Mission resources

For Children - Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the spiritual formation of children that is rooted in the Bible, the Liturgy of the Church and the educational methods of Maria Montessori.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd programme is a sensorial, rich, prayerful experience for children from ages 3 to 12 years old that gives them the opportunity to grow in love of and knowledge of God through the proclamations of the scriptures and the study of the Liturgy. Children gather in a space specially set up for them that contains simple yet beautiful child-size materials that help the child to absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith.

“The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been described as the meeting of two mysteries: the mystery of God and mystery of the child. When we use such a word as mystery, it indicates our attitude of respect and wonder, our recognition that we are standing before something which is at once both knowable and yet beyond our complete comprehension.”

— from the foreword of The Religious Potential of the Child, by Sofia Cavalletti

It has been observed that children, even from the earliest age, eagerly seek religious experience and find fulfillment in it only if they are helped to live this experience in its deepest, most essential elements, without any "childish" overtones. Wh​​​​en these conditions are present, young children live their relationship with God in enchanted wonder and profound joy, which gives peace in the satisfaction — it could be said —​ of a deep and vital need. In our view, the "vital need" is for relationship, which the Bible expresses as "covenant". 

It is the joy of the children's encounter with God that has given birth to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which, always and everywhere, is nourished by the same joy. It has been observed that children of the same developmental stage respond to certain themes of the Christian message in the same way, though belonging to different cultural backgrounds. From this perspective, a curriculum gradually took shape that responds to the child's deep religious needs according to the various age levels. 

Because it is attuned to the developmental and spiritual needs of children, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd experience is both religious education and spiritual formation. Our focus is on helping each child strengthen his or her personal prayer life, participation in corporate worship, and growing knowledge of the Bible and of God's unfolding salvific work throughout history. This holistic approach to Orthodox catechesis enriches both our children and the volunteers who serve them, fostering a culture of continual spiritual growth.

Church School Programme at Holy Myrrhbearers

Holy Myrrhbearers offers a monthly church school programme based on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Children remain with their families to worship together during the Divine Liturgy but after communion go to their Sunday school room for a 45-minute session.

Please speak to Fr Geoffrey if you would like to be involved in teaching or having your children participate in the new programme.