Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

St. Michael offers the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in Levels I, II and III, reaching PreK through Fifth Grade.

Join in the Wonder of 3-6 Year Old Child (Level I)

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.

Celebrate the Growth of the 6-9 Year-Old Child (Level II)

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 (or Solemn 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 this preparation which helps to deepen their love and understanding of the Eucharist.

Honor the Independence of the 9-12 Year-Old Child (Level III)

The history of salvation focusing on the plan of God as a plan of communion, a plan which links all people together through God’s love delight the older child. The emphasis is on our response to this unfolding generosity of God and recognition of the responsibilities that come with receiving God’s great gifts and seeing oneself as a collaborator 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.