Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)

Registration for 2024-2025 School Year Open!

Registration information (please read before filling out registration form): 
St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish invites your child(ren), ages 3 to 12*, to enroll in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). Sessions will take place once a week, from September 2024 until May 2025 in our CGS atria located in the Parish Office building. This Catechesis is available as support to you, as the first educators of your children, to help your children grow in their relationship with God and in formation in the Roman Catholic faith. A calendar of specific session dates will be provided before the start of the year.
This Catechesis is not a replacement for Mass on Sundays. On the contrary, this Catechesis pairs with going to Mass on Sundays and is meant to help your child have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the mass and help them develop a prayer life. For more specifics about what  CGS is please scroll further down (“What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd“).
Children ages 3 to Kindergarten are invited to participate in our Level 1 CGS Atrium sessions. Children age 3 who would like to participate must be fully potty trained and independent in using the restroom. Students enrolled in the St. Ignatius preschool through Grade 1 for the 2024-2025 school year will already be participating in CGS during their regular school week.
Children ages 1st grade to age 9 are invited to participate in our Level 2 CGS Sessions. Any child 2nd grade and up, must have at least one year experience in the atrium in order to participate in our Level 2 sessions. Children working in Sacramental preparation through CGS must have at least 1 year prior experience in the Level 2 atrium. Ideally the child would also have at least one year of experience in Level 1, as well.
*Children ages 4th grade to age 12, who have had at least one year’s experience in Level 2 at St. Ignatius, is invited to participate in our Level 3 CGS Session on Monday nights at 6:15. 
For our Level 1 CGS sessions we will begin the year with 75 minute sessions, but will increase that time to an hour and a half, and then one hour and 45 minutes as students become acquainted with the atria spaces. Our Level 2 and 3 CGS sessions will be one hour and 45 minutes the entire year. Below are available session days and time offerings throughout the week: 
2024-2025 CGS Parish Session Offerings:

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Registration fees
Parishioner Non- Parishioner
Payment due by 09/01/24 $80/child $100/child

For St Ignatius Parishioners who enroll three or more children, the total fee will not exceed $200.00.  If you require financial assistance for your child’s religious education, please contact the Religious Education Office at 661-6565 x 2740.

        What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a reflective-based religious formation that helps a child to further develop his/her relationship with God in a developmentally appropriate way. It is rooted in Sacred Scripture, the Liturgy and Prayer. Children meet in small groups along with a catechist within a prepared environment known as an atrium. Within the atrium, the 3-6 year olds are filled with wonder and awe as they joyfully encounter the Good Shepherd and discover his unconditional love and care. The atrium provides a space, based upon the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori, for children to pray, work, and contemplate the presence of God in their lives.

The following video provides a great short introduction to the CGS program.


About Level 1 CGS

(children ages 3 to Kindergarten)

(From The 3-6-year-old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith—the announcement of God’s love especially experienced through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen.  Materials on the life of Jesus Christ and his teachings help to make the mystery of God concrete for the child. The heart of the catechesis for children under six revolves around the Parable of the Good Shepherd. Jesus announces that he is the Good Shepherd who calls each one by name. The sheep listen to the voice of the Shepherd and follow him.
The 3-6 year old child enters the mystery of the Eucharist by first learning the names of the articles used on the altar and then through the most important gestures including the preparation of the chalice, the epiclesis and offering, and the sign of peace. Through the experience of seeing these gestures, presented one by one, the Mass emerges as the Sacrament of the Gift. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His resurrection. – CGSUSA

Throughout a child’s time in the Level 1 atrium they may ponder and receive presentations on:

  • The Mystery of Christ as the Good Shepherd
  • The Parables about the Kingdom of God
  • The Articles of the Mass
  • The Gestures of the Mass
  • Liturgical Colors
  • The Last Supper (Cenacle)
  • The City of Jerusalem
  • The Infancy Narratives
  • The Gifts Received through Baptism
  • Geography of the Land of Israel
  • The Empty Tomb

About Level 2 CGS

(Children ages 1st grade to age 9)

(From The elementary age child is captured by the image of the True Vine. “I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” The proclamation responds to the deep need of these children to better know his or her relationship with God, family, friends, and the larger community.  Moral parables offer a model for comparing their behavior with that of the Pharisee, the Tax Collector, or the Good Samaritan.  The elementary children see the parts of the Mass—the Liturgy of the Word, the Preparation of the Gifts, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the Communion—as one unified prayer made of many smaller prayers. Children prepare for the celebration of First Communion through a series of communion meditations focusing on the relationship with Jesus. Preparation of personal missals filled with illustrations and prayers is also part of Level 2 which helps to deepen their love and understanding of the Eucharist. – CGSUSA.

Throughout a child’s time in the Level 2 atrium they may ponder and receive presentations on:

  • The Mystery of Christ as the True Vine
  • Moral Parables
  • More Gestures of the Mass
  • Prayers of the Mass
  • Synthesis of the Mass
  • The Holy Bible
  • Salvation History
  • The History of the Kingdom of God
  • Further Geography Work
  • Communal Prayer

About Level 3 CGS

(Children grade 4 through age 12)

(from  The history of salvation, which focuses on the plan of God as a plan of communion, a plan which links all people together through God’s love, delights the older child. The emphases are on our response to this unfolding generosity of God, recognition of the responsibilities that come with receiving God’s great gifts, and seeing ourselves as collaborators with God. “What is the kingdom of God and my place in it?” is a cosmic query which lays the foundations for a life commitment in relationship with God. Materials on the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Gifts of God, the Miracles of Jesus, and expanded presentations on Liturgy and Scripture can also be found in the Level III Atrium. – CGSUSA

Throughout a child’s time in the Level 3 atrium they may ponder and receive presentations on:

  • The Kingdom of God
  • Old Testament Typology Studies
  • The Prophets
  • Moral Life
  • The Parables
  • Liturgy and Prayer
  • Liturgy and Sacraments
  • Eucharist
  • Miracles of Jesus
  • The Liturgical Year
  • Communal Prayer

Sacramental Preparation in CGS

Children grow into desire and readiness for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion through lessons and work with various materials in Levels 1 & 2.  

During the first sacraments year (typically second grade, or the second year of Level 2) there are additional preparations.  Towards the beginning of the school year, children who are eligible to receive first communion are invited to prayerfully consider entering into preparation to receive first communion and first reconciliation. Our goal is to help the child choose from their own desire and love for Jesus to accept the gifts that he offers us through the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. Once the children have prayerfully discerned  and decided to receive these sacraments  they will sign their name on a letter of intent to begin their preparations and their names will be placed a special box by the prayer table so that we can keep them in prayer the entire year. Children and parents attend five weekly scriptural meditations that foster a desire for Reconciliation and link it to the celebration of the Eucharist.  These meditations focus on the True Vine, the Found Coin and Found Sheep, the Forgiving Father, and the Centurion’s Servant.   

Preparation for First Holy Communion culminates in a special retreat on the Friday evening and Saturday just before First Communion Mass on Sunday.  After Mass, the children are welcome to return to the atrium to quietly savor their experience with Jesus before continuing their celebration with family and friends.  

If you would like to find out more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please visit or contact Madalyn Hardig at or 513-661-6565, ext. 2740.

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