Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

4 & 5 year old and those entering Kindergarten

Dear Parents and guardians,

We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and welcome you to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) program.  It is our aim and the aim of the program to help your child grow to know God deep inside their heart. Coming to Mass will be very eye-opening and one of the best places to observe their relationship with God.  CGS strives to work with children to develop a natural wonder and openness to God’s presence through caring adults who listen, pray and journey with them in their faith. It is through hearing and learning with the heart about the story and the image of the Good Shepherd that the children can be led to the joy of the Good News. From this parable and its message of Jesus’ unfailing love of them, children learn how God’s unconditional love is part of their world through family, school and church. Please visit for suggestions for how to incorporate CGS into your home life.

My name is Rosie McCune. My husband Jeff and I have been parishioners of St. Raymond’s for 20 years. Both of us serve as Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion at 11 AM Mass, and serve through various other ministries at St. Raymond. Our three children attend or have attended the St. Raymond’s RE program. Ben is a junior at Joliet West and is active in Follow Youth Ministry through the Cathedral of St. Raymond.  Abby is a freshmen at Joliet West,  and Emily is in 8th  grade. I taught in second grade RE for 5 years. This will be my 7th year serving as a directress for the CGS program.  When Mrs. Pershey approached me with the opportunity of teaching in the CGS program I instantly fell in love with all that the program offers! Working along side of Mrs. Foreman has been a truly wonderful opportunity. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at or by phone or text at 815-210-8465.

    My name is Anna Foreman and I am a longtime resident of the Joliet area. My husband John and I, along with our 2 grown sons, have been parishioners of St. Raymond’s for over 20 years.  I serve as a Eucharistic Minister for Sunday Masses and have been active in the spiritual instruction of the parish’s youngest and most precious members for 18 years in both the RE program and day school.  This year I am blessed to share the rich tradition of our Catholic Faith in our CGS program teaching alongside Rosie McCune in our Atrium.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at or by phone or text at 815-351-4311.

If you are able, we would also love to have your assistance in preparing materials for lessons throughout the year. CGS is a program with ongoing and repetitive work that requires supplies to be replenished often. There is much to be done and we would be grateful for any help that you or your family would be willing to provide in regards to donations, tracing, cutting or painting.  We are looking forward to a wonderful year learning and exploring with your child. May God’s blessings be with each of your families throughout this upcoming year.


Mrs. Rosie McCune
Mrs. Anna Foreman


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for Preschool -
4 and 5 years old and those entering Kindergarten.  

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. 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.

You may be wondering how these materials help the religious life of children? If an adult hears a beautiful passage from the Bible, the adult might take a Bible, find the passage, and read it slowly again and again. He or she may think deeply about the words and perhaps speak to God in a thankful or hopeful prayer. But a little child, too young to read, needs another way. 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 do read often copy parables from the Bible, lay in order written prayers from the rite of baptism, or label a long time-line showing the history of the kingdom of God. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program joins Sofia Cavalletti's theological insights into children's spiritual development with the educational principles and methods developed by Marie Montessori. 

"If we want to help the child draw nearer to God, we should with patience and courage seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer.
The child will be our teacher if we know how to observe."

-- Sofia Cavalletti


History of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

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. It began quite by accident, without warning or planning, the way God so often comes into our lives. In 1954 Sofia was a Hebrew and Scripture scholar, comfortable in her role in the academic world, when a mother asked her to give some religious instruction to her son. At first Sofia refused, saying she knew nothing about children. The mother persisted and eventually, Sofia consented. That experience with a 7 year-old changed her whole life. She saw in that child and in numerous other children since, a way of being in the presence of God that is both unique to the child and a gift to the adult who stops long enough to notice. Perhaps it is because Sofia went before the child with no preconceived ideas of what should happen that the child responded with such joy. Certainly her background in Scripture made it possible for her to talk about God in a way that opened and enthused the child. From that day to the present time Sofia and Gianna remind us constantly to look to the child for that sign of a deeply religious life - joy - and to always ask the question: "What face of God is the child telling us he or she needs to see?"





Anna Foreman
Rosie McCune

Support Staff
Colleen Kootnz

Atrium Handbook

All About the Atrium

Parent Resources



Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!