Young preschool child with hands-on Montessori Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials

"Let the children come to me and do not prevent them,

for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

Luke 18:16


While adults might sit for hours reading about philosophy or theology, young children learn best by actively engaging their whole bodies and all their senses.


In the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, typically 10-20 children gather with two or three catechists in a room called the "atrium," which is reserved exclusively for this purpose. (In centuries past, the atrium was the space between the street and the sancturary of the basilica, where the faithful prepared to enter the Church and participate in the Liturgy.)


Catechesis normally begins with songs and hymns related to current catechetical themes. Then, usually some children will receive a presentation from a catechist, while the other children select materials to work with that they have previously been presented. Children will typically work with several materials during each visit to the atrium, and work with each material many times over the years. (Because the children conduct their own works, and learn directly from the Holy Spirit, the Catechesis is not a "class," and the catechists are not the "teachers.")


The atrium is filled with a rich variety of beautifully-crafted hands-on work materials related to Christ's life, His parables, the Liturgy and the Sacraments. It also includes many meditative handworks that help children quiet their bodies and minds. Visitors to an atrium are often astounded at how fully even the youngest children immerse themselves in this quiet, meditative, retreat-like environment.


For overviews of the presentations that children receive in Level 1 (ages 3-6), click here. For overviews of the presentations that children receive in Level 2 (ages 6-9), click hereFor a few examples of how the Catechesis affects the children, visit our Testimonials page. 


Click here to apply to participate in the Greater Sacramento Atrium in Elverta in 2024-25. 


Parents, parish staff and others say they didn't understand CGS until they saw it in person. To schedule a visit, click here to contact us.


Participants in the Greater Sacramento Atrium can click here for documents.