Setting up an Atrium
Experience indicates that the following are key practicalities involved in establishing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in a parish:
- Inspired adults:
Parents, grandparents and faith filled adults
who enjoy nurturing the spiritual potential of children, when they
experience the impact of this catechesis, become the mainstay of this
ministry. In order to provide this opportunity for children, parish
members become catechists, assist in the atrium, paint and lay carpet,
build shelving, make catechetical materials, and remain actively involved
for several years.
The extended parish community also helps sustain
this work by its nurturing and welcoming response, prayer, fund raising and sharing of their gifts, and perhaps space, to meet the needs of
The encouraging leadership of a supportive pastor
Some parishes have been able to provide the ideal
space - a room set-aside exclusively for the children. Other parishes
have been able to implement this ministry by the creative use of shared
space. For example, one parish uses part of their sacristy; another
uses a choir loft.
- Catechetical Materials:
One of the key features of the
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the use of specially designed biblical
and liturgical materials to help the children's prayer and meditation.
These are either handmade by the catechists or by members of the parish
community; this is a wonderful way of involving others in the ministry
of catechesis. For example, in one parish the seniors volunteered
to produce the materials; in another, a shop teacher and his class
provided the woodworking expertise.
This catechesis is financially feasible for any parish.
Every parish has the talent and gifts to develop an atrium. Factor
in the costs of preparing the space, furniture, materials and training
There is a Good Shepherd Catechesis page on the Archdiocese web site: www.archtoronto.org