Atrium - Catechesis of The Good Shepard
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children ages 2 ½ -12. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather in an "Atrium," a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials that they use. How do these materials help the religious life of a child? In an atrium, the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer from the liturgy by taking the material for that text and working with it - placing wood figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table, or preparing a small altar with the furnishings used for the Eucharist. Older children who can read often copy parables from the Bible, lay in order and copy written prayers from The Mass or label a long time line showing the history of the kingdom of God. Within the prayerful environment of the Atrium, the children can meditate on the words of the prophets or parables without the distractions of the secular world. The catechist is not a teacher. The catechist is there as a facilitator helping the relationship of the child with God to grow deeper and wider. Christ is “The Teacher”.
Founded in Springfield in 1989, St. Raphael’s Atrium is non-denominational, although some specific liturgical doctrines of the Catholic Church are used. At the present time, there are three levels available:
- Level I (ages 2 ½ -Kindergarten) meets on Thursday after school – 4:45
- Level II (grades 1-3) meets Wednesday after school – 4:45
- Level III (grades 4-6) meets on Mondays after school until 5:00.
The Atrium is located in the Good Shepherd Room in St. Raphael Church basement.
The Catechesis covers a broad area of instruction. It is used for adult prayer groups, elementary and high school faith formation students, sacrament preparation retreats and adult faith formation workshops.
St. Raphael Catechists: Shelley Olson-Level 1, 2 and 3 (Level 1, 2 and 3 Certified) Karen Reindl-Level 1,2 and 3 at St. Raphael School (Level 1, 2, and 3 Certified)