For children ages 3 through sixth grade
“In catechesis . . . it is Christ alone Who teaches. Anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church # 427
Due to precautions with the coronavirus, the Fall River Diocese as of 3/16, 2020 is suspending all faith formation sessions for the rest of 2019-20. Also there will be no First Reconciliation, First Communion or Confirmation Celebrations until further notice.
IMPORTANT DATES for students preparing for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist within the atrium. Mandatory sacramental preparation meditation nights at the Parish Center (6:00-7:00 pm) for the child and one parent will be:
Thurs., Mar. 19th Baptism review and the True Vine parable
Tues., March 24th The Teachings of Jesus: The Summary of the Law and the Maxims
Thur., Apr. 2nd The Forgiving Father parable
Wed., Apr. 8th The Healing of the Paralytic miracle and review of the Rite of Reconciliation
The communion retreat will be Sun., May 3rd beginning with the 9 am Mass in St. Augustine’s until 4:00 pm down in the hall. This is due to the April vacation schedule.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is Fri., May 8th at 6:00 pm at St. Augustine’s, and the First Holy Communion Mass is Sat., May 9th at 11:00 am, also at St. A’s.
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Click the links below for the CGS Calendar and Parent Handbook.
Sessions will again be offered for 28 weeks during the 2019-20 school year:
MONDAY: Level I (age 3-K) 10 am-noon; Level II (1-3 grade) and Level III (4-6 grade) 3:30-5:30 pm
TUESDAY: Level I (3-K), Level II (1-3 gr) & Level III (4-6 gr) 3:30-5:30 pm
WEDNESDAY: Level I (age 3-K), Level II (1-3 gr) and Level III (4-6 gr) 3:30-5:30 pm
THURSDAY: Level II (1-3 gr) 3:30-5:30 pm
Adjustments may be made depending on the number of students registering.
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Congratulations to our children who just celebrated the Sacrament of First Reconciliation Friday, 5/3 and First Communion Saturday, 5/4 held at St. Augustine Church, VH: Madilyn Alwardt, Sydney Bruguiere, Adriana Curelli, Joey Holland, Benjamin Fuller, Rita Hurley, Evie LaVigne, Jayla Lyons, Joy MacMillan, Ryah Perry, Sean Russell, Kayo Sampaio, Addy Shemit, Maria Clara Silva.
We had a wonderful retreat on Sunday, April 28th which we shared with the community beginning with the 9:00 am Mass and the Calling By Name after hearing the Gospel on the True Vine!
What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
“Help me draw close to God by myself”
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious formation of children that is rooted in the Bible, the Liturgy of the Catholic Church, and the self-teaching educational principles of Dr. Maria Montessori. This method of nurturing the faith life of children evolved from children themselves. Beginning in Rome in 1954, CGS is the result of a long period of careful observation of children by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, along with Gianna Gobbi, her Montessori collaborator. With great respect for the dignity of the child and their religious capacities, they developed an atrium – a carefully created environment that helps the child work independently of the catechist/adult as much as possible. It is not a place of religious instruction but of religious life which recognizes the deep bond between God and the child, first; the difference of “pouring in” vs. “calling forth” that which already exists. The atrium certainly is a place of learning, but together they are listening for the one Teacher, who dwells within them. This experience becomes formative in the child’s whole person and generates great joy.
So why have a prepared environment? The small child has the power to absorb what is in his or her environment; what they take in becomes a part of them-enriching their intellectual and spiritual life. The family is the first and most important environment experienced by human beings. It is where cultural, social, religious and moral characteristics are expressed. Vatican II calls the family, “the domestic church,” or the primary educator of children in their faith. The Church is another setting for one’s religious life shared together with a community of believers. In the early Church the atrium was the place where the catechumens were prepared. For us, the atrium is the place in which communities of children live a religious experience together with some adults that prepare them to participate in the larger family community of our parish and the world. Here, children are initiated into the realities of Christian life. Like the prepared environment of the Church, the atrium is a place where the child can listen to the proclamation of the Gospel, then in age-appropriate ways meditate on it, and begin to live it according to the child’s own rhythm. It is here where their work becomes prayer; it is their response to the Good News.
There are different age groups contained in the three levels of atrium offered:
Level I: children ages three through kindergarten
Level II: children in 1st grade through 3rd grade
Level III: children in 4th grade through 6th grade
Catechesis is an ancient word meaning “echoing God’s Word.” The person who does this is known as a catechist. CGS catechists receive 90+ hours of training before leading a CGS session. These catechists find their own spiritual life is fed, as well as the spiritual lives of the children they serve. In many ways, this is adult formation given through the child! To inquire about catechist training, please contact Sue Pagliccia 508-693-0342 x6. CGS continues to spread out through many Christian faiths in countries all over the world. For more information on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, see the national office website: www.cgsusa.org.
This is a video of the beloved St. JPII visiting atria in Rome. He reportedly said, “That is the most beautiful homily I have ever witnessed.” Sofia Cavalletti describes his visit in this video, further adding that he said, “It is proof that really the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children.” He attentively “listened” to the children as they were immersed in their “works” and saw something special about this unique approach to religious education. Read the article at https://aleteia.org/2019/06/19/john-paul-ii-said-this-was-the-most-beautiful-homily-he-ever-saw/?fbclid=IwAR2yGFPLG8ww_u7nnpjp1ankOfnG5-Eh54s0nPsTgtkucwv0_vhvi9MimcE
Preaching to Children by Dr. Ann Garrido In this 54 minute video, Prof. Ann Garrido addresses homilies for children. After a brief introduction to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (05:23), she identifies seven characteristics of children (10:39) and the three great mysteries of life (29:11) to which children relate. At the end of this presentation Dr. Garrido offers five tips for preaching to children (35:18).