Are you interested in becoming a CGS Catechist or Aides? Contact Sue Pagliccia 508-693-0342 or by email sue@goodshepherdmv.com

Please note all volunteers MUST be certified through the Fall River diocese before working with youth. This includes completing CORI documents and an online video training series.

The Role of the Catechist

The catechist sees himself/herself as a servant to the child. Rather than assuming the role of “religion teacher” the catechist strives for an attitude of humility before the child and the wonder of God. We know that God is already present and at work in the children. The catechist prepares the environment called “the atrium” and themselves in order to facilitate the opening of the hearts and minds of the children to the greatest truths of our faith. He/she then chooses a presentation or proclamation based on what she observes in the behavior and responses of the children. He/she guides discussions with questions designed to help the children think more deeply about what a particular proclamation might mean. The catechist “listens to God with the children,” and is always open to any new insights that might come to him/her through them.

A catechist leads the weekly 2-hour session with the children in the atrium. We run sessions annually for approximately 28 weeks just after the school year begins through mid-May. It requires 90 hours of training per level, including the writing of album pages. This is a beautiful work for the adult to come closer to God first, while learning how to listen for God with children. Training can be personalized for an individual or for a group with Sue, a certified trainer in all three levels.

The Role of the Aide

The aide assists the catechist in preparation of the environment, in observing the children, and in being available to assist the child, when the child comes to them seeking help to light a candle, read Scripture, etc. The aide also helps maintain order by modeling “atrium behavior” and following the lead of the catechist. This atrium behavior is a quiet way of walking, moving and speaking. We have found that this “slowing down” helps the children quiet themselves and work with great focus and joy. Their work in this environment becomes prayer. For this reason both the catechist and aide regard the work of the children with the highest respect, intruding only when necessary. Montessori “lingo” for the many things available to the children is “materials” and for what they do with those things is “work.”

An aide is expected to be at as many sessions as possible, lending to consistency in the environment, especially for the youngest children ages 3-6. A handbook is given at the start of the year to help orient the adult or student aide in the way of the child.