CGSWA Annual General Meeting



13 September 2023

7.30pm (for 7.45pm start)

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd WA

27 Lalor Street, Scarborough


Via Zoom (online)

Please let us know when you RSVP if you require the zoom link

Please RSVP and send Nominations to


Notice is given that the Annual General Meeting of Members of Catechesis of The Good Shepherd WA (Inc) (CGSWA) will be held at Catechesis of the Good Shepherd WA, 27 Lalor Street, Scarborough, commencing at 7.45pm on 13 September 2023.


1.   Open Meeting

2.   Attendance: Present/Apologies

3.   Prayer Reflection

4.   Sharing: Former Children of the Atrium

5.   Acceptance of Previous Minutes

6.   Business Arising

7.   Report from the Chair (Anne Diamond)

8.   Finance Report (Christine Giuffre)

To table and consider the financial accounts for year ending 30 June 2021

9. Election of Board Members

Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary and other position/s (members who will help serve the ongoing needs of CGS within WA and in Australia especially in areas such as finance, management, promotion).

10. General Business

Members may discuss general business items with the Board

11.  Closing Prayer

12.  Conclude with Supper

Dated 23 August 2023


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd WA (Inc.)

Marie Fernandez


Why Formation in Pairs?

Sending people out two by two for formation.

Often when people want to be formed as catechists in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, they make arrangements with a formation leader to come and give the formation. This involves some organisation and some cost. So why does The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd recommend that two formation leaders give formation? Doesn’t that make it harder and more expensive?

First of all, anything that we have to invest time and money into will be valued higher than something given for free. There is something in our human nature that values something that costs us over that which is given to us. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is like a Precious Pearl (Matthew 13:46) which a merchant searched for his whole life until he finally found it, then he sold everything he had to buy that pearl. Sometimes it may be more like a Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) which we discover by accident in a field, then sell all to buy it. Whether we are searching for it or just come across it we find it is a treasure worth paying for.

Having two people give formation is a blessing both for the new catechists and for the formation leader. For the catechists, it allows them to see two different styles of presenting which helps to break the “script” idea that some tend to have when first beginning in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. There is a richness is being able to experience different approaches and styles and seeing the individuality of each Catechist as part of the gift (perhaps part of the wrapping) without changing the essential elements.

Two people presenting and reflecting, is also a way of overcoming listeners fatigue. Hearing a change in voice or having opportunities to divide up the reflections and promote discussion is also a catalyst for all participants to share their thoughts and discuss the work. Two people bring two sets of skills to offer. For example, one may be better at materials making, another may suit the pastoral needs of individuals better, etc. Two people also help to keep the formation from going off on a tangent or spending too much time in a discussion.

Jesus when he sent out his apostles to share the good news, sent them out in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1). I wonder why that would be? Would it not be easier for people to host just one apostle? Would they be able to cover twice as much ground if they went alone? So why would he choose that model? Perhaps the answer is also given by Jesus when he says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). Perhaps the answer lies in the need to have a second witness to enable people to see the word as truth.

I see the gift of having someone else on the team as someone to support me when I cannot find the words to answer a question, or when I need an experience to illustrate a point, but the memory does not come to mind. Sometimes people have questions or challenge the method and having someone there with you to problem solve helps. Sharing the load also makes the formation leaders more available to the participants and better meet the needs of the group. Each evening there is time to reflect together and choose the direction of the coming day, so that the formation is individualised to the needs of that particular group of catechists.

But I can see that there is something else that having two formation leaders gives. It brings the presence of the love of Jesus. Two people can model in their relationship the love of Jesus and the gift of friendship which is a charism of this work of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

About the Atrium

An Overview

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children.

It is rooted in the Bible, the Liturgy of the Church and the educational principles of Maria Montessori.

Children gather in an atrium, a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials they can use to help answer interior questions like:

“God who are you? How do you love us?”

About the Environment

“Like the environment of the Church, it is a place where the child can listen to the proclamation of the Good News, meditate on it and begin to live it according to the child’s own rhythm.

Different from the environment of the Church, the atrium is not only a place for announcement and celebration: it is also a place for work.

It is a particular environment in which work easily becomes meditation and prayer.”

Gianna Gobbi, 2000. (Listening to God with Children)

How can the atrium nourish a child’s faith development?

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is not so much a curriculum as an environment. Through the use of the materials in the environment the children are introduced to God.

The purpose of the Catechesis isn’t to teach children about God through information about scripture or liturgy. Rather the focus is on introducing children to an experience of God through scripture and liturgy.

The atrium is a special place for children. It is a place of prayer and meditation, not a classroom for instruction. It is holy ground where Christ is encountered through word and action. It is a place of worship and community—religious life.

Every work in the atrium is either a passage to prayer or prayer itself.

The Materials

The materials used in the atrium have been designed to meet the vital needs of each age group of the children. This is based on their capabilities according to the research of Maria Montessori.

They are in a size that will comfortably fit the child and sensorially appealing; made of natural materials (such as wood, metal and clay) and as much as possible are hand made by the catechists themselves.

The room is set out in a way that conveys the centrality of the parable for each age group; the Good Shepherd for ages 3-6 and the True Vine for ages 6-12. Arranged around these are the Eucharist, the sacraments, scripture and geography works.

The 3-6 Child

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 in the person of the Good Shepherd who died and is risen.

Materials they work with help make the mystery of God concrete. For example, a geography work of a 3D relief map of the land of Israel, establishes Jesus as a real person in time and space.

Their sense of wonder and delight are nurtured through selected parables on the mystery of God’s kingdom: they may wonder at how something as small as a mustard seed can grow into a large tree.

Their desire for knowing the names of things and ordering things in their environment is met in work such as the altar where they learn the names and lay out items as they are arranged at Mass.

The 6-12 Child

The parable of the True Vine is the central meditation for children in this age group.

The work here responds to the need of the older child to know their place in their relationship with God, family and the wider community.

A range of moral parables provides the opportunity for meditation on God’s love and enduring forgiveness.

Their love for detail is ministered to through breaking open different parts of the Mass and exploring it, deepening their knowledge and love of the Eucharist.

Timelines focusing on salvation history from Creation to Redemption to Parousia nurture their vivid imagination and their fascination with time; the past and the future. This leads to the wonder of all the many gifts we have received from God, culminating in God’s gift of his own life through Jesus.

There is an emphasis on our response to God’s amazing generosity and the responsibility that comes with receiving these gifts.

Alleluia!  He is risen.

The resurrection is something we recall all the time in the atrium. When we light a candle, at the altar table, in the Baptism corner, during communal prayer, we recall the light of the risen Christ, the light that is stronger than death.

In a very particular way we recognise the joy of the feast of Easter, a season that we have been waiting for, for so many weeks and will celebrate for even longer than the season of preparation, Lent. This joy is celebrated with the Liturgy of Light. Just as we do at the Easter Vigil, with the children we recall the story of Jesus death and celebrate his Resurrection. We light our Pascal candle and pray using the words from the Church’s Liturgy of Light.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

On this most sacred night,

in which our Lord Jesus Christ

passed over from death to life,

the Church calls upon her sons and daughters,

scattered throughout the world,

to come together to watch and pray.

If we keep the memorial of

 the Lord’s paschal solemnity in this way,

listening to his Word and celebrating his mysteries,

then we shall have the sure hope

of sharing his triumph over death

and living with him in God.

We process into a darkened atrium and see the light grow stronger as we each light our own candle from the Pascal Candle.

May the light of Christ rising in glory 

dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

Just as we are Baptised and filled with the light of the Risen Christ we too are called to share that light with all around us so that His light may illuminate the whole earth. And with the Easter Exsultet we too cry out with joy at the gift given to us, the gift of life forever in His kingdom. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Just as we are Baptised and filled with the light of the Risen Christ we too are called to share that light with all around us so that His light may illuminate the whole earth. And with the Easter Exsultet we too cry out with joy at the gift given to us, the gift of life forever in His kingdom. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Exult, let them exult,

the hosts of heaven, exult,

let Angel ministers of God exult,

let the trumpet of salvation

sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad,

as glory floods her,

ablaze with light from her eternal King,

let all corners of the earth be glad,

filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,

arrayed with the lightning of his glory,

let the holy building shake with joy,

And with the Church we pray

May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star;

the one Morning Star who never sets,

Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain,

has shed his peaceful light on humanity,

and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

The Feast of Christ the King

How do we introduce Christ the King in the atrium?

The method we use with the little children in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is to wonder about what God is telling us in his word and to look at signs and symbols for their hidden secrets.

Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King in 1925. The Pope wrote about his reasons for instituting this feast day in his encyclical, Quas Primas[i]. Some of the things he refers to seem to be echoed in the things we face today in a world that is rapidly turning to serving themselves and away from Christ.

A King implies there is a Kingdom. We learn about his kingdom through the parables. Jesus reveals to us the secrets of the kingdom of God but in a way where we have to ponder and seek. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed[ii], it is like a precious pearl[iii], like a treasure hidden in a field[iv], like yeast in bread[v]. How do these parables help us to understand what God’s kingdom is like? It is a mystery we can ponder for a long time. Something so small that grows to something so big. Something so precious that we look all of our lives to find it, or perhaps stumble across it when we are on our way to do other things. What is God’s kingdom? During advent we meditate on in the atrium is about the one who is to come. One who will rule:

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel [vi]

One who will have powerful names:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace[vii].

With some of the older children we meditate on our role in the kingdom. We ask questions of ourselves. How can I bring his kingdom closer? What can I do today? How do I live and continue to bring about God’s Plan of bringing all people to life in his kingdom? Each time we pray the Our Father we say the words:

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done[viii]”.

Are we aware of what we are asking for? Is it something we truly embrace? It makes me reflect on my own life. Am I continuing the help God’s kingdom to come now, here, in my everyday thoughts and action? Am I longing for Parousia when God will be all in all[ix] and his kingdom will have no end[x]? Sofia Cavalletti in her book The History of God From Creation to Parousia[xi] says

“Thus, the history continues straining toward a hope: the salvation of all people and the expansion of the covenant to the “ends of the earth,” when the saved person will carry with him or her the entire universe, “which has been groaning in labor pains until now” (Romans 8:22). Indeed, the redemption of the universe is connected to human redemption. Just as the earth was cursed because of humankind’s sin, so, too, it will be restored and redeemed by the influence – positive this time – that redeemed human beings exercise upon it[xii]. Thus, all things will be recapitulated in Christ, who will reinstate the kingdom of God, and his kingdom will have no end.”