Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Sister Anna ‘s  address to the parish

The vision for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation began in 1954 with a Dr Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew and Scripture scholar and member of the Vatican Commission for Jewish-Christian Relations, and her colleague, Professor Gianni Gobbi a Montessori trained educator. Sofia was asked by a mother to give her son some religious instruction. At first she refused, not having much to do with children in her academic world, but eventually she consented and this experience with the 7 year old boy changed her whole life and began what we now know as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Dr Cavalletti saw in that child, and in number of other children since, a way of being in the presence of God that is unique to the child and a gift to the adult who stops long enough to notice.
Children desire to draw near to God but need the sensitive guidance of the adult as well as the inner
guidance of the Holy Spirit to nurture this relationship.

Today the Catechesis can be found in many Christian traditions(Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Orthodox and Roman Catholic) as well asi n schools through the world. It continues to grow and has spread over the years to many other countries. It has also been adopted by MotherTeressa’s Missionaries of Charity as a method of catechesis.

We in St Columba’s and St Peter’s are very privileged to be the first in the Archdiocese to introduce this programme and it is hoped that other parishes will also become interested.

St. Peter’s and St. Columba’s parishes will be piloting a new catechesis initiative aimed at young people. This is an exciting opportunity for both parishes.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Christian catechesis programme for children aged 3-12 years which enables them to experience and form an authentic relationship with God.

The Catechesis is rooted in Scripture and the Liturgy of the Church and is inspired by Maria Montessori’s principles of education.

We have a dedicated liturgical/Catechetical space in St. Columba’s hall (this does mean sacrificing 1 of our 4 meeting spaces but it is an investment in ourchildren and a sacrifice I am confident everyone is happy to make).

This space, echoing in a beautiful way the most ancient traditions of the Church, is called an ‘Atrium’.

Initially, (for the first year) our parishes will be supported by the Alma Sisters of Mercy with the intention of passing the baton on to lay parishioners once the initiative has been established.

If you are interested in taking part please email:

If you have children between the ages of 3-6 and you are interested in CGS, please email
Sister Anna Marie at if you have not done so already.
The children need to be introduced to the atrium environment gradually, so please see the schedule below for the timetable:

Regarding weeks off from the atrium, we will follow the school calendar for Saint Peter’s Catholic School. A more detailed calendar for parents will be shared, along with registration forms. Sr Anna Marie RSM

Training for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level I Part 1 took place in St Columba’s Halls last
week with fifteen participants from our own parishes and further afield. Archbishop Cushley
blessed the Atrium  and met the trainee catechists and leaders.

The Catechesis is rooted in Scripture and the Liturgy of the church and is inspired by Maria
Montessori’s principles of education.

This programme provides :
• an opportunity for children to fall in love with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a child-friendly space called an atrium;
• Guided activity to aid meditation on Bible scripture and the mysteries of the Christian faith once a week – in small groups, facilitated by trained catechists;
• And above all that each child’s unique spiritual needs and abilities are respected and nurtured.


Registration open

The Catechesis of Good Shepherd has registration open for the new year!

This hands-on, interactive catechesis is for children ages 3+.  Please contact Sister Anna Marie at for more details or to enrol your children.

The session for 3-4 year-olds is held Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  We will begin Tuesday, 11th January.

There are also some spots available on Friday afternoon from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. for 5-7 year-olds.  This group will begin Friday, 7th January.

The programme is free of charge.


The Atrium at St Columba’s