Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is Saint Cecilia’s Faith Formation program for preschool children and kindergartners. It is offered to children who are 3, 4, or 5 years by October 1st. Children and catechists meet 3-4 times per month during the 10:00am Mass. Classes begin in September and end on Pentecost Sunday.
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The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program operates on a belief that the very young child has been in a relationship with God since birth. Therefore, the work of the catechist is to simply support that relationship as it grows. We have learned since working with the program at Saint Cecilia, that the catechist’s relationship with God is also strengthened—by listening to, and working with, the children.
Some of the presentations in CGS include:
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was developed by two Italian women during the last half of the 20th century: Sofia Cavalietti and Gianna Gobbi.
Sofia Cavalletti was an internationally recognized Hebrew bible scholar, author, and college professor who served on the Vatican Council for Jewish-Christian relations. As a favor to a friend, she met with Paolo, a seven-year-old. To the amazement of both, they wanted to continue their bible study beyond the first session. Gianna Gobbi, an associate of Maria Montessori, joined Cavalletti shortly afterwards, and in time, their experiences led to the development of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Cavalletti said that Paolo became the inspiration that radically redirected the lives of both Gobbi and herself. Together Cavalletti and Gobbi developed biblical and liturgical materials, tested them with children around the world, and only kept the ones that were received well by the children.
Cavalletti left Italy in 1954 to offer catechist training in North America. Her first course was offered in St. Paul. Carol Dittberner of our neighboring parish, Saint Frances Cabrini, was in that class. Today CGS is used in 32 countries on 5 continents. The Missionaries of Charity, established by Mother Teresa, have established 370 CGS sites in the past 6 years, many with the assistance of Dittberner and other CGS catechists. In Minnesota CGS is used in Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran parishes (primarily, Catholic and Episcopal), including more than 20 communities in the Twin Cities area.
More information about the international CGS program can be found online: www.cgsusa.org.