St. Margaret Mary Church in Big Sandy Hosts Catechesis Formation Program

Over sixty years ago, a Scripture scholar was asked by a parent "How would you explain the Bible to children?" The Scripture scholar only knew how to teach adults, so she approached Maria Montessori for help. Out of this grew the Montessori religious formation program "Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" (CGS) for children 3 to 12 years of age, used by catechists throughout the world, including Canada, the United States, Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and Mexico.

Three formation leaders, Theologian and author, Dr. Ann Garrido, from Florida, Autumn Domingue, Texas, and Anita Vincent , Pennsylvania, presented a five-day session (June 6-10) at St. Margaret Mary Church in Big Sandy. Twenty-four catechists attended from far and near: Newtown and Mandaree on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota; Lander/Ft. Washakie, Wyoming; St. Jude's in Havre; St. Thomas in Lodge Pole/Ft. Belknap; St. Mary's in Chester; St. Mary's in Rocky Boy, St. Anthony in Box Elder and St. Margaret Mary in Big Sandy, and several observers from Immaculate Conception in Ft. Benton. Each day brought new insights and wonderment and deeper understanding of Scripture and Liturgy to participants. Among those attending were a deacon and his wife, a priest and a school principal from North Dakota.

The parishes of St. Mary in Rocky Boy, St. Anthony, Box Elder and St. Margaret Mary in Big Sandy initiated CGS over twelve years ago. Catechists have received on-going training for certification each year. The main aim of CGS is that of "involving adults and children in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood (contemplation and enjoyment of God) are predominant." Other aims include building community among catechists in supporting their work with children in aiding the growth of the spirit of this method of catechesis, establishing rapport with the wider ecclesial community, and encouraging, documenting, and spreading the research related to the religious life of the child through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. To learn more about CGS, go to

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