Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

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

Sessions begin Monday, October 5th. We are offering in-person sessions or at home CGS work. All returning families were emailed/called. Please contact Sue in the office to register: 508-693-0342 or

Live-streaming Mass continues via parish website (click webcam icon) or Facebook Live: FrMichael Good Shepherd or Comunidade Brasileira Católica de Martha’s Vineyard (for Sat. 7 pm in Portuguese). You may prefer the outdoor Mass at the Tabernacle, OB Sundays at 9:30 am through October, viewable online at their website  (click on “join Sunday Service livestream” icon) The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect until further notice from Bishop da Cunha. Please stay home if you are feeling sick. Please note that no one has contracted covid 19 at any of our Masses over the last 17 weeks. Great news indeed!

TENTATIVE NEW IMPORTANT DATES for students who missed First Reconciliation and First Eucharist in May due to the coronavirus shutdown. We will prepare for the celebrations this coming December. Mandatory sacramental preparation meditation nights at the Parish Center (6:00-7:00 pm) for the child and one parent will be:

Thurs., Nov 19th         Baptism review and the True Vine parable

Mon., Nov 23rd          The Teachings of Jesus: The Summary of the Law and the Maxims

Tues., Dec 1st            The Forgiving Father parable

Wed., Dec 9th           The Healing of the Paralytic miracle and review of the Rite of Reconciliation

The First Communion retreat will be held Sun., Dec 13th, time and place TBD.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is Fri., Dec 18th at 6:00 pm at St. Augustine’s, and the First Holy Communion Mass is Christmas Eve, Dec 24th at 3:00 pm, also at St. A’s.

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Click the links below for the tentative 2020-21 CGS Calendar and Parent Handbook.

Sessions* will again be offered for 28 weeks during the 2020-21 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 and available catechists due to continuing coronavirus precautions.

UPDATED Catechesis Calendar 2020-21    2020-21 Parent Handbook

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Congratulations to our children who just celebrated the Sacrament of First Reconciliation Friday, 5/3/19  and First Communion  Saturday, 5/4/19 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.

CGS rejoice remain respond

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: 

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

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).