Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

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Diocese > Formation > Training & Certification > Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

 Catechesis Formation

This Level I Formation Course has been opened up to individuals around the United States by the national organization for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It will take place on two occasions. Lunch and afternoon snacks will be provided for participants during course sessions. Francis Fund Applications are accepted until July 1, 2019.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) applies Montessori principles of education to catechesis of children. This model builds on the child's religious potential and nascent spirituality, serving the religious needs of the child. It respects the natural relationship that children experience with God.

Catechesis occurs in a religious environment called an atrium using objects and furniture that have been adapted to children's levels and needs. The children discover liturgical symbols, engage in stories of sacred Scripture and work with religious symbols and objects. Catechists are specifically trained to facilitate an encounter between Christ and the children through the use of Scripture and liturgy.

Throughout this course, catechists will be given the time:

  • To explore the general developmental characteristics and the most essential religious needs of the 3 to 6 year old child
  • To meditate on the Biblical and liturgical themes presented to the 3 to 6 year old as provided through the work of Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi
  • To further the catechist’s ability to observe and learn from the 3 to 6 year old child
  • To nurture, with sensitivity, the 3 to 6 year old child’s spirituality
  • To explore guidelines for preparing the Level I Atrium environment, making of materials and developing the catechist’s album

9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. @

Saint Thomas More University Parish

1200 Oakland Avenue 

Indiana, PA 15701

July 15 - 19 & July 29 - August 2, 2019

To register, please call the parish office at 724-463-2277, or email Diane Cawley or Mary Beth Palko with any questions, and fill-out the form below:

Registration Form  

 Fees and Materials

Registration Fee: $300.00
(Payable to St. Thomas More University Parish)

If you are applying for the Francis Fund, the application must be submitted to the diocese before July 1, 2019.

Required Texts: $50.00
(Level One "Bundle of Joy") 

Books can be purchased from the CGSUSA website:

​Note: You may also want to bring a means of taking notes during the course. This may include a notebook, writing utensil and/or a laptop. Many have found a 3-ring 2” binder with tabs and page protectors helpful in organizing their album page work.


Upon completion of the Level I Formation Course, a certificate will be issued from the National Office and presented during the last session by the formation leader, to participants in the cohort who have fully participated in the course.
Catechists in the Diocese of Greensburg who obtain this Level I certificate will fulfill the first requirements necessary for Basic Certification in the diocese and will satisfy varying levels of the Training and Catechetical Certification Process.

 Formation Leader

Mary Beth Palko

Mary Beth serves as a catechist in all three levels of the atria at Saint Thomas More University Parish. 
She is also the Director for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Youth Ministry and has permanent certification in the Diocese of Greensburg. 
As nationally recognized CGS Level I Formation Leader, she recently obtained her master’s degree at Aquinas Institute for Theology in Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Mary Beth and her husband Phil have raised three children. She continues to share the pure joy of this work with others as her journey continues.