Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

"Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (or CGS) is a common religious experience involving children and adults in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant.  This experience is shared in a place particularly prepared for the religious life of Children called the Atrium."
The United States Association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Virtual Atrium Sessions

In an effort to reach out to our children, the Catechists have been recording some of the presentations which we would have presented to the children during Lent, Holy Week and Easter.  Your patience as we continue to build this library is greatly appreciated!  Some tips to using the video library are below.  

  • Which sessions should we watch?  
    • Parents and older siblings are welcome and encouraged to watch any of the sessions.  Even adults are often moved by what they receive when watching one of these presentations.  We would love your feedback!  
    • Children who are currently enrolled in CGS are encouraged to watch the sessions which are labeled for their grade.  They are also encouraged to watch any of the sessions for the younger Levels as a review.  
      • Please note: We do not recommend that the children watch video presentations for the older grades.  A big part of the experience of learning in the atrium is the actual "receiving" of the presentation.  If a child has already witnessed the presentation, they are not as open to receiving it when presented at the appropriate time.  
    • Children who are not currently enrolled in CGS area also welcome to watch the age appropriate presentations.  We would encourage watching the younger presentations first.  
  • How should we watch the videos?
    • Choose a time a time when you can be uninterrupted for 30-45 minutes, depending on the length of the video.
    • Set a prayerful and peaceful backdrop.  For instance, have a candle ready to light, have a bible ready, snuggle up together on the couch.
    • Remind your child that this is an opportunity to encounter Christ, the very same Jesus who will celebrate the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, who will lay down his life on Friday, and who will rise again to new life on Easter Sunday.
    • Allow yourself to enter into the presentation with your child.  Encourage your child to share their reactions with you.  We are constantly blessed by how the Holy Spirit works through the children during these presentations!  
  • My child misses the interaction they experience while in class . . .
    • So do we!  We will be sending out Facebook invitations to a Spearfish St. Joseph CGS Group.  This is a closed invitation only group, which means that it is very private, to protect our children.  We would love to have you share your child's reaction (or your own reaction) to any of the presentations.  Please let me know if you do not receive an invitation.  

Level I Videos  Pre K & Kindergarten

  • Holy Thursday--Last Supper
  • Easter--Resurrection

Level II Videos  1st / 2nd       
Level II/III Videos    3rd / 4th       
Level III Videos  5th / 6th 

  • Holy Week--City of Jerusalem, Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem
  • Holy Thursday--Origin of the Eucharist, Agony in the Garden
  • Good Friday--Crucifixion
  • Easter--Empty Tomb


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Holy Week & Easter Parent Pages 

The United States Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has made a beautiful resource available to parents.  The Parent Page includes a beautiful Celebration of the Liturgy of the Light that you can do at home with your children on Easter Vigil night, or Easter Sunday.  

Weekly Atrium Sessions
Please note that all Sessions are currently suspended due to the Covid-19 virus.

Level I (age 3-6, or PreK-K), Level II (age 6-9, or 1st-3rd Grade) and Level III (age 9-12, or 4th -6th Grade) are offered to the parish every Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 PM, October through May

Level I is also offered Tuesday afternoons from 3:00-5:00 PM, October through May.  

Please note:  
For safe environment purposes, all children must be registered prior to entering the Atrium.  

In addition, because the Atrium is a radically different mode of learning, all children must also receive an orientation prior to participating in CGS.  This orientation lays the foundation for the child to be able to best receive the presentations of CGS, and the parents to be able to best respond to the child.  

Registration Form:



The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the result of a long period of careful observation of children by Sofia Cavalletti and her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi, in Rome.  To speak about the history of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is to speak about two women living in Rome, Italy who became friends and collaborators and who devoted their life's work to children.  Sofia was a Catholic laywoman and theologian who received a doctorate in Hebrew and Comparative Semitic Languages from La Sapienza University in Rome and who was biblical scholar.  The way CGS began was quite by accident, without warning or planning, the way God so often comes into our lives.  Sofia liked to say, "We started without knowing we started."

CGS Catechist Team:

  • Patsy Custis
  • Doug Dexheimer
  • Jolene Fasse
  • Kristin George
  • Mary Gillick
  • Sharon Henry
  • Janet Higbee
  • Mickey Hoff
  • Amy Julian
  • Julia O'Neil King