Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori-based method of Catholic formation in which the religious potential of children is recognized, respected, and cultivated. Together, catechists and children develop and deepen a life hidden with God in Christ through work in a prepared environment called an atrium, “a place of prayer in which work and study spontaneously become meditation, contemplation, and prayer” (“Characteristics of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”, International Consiglio, 1996). Trained catechists prepare the atrium with simple and beautiful materials constructed to draw children to the deepest and most essential mysteries of our faith, as manifested in scripture and liturgy. St. Anthony’s offers three levels of CGS, each level specially tailored to children’s developmental stages.
Level 1 children have a natural need and capacity for relationship: to know and to love, and to be known and to be loved. This desire is most perfectly fulfilled by Jesus, our Good Shepherd, a centerpiece of the Level 1 atrium. Children’s work focuses on prophecies and infancy narratives, parables of the Kingdom of God, the geography of Israel, articles of the Mass and altar, liturgical colors, baptism, and gestures of the Mass. Over time, the children are led to the essential recognition of the presence of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in the Eucharist, God’s greatest gift.
Level 2 children move to a new developmental plane as they acquire a capacity for and interest in time and history, as well as a growing awareness of morality. Level 1 themes spiral into the Level 2, capturing these new capabilities of the older children. Infancy narratives and Kingdom of God parables are expanded and synthesized, prayers are added to the Eucharistic gestures, moral parables, such as the Good Samaritan, are considered, the geography of Israel is more detailed, the books of the Bible are studied, scripture study helps prepare children to receive the sacraments, and the structure of the Mass is introduced. The overarching theme of Level 2 is the History of the Kingdom of God, explored in timeline works that address the essential questions of God’s plan for His Kingdom and our roles in it.
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Level 3 children continue to develop morally, intellectually, and socially as they consider their personal missions in life and how they contribute to God’s plan for His Kingdom. The central work of the Level 3 atrium is the Plan of God, consisting of several timelines and materials exploring the covenantal relationship between God and His people. Additional works include typology studies of creation, the fall, Abraham, the Exodus, and the prophets, detailed Mass studies, sacraments, expanded moral parables, the liturgical calendar and the calculation of the date of Easter, the miracles of Jesus, scripture study of Parousia, and expanded prayer celebrations.
St Anthony’s confirmation class will help prepare students to receive the Holy Spirit and be given the strength to live as full members of the Church – soldiers for Christ, who are ready to proclaim and defend the Church’s teachings by their words and example. It is our aim to help young Catholics grow in knowledge and love for the Church as Christ’s Body and respond to the teaching of the Magisterium as the sure voice of Jesus, thus strengthening them as they face of the confusion and secularism of modern-day society. In particular, this confirmation course will teach students about the role and history of the Church: its founding by Christ, its birth in the Holy Spirit, the marks of the one, true Church, the saints and Doctors of the Church, the role of the religious and laity, the structure of the Church as instituted by Christ, the role of the Magisterium and the clergy, and the universal call to holiness.
The St Anthony Youth Group has one goal: to help our students encounter Christ and grow closer to Him. Our world is full of distractions and detours that can easily set a young person on the wrong path, especially during these adolescent years. Nothing can better help a teen navigate life than a personal relationship with Christ through prayer, scripture, and the Sacraments. It is our faith, our relationship with Him, that gives us our identity and our direction in life. The Church recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children in matters of faith and morals. Our program will not only support this, but it will also help your children cultivate a faith community among their peers. These friendships are so important in remaining steadfast in the faith. We will work towards our goal of helping students encounter Christ through large group nights, small group nights, and monthly opportunities to serve our community and our Church alongside one another. We strongly encourage 9th grade students in Confirmation Preparation to also register and attend Youth Group events.
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