Completion of Level 2 Course

On Saturday, November 18, we concluded a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) formation course held at St John the Evangelist Parish in Latrobe, PA and co-sponsored by the Institute for Ministry Formation (IMF) of Saint Vincent Seminary. Fifteen women from the Dioceses of Greensburg and Pittsburgh completed over 100 hours of formation and received certification to guide children, ages 6 to 9, in Level 2 of CGS. Two others returned to deepen prior formation.

The women gathered with CGS-USA national formation leader, Celine Mitchell, one weekend a month since January, to learn the theory behind this method and the characteristics and human tendencies of the 6- to 9-year-old child, to receive and practice the corpus of presentations in an actual Level 2 Atrium, to make materials, and to develop a bond of friendship and fe­llowship amongst the cohort. Participants also made a day-long Sacrament retreat. This was both a model for these potential catechists of children of 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion age and also a personal spiritual gift.

It is intentional that these classes are called “formation” courses, because the participants not only learn content, but hearts are transformed by reflection on the Word of God, the opening of the mysteries revealed to us in through liturgical and sacramental signs and the sharing of others. CGS is an evangelizing catechesis, because for adults and children alike, there is an encounter with Jesus. It was common to hear, throughout the course, comments such as, “Wow! I never thought of it like that before!” Participants’ evaluations of the course read: “So many presentations touched my heart and increased my faith…”; “This has strengthened my faith tremendously and has taught me the beauty of the mass in concrete ways that I never could have imagined”; “The beautiful First Communion retreat day was an­­­ opportunity for renewal and peace.”

Whether the Holy Spirit leads some of these catechists to listen to God with children in a Level 2 Atrium, or to remain with the younger children in a toddler or Level 1 Atrium, everyone benefited from learning about the progression of development of the spirituality of the child and the progression of CGS presentations. And as children of God ourselves, we all benefited from time set aside to listen again to the voice of the One who CALLS us each by name and wants us to REMAIN with Him.