Catechesis of The Good Shepherd

Banner showcasing "catechesis of the good shepherd" program, featuring an illustration of a shepherd with sheep and text about learning parables and growing in faith.

Christ Church provides Level 1 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd each Sunday at 10:30 am (ages 3-6).

Please contact Fr. Hunter Van Wagenen for more information.

Bible teacher praying during catecheisis
Teacher sitting on the floor teaching young children

Why is the classroom called an atrium?

We distinguish the space as a prepared environment where we come together to pray, work, and contemplate the mystery of God. The arrangement provides space to learn from interaction more than by direct instruction from a teacher.

What is Catechesis?

Catechesis (cat-eh-key-sis) is from the Greek term meaning oral instruction, or the passing down of Biblical teaching, as was common in the early Church. It is synonymous with Biblical education.

What is the connection to the Good Shepherd?

The youngest children respond readily to the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in connection to the intimate love and care of Him who "calls his sheep by name" and who died and rose again out of love.

What do the kids do in the Atrium?

Each time in the Atrium, we begin together at the prayer table where the adults and children talk about the church season, pray, and sing. The adult will often introduce a new work and explain how the children may use it.

What is the "work"?

There are two categories of works: practical and liturgical. The practical works include sweeping, pouring, scooping, et al, all of which connect everyday activities with worship work (such as Altar Guild or clergy whose duties include pouring).

The liturgical works include Biblical formation and education about Christian worship, such as Jesus' life, death, and resurrection and many parables. These stories are interactive with wooden or clay figures to act them out, while realistic models and tactile learning aids help kids learn about the Bible, sacraments, church calendar, and parts of the liturgy.

How does this program form theology or spiritual education?

A sense of wonder and awe helps young children unlock the mystery of God's Kingdom through parables. Young children are, by nature, sensorial and connect easily to learning the liturgy through gestures and arranging realistic articles used in our worship service. It helps them enter into the liturgy and understand the Eucharist as a sacred act of love.

What about older children?

Older children will be placed into Level2 and 3 for (ages 7-9 and 10-12) as soon as our catechists complete the certified training, which we hope to achieve in 2022. In the meantime, we encourage parents to bring their children into the worship service with them. We do have child-friendly activity booklets available for them to use and those can be picked up at the main church entrance.

Children praying during catechesis
Teacher using manipulatives to teach young boy
Little girl playing with building blocks
little boy pouring into ceramic cup