From the mouth of students themselves
How do 3-6 year olds describe Jesus’ love? These kids’ statements will put a smile on your face for the rest of the day. Enjoy this list of student realizations that we received from St. Thomas More School in Omaha.
Evangelization is underway at St. Thomas More School every day. In 2017, St. Thomas More implemented the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program and prepared a special environment called an Atrium. Through this hands-on religious program (for 3-6 year olds), students have experienced the love of the Good Shepherd in a special way. Their joy of learning and experiencing God’s love is expressed in their artwork, prayers and comments, a few of which are shared below from St. Thomas More staff member Kathy Pflug:
- A preschool boy commented, “Jesus is our first brother, Mary is our Mother and God is our Father”.
- A preschool girl had a revelation. She said, “You mean Jesus is God? He has two names!”
- One boy in kindergarten emphatically raised his hand and said, “God made us for Himself.”
- A first grader, after seeing the presentation of the Empty Tomb and learning of Jesus’ resurrection said in an excited and amazed voice, “Is that going to happen to us?”
- A boy in our transitional kindergarten program, after seeing the Presentation of the Last Supper, prayed, “Thank you for the Church.”
- A girl in preschool, after the Good Shepherd Presentation, made an announcement to her fellow students, “Everybody listen. This is not pretend. Jesus is God and the Good Shepherd is for real!” During a Christmas session, this same girl was asked why baby Jesus was special. She said, “Because He made the whole world. People didn’t believe in Him but I believe in Him.”
- After seeing the Empty Tomb presentation, another preschool girl commented, “He died because he didn’t want us to die.”
- While drawing a picture of the Good Shepherd, a Preschool boy said, “I feel like I am by God.”
- A second grade girl participated in the Good Shepherd presentation where she heard that the Good Shepherd knows her by name, calls her to follow Him and lays down His life for her. After the presentation she asked how the Good Shepherd could be with her if He lays down His life. Her question was answered through the Presentation of the Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd. She understood that the Good Shepherd would always be with her in the Eucharist and she was joyful in this knowledge.
- One 2ndgrade boy, after the presentation of the Good Shepherd and the Found Sheep, commented, “I am the lost sheep”. When he returned to the Atrium next, he joyfully said, “I love the Good Shepherd.”
- After the Good Shepherd Presentation, one boy in preschool said, “How about if we put the sheep in the circle and listen to God.”
- A boy in transitional kindergarten was very taken by the Liturgy of the Light Celebration. His prayer was, “Thank you for our souls.” He added, “The light of Jesus is in our hearts.”
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is unique in that the children have an age appropriate, retreat-like experience. The environment has hands-on materials and joyful prayer and music that lead to a true conversion of heart. To assist this, handouts are sent home that explain what is presented during CGS sessions and includes ideas to further prayer at home.
Go ahead and ask YOUR Catholic school student: how would YOU describe Jesus’ love?
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To explore further about the elements of a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) program, feel free to visit the official website at https://www.cgsusa.org/. Many parishes and schools within the Archdiocese of Omaha have onsite atriums and CGS programming. If you’re curious about a list, you may email Beth at Bccarlson@archomaha.org.
Does you have an experience to share about your child bringing home the Catholic faith? Email Blair at BBonczynski@archomaha.org.