlights and explores the meaning of the most important law – “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and with all your mind and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Synthesis of the Prophecies – encourages the children to look again at the Level I prophecies as a whole to answer the question, “Who are you Lord?”

Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd – this lesson uses the materials from the Good Shepherd lesson and a new sheepfold (the church) to show how the love of the Good Shepherd can be found in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is present in the bread and the wine and that is God’s gift to us.

The Lord’s Prayer – the children are introduced to this familiar prayer that Jesus prayed and begin to meditate on it line by line.
Synthesis of the Eucharist – this lesson shows the structure and order of the Eucharist, including our response to each other and to God within the liturgy.

Liturgical Calendar – this lesson builds on the presentation in Level I and teaches the children how to find the date for Easter, a date set by the lunar calendar.

True Vine – (John 15: 1-11) presented in two different settings, the first meditation focuses on our union with Christ and one another and our call to remain in Him with God’s help; the second study focuses on our personal obstacles to this union and God’s desire to work with us to remove those obstacles.

 

Level III Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The theme for this level is the Plan of God as worked out in the Bible and human history. The child begins to deal with the growth of the Kingdom of God and people’s collaboration with or opposition to it. The paradigm of Creation-Redemption-Parousia guides a more thorough exploration of scripture, particularly the Old Testament. Many of the sacred history lessons presented parallel lessons they are learning in the schools. This level could be characterized as a time of “intellectual curiosity about the world and my place in it”.

Numerous presentations are offered over this three year period.  Level three is new this year at St. Philip, therefore we have started with some level two presentations in order to catch the children up.  Below are listed the names of the presentations we have given so far and their purpose.

The Prayer Table – each atrium has a prayer table that is the central “gathering place”. Its purpose is to offer a place to support the prayer of the child. Prayer table cloths reflect the colors of the church year. Children are encouraged to set the prayer table.

Prayer Cards – children are encouraged to select prayer cards for display on the prayer table which reflect their thoughts.

The Good Shepherd – (John 10:3b-5, 10b-11 and 14-16) this parable is read and a sheepfold, sheep and the figure of the Good Shepherd are used to announce the steadfast love of God. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are his beloved sheep.

Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd – this lesson uses the materials from the Good Shepherd lesson and a new sheepfold (the church) to show how the love of the Good Shepherd can be found in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is present in the bread and the wine and that is God’s gift to us.

Books of the Bible – this lesson helps the child understand that the Bible is one book – made up of many books – which reveal the history of the Kingdom of God, it also begins to give the children a structure to locate various books in the Bible.

Jerusalem – a large topographical model of the walled city of Jerusalem is used to tell the events of the last days of Jesus’ life. Jerusalem is a real place where Jesus visited, celebrated the Last Supper, was arrested, tried, condemned, crucified, died, was entombed and resurrected.

True Vine – (John 15: 1-11) presented in two different settings, the first meditation focuses on our union with Christ and one another and our call to remain in Him with God’s help; the second study focuses on our personal obstacles to this union and God’s desire to work with us to remove those obstacles.

Communal Prayer Services – children plan and carry out prayer services, choosing music, readings and prayers.

Spiritual Journals – the children each have a spiritual journal that they can add to each week. It contains various “prompts” but this is the work of the child and anything can be written in the Journal.

Prayer – various forms of prayer are explored – the rosary and the many types and kinds of prayers found in the liturgy.

Bible work – the children are using their own bibles to read and highlight scripture

Structure of the Mass – in this lesson we examine the Mass and announce that there is a structure to the Mass and that the Mass contains a series of prayers, some of which change and some which do not.

Color-Based Material – this lesson continues the study of the structure of the Mass including the prayers of the Liturgy of the Word, the preparation of the Gifts, the Eucharistic prayer and Communion. It also identifies the gestures of the Eucharist associated with each prayer.

Messianic Content – (Isaiah, 9:2, 9:6, 11:1-4, 11:6-9, 35:4-6,53:4-7, 60:1-3, 60:4-6, 60:19, 60:21; Numbers 24:17; Micah 5:2; Ezekiel 34:11-16,34:23-31; Jeremiah 31:31-34) in this lesson, we broaden the messianic prophecies from the life and work of Jesus to their place in Israel’s history and to the time of Parousia. We explore them for signs of hope, comfort and encouragement.

Infancy Narratives –  the lessons presented in Level II are represented in more depth. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23) is presented for the first time with figures, the Biblical narrative and time to wonder at the work of God as seen through the actions of Mary and Joseph. The infancy narratives are looked at thematically as the children begin to see how they work together to demonstrate the love of God for his people through the gift of Jesus, and the response, still continuing, of all to this gift.

History of the Kingdom of God – this lesson begins by introducing the children to the three great moments in sacred history – creation, redemption and Parousia (a time when God will be all in all, no more war or sickness, etc.).

Once these terms are understood, the lesson progresses by unrolling a timeline of history and telling the story, rooted in the Bible, of creation over the expanse of time, focusing on the wonder of the preparation of our world for us, God’s creatures; the coming of Christ; where we are today; and, what we know about the time of Parousia.