Catechist Formation

"CGS offers a method of handing forward the Orthodox Faith
that is synergistic with our spirituality and way of life.
The trainings available bring an exciting new dimension to Orthodox Religious Education."
- Dr. Anton C. Vrame, Director of Religious Education, GOA

Adults young and old enjoy the retreat-like courses offered by the National Association for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. These courses attract parents, clergy, lay scholars, and religious educators of all kinds due to the rich content and spiritual refreshment offered. Some take place one Saturday per month over the course of a year, others over the course of several long weekends, and still others are held for a week or two in a given summer. Formats vary by region, level, and the schedule of the formation leader and participants.

Each course begins with an introduction (Level I) or review (Levels II and III) of child development and spirituality. Courses are taken in order, as the Level I course sensitizes participants to the spirituality of children; offers a foundation in the basics of Montessori methodology; and covers pre-requisite material for future courses. The cognitive, physical, and emotional development of each respective age group is addressed, as well as the spiritual hungers that tend to be exhibited by them.

In general, one could expect the following from all levels of formation: themes presented to the child, and the pace at which these themes are presented; practicum for presenting material to children; instruction in the creation and use of materials; and assistance in writing one's own album (handbook of lessons). In addition, participants are blessed by the mentorship that formation leaders provide, with their wisdom and wealth of experience with both children and adults. For those starting CGS from scratch, the community of catechists and catechists-in-training can be one's greatest asset in the education of the parish on the spiritual needs of children. Upon completion of any level course, participants receive a certificate from the National Association, signed by their formation leader.

Courses are offered throughout the country, by men and women who have undergone an extensive training and discernment process. Most courses are ecumenical in nature, where everyone is welcome and the needs of each tradition are addressed.  

Copyright 2009, Seraphima Sierra Butler/Updated September 2013 by St. Athanasius Church CGS Team