Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd.
Psalm 23:1

St Andrew’s welcomes and encourages your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews to get to know Jesus as their friend in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for ages 3 – 6 (pre-k through kindergarten).

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is not new. It began in Rome in 1954 and has its roots in the early twentieth century work of Maria Montessori. She consistently wrote about the young child’s love of silence and order and about his or her capacity for wonder, concentration and work.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes its name from the parable of the Good Shepherd, one of the earliest and most central presentations given to the children. Through the parable, the children become familiar with the voice of Jesus who calls each one by name.

St. Andrew’s offers Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on Sunday mornings beginning at 10:50 in its atrium located in the undercroft. The atrium is a room that is specially prepared for the children’s developmental level. The most notable characteristics of the atrium and its materials are order, simplicity and beauty. Everything is at the children’s eye level so that they are enticed into work with the materials, many of which have been lovingly handmade by parish artists and artisans.

Prayer table

Children begin each session in the atrium at the prayer table, a place for being with friends, reading the Bible, praying and singing. Next the children choose hands-on activities from practical life (for example, caring for plants, using a sponge, pouring liquids), the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, the New Testament events of Jesus’ life, parables of the Kingdom and the vocabulary of our faith. Sometimes, the children conclude the session by returning to the prayer table. Then, accompanied by adults, they rejoin their parents or other relatives just before the Eucharist. Two of the children carry the bread and the wine to the altar rail. They have learned that the bread and the wine are signs left by Jesus to remind us that the Good Shepherd is always with us.

In Catechesis, adults assist children in the growth of their relationship with God, but the only teacher is the Holy Spirit. For that reason, the adults in the atrium are often called guides. The guides at St. Andrew’s are Belinda Harris, catechist, and Wendi Senfield. Their work is further facilitated by atrium assistants.

Artwork provided by a parishioner 

If you are interested in volunteering as an atrium assistant, please use this link for more information. If you are interested in creating or donating materials for the atrium, please contact the church office at If you are interested in becoming a catechist, please mark your calendars to receive training for Level 1, Part 1 the last week in July 2016 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Registration information will be available at a later date at the St. Stephen’s website.

Further information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is available from the national organization at