Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)


To foster a community where children and adults live together a religious experience which facilitates participation in the wider community of the family, the church and other social spheres.

News & Notes


Children and catechists meet weekly to meditate with themes from Scripture and the Liturgy and to pray through work with specially designed materials in a peaceful environment. The larger community supports these activities through ongoing adult formation, prayer, and maintenance of the facility and materials. Occasional Masses and other liturgies enrich the shared experience of those in the program.

Catechist Formation

"One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is its call to us as adults, whether religious or layperson, single or married, with or without children, to look at and listen to the children and allow them to lead us to God... The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been described as the meeting of two mysteries: the mystery of God and the mystery of the child. When we use such a word as 'mystery' it indicates our attitude of respect and wonder, our recognition that we are standing before something which is at once knowable and yet beyond our complete comprehension. If we see young children as mystery in somewhat the same way as we see God as mystery, then we will want to know more about them. We will want to go on learning more about them, and, yes, in addition to responding to Jesus' exhortation to become like them, some of us will feel called to serve them."

- Rebekah Rojewicz, “Forward: 'An American Experience of the Catechesis'” in Religious Potential of the Child: Experiencing Scripture and Liturgy with Young Children by Sofia Cavalletti

Over the past year, 500 children have come weekly to Nazareth, home to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Francis, to develop their relationship with Jesus and to nurture their sense of wonder.

Catechists guide the children’s time in the atria at Nazareth, with an understanding that Jesus is the only teacher.

Beginning in Spring/Summer 2020, we will be hosting two new formation opportunities! Level I formation, as well as a Level II formation will be offered for those interested.

This formation course is open to any adult or teenager and takes place in the form of a retreat. Participants experience the meditations as children and learn the rich theological underpinnings of the presentations. They also gain an appreciation for the child as theologian. It promises to transform and deepen the adult’s relationship with Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

If you would like to register for formation, links are provided below.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact our CGS home mother, Sarah Carter, below.

Level I Formation

Formation Leader: Mandie DeVries

Mandie DeVries began her journey with CGS in 2004, and served for 13 years first as a catechist and then Director of Religious Education at All Saints Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa where 43 trained catechists and 27 other volunteers served 200+ children ages 0-12 each week using Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She and her husband Matt, who is also a trained CGS catechist, homeschool their 6 children. She is trained in all three levels of CGS, as well as receiving certification in Seminal Infant Toddler Formation in March of 2018, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Theology from St. Meinrad in southern Indiana. She strives each day to turn and become like a little child, so as to enter the Kingdom (cf Matt 18:3). In her blogs "Family Fiat", "Faith Formation Begins at Home", and "Forever In Formation" she writes of the adventures in CGS and her family. In September 2015, she was recognized as a CGS Level I Formation Leader by the National Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

The 2020 Level I Formation dates are (please note: dates have changed):

  • August 6-9, 2020 - Thursday afternoon-evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday, and partial day Sunday
  • November 12-15, 2020 - Thursday afternoon-evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon
  • March 4-7, 2021 - Thursday afternoon-evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon

Attendance is required for all dates, unless alternate arrangements are made ahead of time.

The cost for the course is $250 for SFA parishioners and $500 for non-parishioners. This includes meals, however books will need to be purchased separately. It will fulfill requirements to receive a Level I certificate and will qualify participants to lead sessions for 3- to 6-year-olds at Nazareth or any other atrium. If you are interested in discounted shipping for course books, please contact Sarah by February 15 to join the group shipping order.

Level II Formation (Postponed)

Formation Leader: Marty O’Bryan

Marty O’Bryan began her formation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with Sofia Cavalletti in 1983 and has been conducting adult formations at Levels I, II and III throughout the United States since 1991. A retired speech and language pathologist, Marty holds a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from Aquinas Institute of Theology. Currently, she works with children in Toddler, Level II and III atria in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. She and her husband have four adult sons.

The 2020 Level II Formation dates are:

  • TBD for Spring/Summer 2021

CGS Home Mother

Sarah Carter
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Forms & Documents