Catechesis of the Good Shepherd hosted in Winnipeg

By Nancy Wood

WINNIPEG — Oct. 17 and 18 Winnipeg will be hosting the annual gathering of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Association of Canada. While Friday evening will focus on news and reconnecting of people involved in this unique form of catechism, Saturday will be a conference for all: Listening to God with Children: Preparing Ourselves, Our Spaces and Our Communities.

Keynote speaker will be Sandra Girlato, director of Training of the Foundation for Montessori Education in Toronto. She will share her deep knowledge and love of the child with insights that will speak to parents, catechists, priests, or anyone who listens to children.

The afternoon will consist of a choice of workshops focusing on preparation — preparing children for sacraments, preparing prayer and celebration with children, preparing the home for children’s growth, how to make some of the beautiful hand-made materials used in this catechesis, and an introduction to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

The event will include the presence of both Catholic archbishops — Archbishop Gagnon of Winnipeg will welcome participants on Friday evening and Archbishop LeGatt of St. Boniface will celebrate mass on Saturday morning.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a program of Christian formation for children aged 3-12 years that is based on the Bible and liturgy of the church. Inspired by the principles of Montessori education, it centres on a special space called the “atrium,” a kind of child-sized retreat room that fosters contemplation and plants seeds for a lifetime in love with God. While the ideal is a dedicated room in a parish or school, the principles of the atrium can be applied in any setting.

The method was begun in Rome in 1954 by Sofia Cavalletti, author of The Religious Potential of the Child, and has spread throughout the world. It is present in both archdioceses in Winnipeg as well as the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land. Formation in this method will be offered beginning in November (four weekends — November, January, February, and April).

For more information, consult

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