With great joy, we are blessed to announce the opening of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Regina Caeli Atrium. A dedicated team of staff and volunteers has prepared the Regina Caeli Atrium at Sacred Heart Academy for children who are not currently enrolled in the school. This beautiful and unique form of catechetical instruction is already integrated into our Montessori and 1st grade classrooms. Children ages 3 to 6 who are not currently enrolled at the academy are invited to participate in this program, which seeks to help children grow in knowledge of God and relationship with Him.
About Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based form of Catholic religious education where catechists and children joyfully encounter and listen to God together. Everything in the Regina Caeli Atrium—the prepared space where we meet—is carefully designed for children.
Through the use of scripture and handmade materials which we call “works,” children are invited to enter into deeper relationship with God—beginning with the nurturing image of Jesus the Good Shepherd who loves and protects His sheep.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd began in Rome in 1954 when Sofia Cavelletti, a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, reluctantly agreed to give religious instruction to a child. Sofia felt called to this endeavor and began to collaborate with Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori directress on a program that would share the truths of the faith from a foundation in Roman Catholic liturgy and doctrine.
Together, they selected scripture and created materials—called “works”—to guide children to encounter God with joy and wonder. Through a careful process, they observed which works were successful in this goal; those that were not ended up being discarded while those they witnessed to be beneficial and essential are still with us today.
With this combination of scripture and Montessori philosophy, the Catechesis invites children into relationship with God while developing a deep understanding of Catholic faith. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is found in 37 countries around the world.
Works of the Regina Caeli Atrium
Practical Life – Through simple acts such as pouring beans and polishing a tray, the child finds concentration and enters into the meditative life of the atrium.
The Good Shepherd – From the Parable of the Good Shepherd to Him leading us to the sheepfold of the Church, children realize God’s great love and sacrifice for His sheep.
Kingdom Parables – Children are drawn to the Kingdom of God’s mystery as the tiny and hidden become great such as in the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Pearl of Great Price.
The Altar and Liturgy – The child becomes more aware of the liturgy while learning the names for the articles of the Mass along with how to prepare the altar and gestures that are used in the Mass.
Geography – Children find where significant events took place in Jesus’ life along with learning surrounding regions.
Prayer Table – The child listens and responds to God and develops reverence for the Holy Bible.
Infancy Narratives – Children are introduced to Jesus’ early life from The Annunciation to The Presentation in the Temple.
Paschal Mysteries – Children discover elements of the Paschal Mystery such as The Empty Tomb and The Last Supper.
Baptism – The child wonders at the sacrament of baptism in which we receive Christ’s inextinguishable light.
Art – Children contemplate religious art and express themselves through drawing and creating prayer cards.
We are offering Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on Tuesdays, September through May, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space is limited for this program.
The cost of the program for the year is $325 per child. Each family is also responsible for a $25 application fee. All children must be fully potty trained in order to participate.
In order to properly introduce children to the atrium, meetings of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will gradually increase in duration as the semester progresses according to the following schedule:
Week 1 – 45 minutes
Week 2 – 45 minute
Week 3 – 60 minutes
Week 4 – 75 minutes
Weeks 5 and following – 90 minutes