We are excited to share with everyone that we are soon to have a new, more spacious space to share the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with children and adults.
After lengthy negotiations with the Archdiocese of Perth we have finally managed to secure a long term lease on a premises in Scarborough. This has been out of use for some time and requires some major renovations to suit our needs. However, once completed we will be able to offer Catechesis for children from 0-12+, and have a good space for running formation and retreats, as well as a beautiful chapel space.
Our plan is to have the renovations completed by the end of 2022 so that we can move over the Summer break into our new space.
With our new space there will be new challenges such as fundraising to cover costs involved with the bigger space. As always we continue to work hard and pray hard and trust in Jesus the Good Shepherd to guide us and send us the help we need to continue to offer this precious work.
We invite all of our supporters and friends to continue to travel with us on this wonderful adventure in listening to God with children.
An Introduction to the Environment of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Inviting a visitor to “come
and see” has often been the best way to “explain” what the Catechesis of the
Good Shepherd is. When invited in, an adult will become quiet and wonder at all
the different materials they can see. One material may catch their eye, something
familiar, the altar table, the Cenacle. Just like the children who first walk
through the doors, the adult longs to look with their hands, to open boxes and
see what treasures are contained within. Perhaps, less like the child, they
hesitate in case they are not allowed to explore further. Left alone, they may
take things off the shelf and pick up the contents for closer inspection. They
may get their phones out and take a few photos.
The first encounter in
an atrium is one of wonder and perhaps awe. If parents walk in with a child,
they like to share their knowledge of what they see, moving into teaching them
the names or concepts the adult relates to in the work. Little children first
seem to like to touch, to feel what has been prepared for them. They long to
know, “Who made this?” They know it is a space for them because everything is
just the right height and size for their smaller bodies. In the Catechesis of the
Good Shepherd it is the environment that becomes the teacher. The young children
learn more from interacting in their environment than through direct
instruction. That is why it is so important that the catechist prepares the
environment to entice the children to draw nearer to God and to form a loving
relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
If our goal is to help
children enjoy a relationship with God, we must consider carefully the question,
“What kind of environment will respect and cultivate their needs and capacities
at their level of development, especially in terms of their spiritual
The atrium therefore is not a classroom “not a place of religious instruction, but of religious life” (Sofia Cavalletti, Religious Potential of the Child). It does not replace the Church but instead prepares them to become full participants in the life of the Church. This work cannot be the work of the catechist or the atrium alone. As Sofia says “The initiation of a child into the Christian life is not a work that can be fulfilled by the catechist alone, nor by the parents alone. It is the whole Christian community that proclaims Christ, and the child must enter into contact with the whole Christian community. The catechist’s work… must be sustained and confirmed by a community that lives what the catechist proclaims.” Ideally the atrium should hold a place within a parish community.
The Atrium is a place
of Prayer and Worship, a place of quiet and peace, a place of retreat. A place
where quite spontaneously, work and study become meditation, contemplation and