"At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me." (Mt 18:1-5)
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious formation of children 3-12 years of age. The catechesis is based on the conviction that God and the child are already in a relationship. The atrium is the environment where adults help a child to live fully the encounter with God, and where formation takes place. It's one of the elements that help the relationship between God and the child to flourish, making the atrium a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshiping community.
Meeting Times for 2023-2024
- Mondays 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
- Tuesdays 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
- Tuesdays 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
- Wednesdays 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
- Wednesdays 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
CGS Parent Calendar for 2023-2024
The children attend one 90-minute session a week. The last ten to fifteen minutes of a session are spent in prayer. From time to time the children may desire to remain longer in prayer.
Sign-up for classes begins on June 6th for registered St. Anne Parishioners. Families who are not registered at St. Anne will be able to sign up for classes at a later date in early July.
Plan your visit
We're happy to have you observe this sacred space. In fact, we encourage it! To preserve the natural rhythm of the atrium we ask that you let your child's catechist know when you would like to come for a visit, so that a place can be prepared for you. Prior to your visit, please review a copy of the guidelines on observation of the atrium, which you can request from your child’s catechist.
Sacramental Policies (for baptized children)
- Reconciliation - Children, who have reached the age of reason, which is generally considered to be 7 years old and in second grade, may prepare in their atrium session for this sacrament.
- Communion and Confirmation - Children in third or fourth grade who have completed one year of catechesis (during which they prepared for reconciliation) may prepare in their atrium session for these sacraments. Children will be Confirmed and receive First Holy Communion at the same sacred liturgy.
- Family participation is required. All parents must take their children to Mass, pray with them daily, attend parent workshops in the fall, and work with their children throughout the year on materials and workbooks which will be sent home at the workshops.
Those who are not yet baptized, as well those baptized in a non-Catholic or different faith, who are looking to learn more about the Catholic faith please visit our OCIA page to see how you can become a member of the universal Church.
Policies at St. Anne
As Catholics, we respect the dignity of the human person and know that each child of the atrium has unique gifts and challenges. To help each child fall more deeply in love with God, the catechist and assistant work with the children to create a peaceful and prayerful environment. Of course, this does not mean that the rooms are entirely silent. Still, it does mean that we expect all children to respect one another, the materials, and the adults. The catechists are well-formed and able to redirect most children to good work. When this is not possible, it becomes the responsibility of the parent. Suppose your child has a particular need or behavioral challenge which requires more than gentle verbal redirection. In that case, you must be able to attend the atrium with your child, offer gentle correction, which they follow, or take them outside for a break or further discussion, as needed. This involvement will require that you take the diocesan safe environment training and complete the background check. You can do this online at https://phoenix.cmgconnect.org/. We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining a safe, prayerful, and enjoyable environment for all the children.
For children who are preparing for sacraments, additional workbooks or worksheets will be provided. Parents of children preparing for sacraments are required to attend a parent workshop in the fall to discuss the preparation process, and must pray daily and attend Mass regularly with their children.
For information on diocesan policies visit the following links from the Diocese of Phoenix website: