The Catholic Parish of Bundaberg Atrium of the Good Shepherd
Located behind Holy Rosary Church, the Atrium of the Good Shepherd is now inviting families with children aged 3 to 5 years old to enrol their child. Sessions in the Atrium occur once a week for 2 hours. For more information or to enrol your child, please contact the Parish Office.
An Introduction to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Based on the premise that there is a strong bond between God and the child, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation programme for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years..
The central aim of this programme is to help nurture and strengthen this relationship. We do this by creating a specially prepared environment where the child can foster their own relationship with God. Our task is then to serve the child in this environment in a way that calls forth their own response to this relationship. In this way we are helping the child with their silent plea.
The Prepared Environment – The Atrium
The atrium is the name of the place we prepare for the child to come and build their own relationship with God. How does the atrium help to nourish this relationship?
The atrium –
- Can be compared to a retreat centre.
- Is a place for religious life, community and worship, rather than a room for religious instruction.
- Is a place that facilitates a conversation with God.
In the early church, the atrium (or foyer) of the church was the place where catechumens were prepared for initiation into the church. For the child too, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshipping community.
The materials in the atrium are intended for use by children as aids to meditation and prayer. After being presented with a theme using the materials, the child is free to choose an activity that will lead them into conversation with God.
These materials are closely linked to their biblical and liturgical sources. They are hand crafted by the adults who work with the children. In the atrium they are displayed attractively to invite the child to explore the themes presented through these materials, at their own pace and rhythm.
The materials cover elements of:
- Practical Life (activities related to everyday life and care of the atrium)
For the Young Child Ages 3-5
The 3-5 year old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith. The central theme for this age is the announcement of God’s love in the person of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
At this level, the children are introduced to the atrium with practical life materials, geography of the land of Israel and the liturgical colours we see at Mass. Other works include Infancy Narratives, Parables of the Kingdom, important gestures from the Mass, Paschal Narratives and the celebration of Baptism.