Cenacle's Atrium developed from seeds planted by Wendy Marie Teichert, a catechist certified by the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. In the Fall of 2003, Ms. Teichert organized an outreach presentation in Sacramento. Several attendees of this outreach quickly realized that this is the best approach to forming young children in the faith, and began catechist training through her atrium in the Spring of 2004.
In the Fall of 2004, one of these newly-trained catechists began working with her own child in the smallest room in their home. In the Spring of 2005, a second family joined them. Over the following months, these families joined with two other newly-trained catechists and their children to celebrate liturgical feasts.
Enthusiasm for this profoundly different approach to children’s catechesis soon attracted families from various parishes. In the Fall of 2005, with the assistance of several other newly-trained catechists, the program took over the master bedroom suite and other space in the house, and began serving two groups of about ten children ages 3-6. In response to the rapidly-growing interest, Cenacle Resources Inc, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, assumed administration of the program. In the Fall of 2006, the program became the majority tenant in the home when Cenacle added concurrent sessions for children ages 6-9.
In 2007, after personal visits by Bishop Richard Garcia and other senior staff from the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis, the Diocese of Sacramento joined a growing number of other dioceses around the world in approving the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to prepare children for the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. Thus, in the Summer of 2008, Cenacle began offering an annual Sacramental Preparation program, including a four-day retreat at the St. Joseph Marello Youth Retreat Center in Loomis, which culminates in reception of these sacraments.
By the Fall of 2008, Cenacle added a third session each week for both the 3-6 and 6-9 age levels. In the Fall
of 2009, Cenacle also began offering a third level of Catechesis, for children ages 9-12. In 2011, Cenacle added a fourth session each week at every level. We now draw families
from almost 30 different parishes in five counties to our location in north Sacramento County, served by eighteen certified catechists, plus several
catechists in training and trained parent assistants.
Cenacle provides training and other assistance to parishes and schools around Northern California that want to implement the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Contact Us to learn how the Catechesis can help your children, your parish and you to grow closer to God.
“The kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart . . . When our hearts listen,
and we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd,
then God can begin to conform us to his likeness and will."
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Faith in the Public Square Conference, Toronto, Canada, Aug. 6, 2014