I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11). Jesus often used parables and imagery to explain difficult concepts to his disciples, and what better image for our faith than the Good Shepherd? St. Francis parish is blessed to help the youngest among us understand this image, and the other Truths of our faith, through a program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The goal of the program is to share the love of Christ with the children of our parish in a way that encourages a life-long relationship with God. “It’s a Montessori method of teaching the faith to children ages 3-12 that gives them the opportunity to use hands-on activities to explore and discover the mysteries of our faith and to fall in love with God, while meditating on Scripture and learning about the Liturgy,” notes Laura Nelson, coordinator of children’s catechesis here at the parish. “The beauty of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is it’s love and respect for the child and for the Holy Spirit at work within them. We don’t dismiss the child nor their ability to have a living relationship with God.” The program, which is currently available to children in our parish age 4-7, is facilitated by CGS catechists, adults who proclaim Scripture and present materials to the child so that they may further meditate on the Word of God. CGS catechists receive extensive training in this methodology and grow in their own knowledge and love of God in the process. “In future years we will be expanding this program through age 12. Adults (and older teens) can participate and support this ministry by serving the children during their time together or by helping to make and maintain the many materials needed for this program to expand.” Laura continues, “Being a CGS catechist is a truly enriching growth experience.  It’s often true that a catechist begins their CGS journey ‘for the child’ but continues to volunteer for themselves.”

For more information about CGS or how you can become a catechist, visit sfatx.org/cgs. There you will find videos depicting the method and hear first-hand how the program affects the families, children, and catechists who participate.

This story was written by Laura Nelson, Coordinator of Children’s Catechesis, and published in the March issue of the St. Francis Grapevine.