Our Work Since 1995
In 1995 a group of catechists of the Washington DC area formed the Center for Children and Theology to study and support the spiritual formation of children, building on the work of Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Since we began we have developed resources and hosted gatherings of catechists to inspire and share the research needed to keep CGS rooted in the life of children today and in the best theology and liturgy of the Christian tradition.
Here are some highlights of our work since that September evening:
- March, atriums and courses close due to Covid – 19 Pandemic. CCTheo shifts to online sessions to complete Level I and Level II courses.
- CCTheo Conversations begins with “Let’s Talk About Truth” with Ann Garrido in June, 3 sessions in July discussing serving children online during the pandemic, and Building the Beloved Atrium Community, with Anita Vincent and Kristi Medley in August.
- September – Happy Anniversary CCTheo!
- October 3-6, Weaving Our Gifts gathers in Washington, DC. Keynote speaker: Jennifer Morgan.
- July: Violence and Nonviolence in Scripture: Helping Children understand Challenging Stories by Catherine Maresca (LTP) tracing a foundation of nonviolence for children through key Gospel and Torah passages.
- Coming in September: When You Were Baptized by Catherine Maresca (LTP) a picture book for children introducing the signs of baptism and their roots in daily life.
- First cohort of CARA (Catechist Action Research Alliance) meets with Dr. John Chattin McNichols for an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research and to plan and initiate research projects.
- Translated and published Silence in the Shadow of Speech by Helene Lubienska de Lenval, a colleague of Maria Montessori who explored developing religious materials with children in France. Translated by Elizabeth MacArthur.
- Collaborative on Sacramental Preparation small group of catechists gathered for three days to study and plan Sacramental Preparation within the diocesan/parish/ local constraints of their programs. Deb Pelletier, Catherine Maresca.
- Publication of a set of 3-part language cards to introduce World Religions to older children. Includes, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism.
- Collaborative on Parent Education, small group of catechists gathered for three days to study and plan CGS Parent Education for their programs. Deb Pelletier, Catherine Maresca, Becky Rochford.
- 2012-2019 Developed and published materials for Hands on Faith for Level III children-adults to experience a taste of other religions. Includes Hands on Buddhism (Martha Lange), Hands on Islam (Catherine Maresca with Nia Seele), and Hands on Judaism (Nora Howell with Rabbi Marcia Prager).
- Published three sets of Still Waters by Pam Leskowyak, A Season to Grow, Emmanuel and Beloved, with materials for prayer with groups of adults, creating an experience of the freedom of choice and work the atrium provides.
- Life in the Sheepfold, a video of Catherine Maresca with four parents presenting the Good Shepherd, followed by a discussion of the method and theological content of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
- Introduced networking sessions with Anna Hurdle at the American Montessori Society annual conferences for Faith Based Montessori Environments.
- Publication of Parenting: a Sacred Path by Patience Robbins, a book for personal or group reflection on the spiritual journey of parenting.
- Publication of The Mysteries of the Rosary for Children written and illustrated by Cy Speltz, presenting a visual and prayerful walk through the life of Christ following the twenty mysteries of the Catholic rosary.
- Publication of The Seed of God by Genelda Woggon, a set of five small books in English/Spanish that can bring the good news of the Mustard Seed, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection, Baptism, and Growing in the Light to children at home, and in churches throughout Central America. Now also available in Haitian Creole/French for use in Haiti.
- DoubleClose, the Young Child’s Knowledge of God, by Catherine Maresca, published by Treehaus Communications.
- Edited and recorded Sing with Joy (2002) and Songs of Love (2004), collections of songs for the Level I and II/III atriums. Written by Catherine Maresca, recorded by children of Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville. Published by Treehaus Communications.
- 2002 – present, biannual gathering Weaving Our Gifts, a Conference of Catechists. This national gathering brings a keynote speaker from areas of study connected to CGS to deepen our knowledge and practice of Montessori pedagogy, Biblical studies, Liturgical studies, scientific studies of both the universe and the human person and more. Breakout sessions are offered by catechists to their peers, sharing various areas of expertise they have developed. Initiated by Deb Pelletier, Susan Piescik, Catherine Maresca, Kristi Medley
- 2002 – present, Round Tables for local catechists, 2-3 annually, exploring themes to support the practice of CGS in our atria.
- 2000 to present: Developed a variety of materials to support work or presentations in the atrium, including guidesheets to learn simple calligraphy, art prints of original paintings by Tracy Councill for the Mystery of Faith, set of four Prophecies introduced in Level I for use in the atrium or at home by Judy Main, MusicMaker guide sheets for songs of the atrium prepared by Beverly Sanders, an icon of the Good Shepherd by John Snogren.
- 2000-present, publication of Occasional Papers, presenting the research of catechists and experts whose work intersects with our own.
- 1995-2015, 2-3 issues/year of ECHOES. Each issue focuses on a topic of interest to catechists and parents of young children.
- 1995-present publication of Scripture booklets that correspond to the materials in the atrium of Level I and Level II. Calligraphy and art by Joan Bennett and Anna Gilbert.
- 1995 – present: CGS courses Level I, Level II, and Level III, led by Catherine Maresa, Jill Hall, and Davette Himes as well as the Parent Toddler Course, developed and led by Davette Himes.