Youth Faith Formation

Faith Formation Schedule 2023-2024


Registration is CLOSED for 2023-24 school year.

Here is a short video about our schedule for the year ahead:

Our CTR Montessori-style Atrium spaces. For a personal tour, contact Suzy Rhadigan at formationcoordinator@ctredeemer.org or our main office at 248-391-1621.




Faith Formation at Christ the Redeemer is rooted in the contemplative, Montessori-based style of spiritual development called

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS).

CGS uses Montessori teaching principles to present the most essential realities of the Christian faith to children of all ages so as to nourish and develop an informed and genuine relationship with God.

Specially designed materials and inspiring presentations help children to “fall in love with God” and explore topics of faith appropriate to their developmental age, such as:

  • The Life of Christ
  • The Wonder of the Kingdom of God
  • The Plan of God/History of the Kingdom of God
  • Sacraments
  • Moral Formation through Parables, Virtues, Maxims, and Service
  • Sacred Scripture/The Bible: Hebrew (Old Testament) and Christian (New Testament) Studies

The outcome is a profoundly personal and joyful expression of faith, unique to each child’s relationship with God.

Preparing a Sacred Space for Children – a 3 minute video


Faith Formation Atria at CTR – a 15 minute video


The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the Christian formation of children developed in 1954 through the work Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew Scripture scholar, and her co-worker Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator. After 50 years of working with children all over the world, these women found that whatever their culture, children respond with great joy to certain elements of the Christian message. This observation shaped the core content and methodology of the catechesis that has now spread to over 35 countries.

Scripture, liturgy, salvation history, and sacramental signs provide the content of the catechesis – with a special emphasis on scripture. The Archdiocese of Detroit and The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan have both endorsed this unique approach to faith formation and recognize its substantial theological content, sound principles and proven methodology.

Through this remarkably effective style of faith formation, the children have an experience of spiritual enrichment that is profoundly biblical and sacramental … and prayerful as well. The kind of knowledge that Jesus wills for His disciples is not a limited, academic knowledge, but a knowing that addresses the whole person – heart, soul, and mind. Therefore, while the children receive a thoroughly informed formation, the primary aim of the catechesis is to lead the child to an authentic, joyful relationship with God.

Underlying Principles

Underlying the entire catechesis are the following principles:

  • God and the child have a relationship that catechesis seeks to serve with reverence and respect.
  • The child is capable of perceiving the greatest realities of faith, and must never be talked down to.
  • The catechist is a servant of a message that is not his or her own, and together with the child must humbly listen to God’s word.
  • The child must be given the opportunity to discover the truth on as deep a level as possible.
  • Prayer, contemplation, and silence are natural components of the child’s religious life, and must be honored.
  • Providing a joyful journey for the child and the adult is the essence of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Montessori educational principles underlie the methodology of the Good Shepherd program. A trained teacher/catechist prepares a special environment called an “atrium” for the children’s work, worship, and reflection. Catechetical materials allow the children to work independently once the materials have been presented.

The Atrium

“The Atrium” is the name for the prepared environment offered to the children in this Catechesis of the Good Shepherd style of Faith Formation. The atrium is intended to offer a retreat-like atmosphere for children. It is a place where children experience the joy of falling in love with God. We enthusiastically invite parents to tour and/or assist in this beautiful spiritual environment for our children. You are welcome to email our Director of Religious Education, Suzy Rhadigan, at formationcoordinator@ctredeemer.org at anytime for a personal tour of our atrium spaces and an introduction to our methodology and curriculum.

Sacramental Preparation

Sacramental Preparation is part of our curriculum in atrium two, however, reception is not tied to any one age or grade level. Sacramental preparation is a particularly rich and joyful time that provides life-long memories for children, therefore our aim is to remove any anxiety that might come from feelings of “being behind” or “needing to catch up.”

We recognize and deeply respect the parental role as primary catechists of their children, therefore we listen intently to when the parent(s) deem the time is right and when their children feel ready and prepared. If you have any questions about sacramental preparation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • First Communion Preparation (typically in 2nd grade)
  • First Reconciliation Preparation (typically prepared in 2nd, celebrated in 4th grade)

If you have any questions about sacramental preparation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For a more detailed look at our curriculum, CLICK HERE for a printable PDF.

* Portions of the text on this page are taken from the booklet, “The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”, published by the National Center for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Oak Park, IL and the website for The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori school in Cincinnati, OH.

During the pandemic we developed a virtual program called Family Sabbath. Also, Lisa Brown, Director of Religious Education, filmed a series of videos from her “little atrium” at home that provide a glimpse into some of the presentations offered in the atrium.

It’s important to note that our lessons are much more dialogic in nature when the children are present in person – wondering and talking with the catechist. It is very difficult (impossible really) to translate to a video/virtual format the profound exchanges and “ah ha!” moments that happen in our atrium spaces – for both the children and the catechist alike! But, these videos give you a little taste… NOTE: Click on the square icon in the lower right corner of a video to enlarge it to full size or to reduce it.

Articles about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd:
1. The Faith of a Child: An increasingly popular approach to teaching young people the faith – CLICK HERE
2. Religious education is broken. It’s time to fix our Sunday school culture – CLICK HERE
3. Montessori schools are exceptionally successful. So why aren’t there more of them? – CLICK HERE

Atrium Stories – CLICK HERE
Ribbon Lesson – CLICK HERE
Serendipity – CLICK HERE
Preschoolers – CLICK HERE
Where is Everybody? – CLICK HERE
Purpose of “Works” – CLICK HERE