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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium

Our Atrium is like a retreat center for children.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Happy are they who dwell in your house! Continually they praise you.

Psalm 84: 2-3,5

"Atrium" is what the entrance space in ancient Basilicas was called. This space had special significance in the preparation of catechumens before their full entrance into the Church. In the CGS, it is a “dwelling place” of prayer designed specifically to meet the spiritual needs of children. By means of the beauty, silence and prayer fostered here, the mystery of the child encounters the mystery of God. Lovely handmade materials to work and pray with, proclamations of God’s Word, meditation and song; all appropriate to the child’s way of approaching God, invite them into a lifelong relationship with the Good Shepherd who gives “life to the full.”

Young children are most open to the enjoyment of being in relationship with God. Before the Catechism is to be learned, children delight to simply bask in the love of God; to be known, called by name, and to belong to the Good Shepherd. Every child of God should receive the great gift of coming with joy into the “courts of the Lord” in the Atrium.

This touchstone experience will provide a “heart orientation” of love for continuing moral formation as your child grows to adulthood. For as a wise person once said: “when all is said and done, one cannot obey more than one loves.”

when all is said and done,
one cannot obey more than one loves


Our Atrium facilitates a touchstone experience that will provide a “heart orientation” of love for continuing moral formation as your child grows to adulthood.

Since 2003, John XXIII Montessori Center has offered CGS programs to the Front Royal community.



The Atrium is the heart of our Children’s Center; it is an integral part of our  Academic programs and a stand-alone CAtrium program with weekly sessions.

Approved in the Arlington diocese for use as a catechetical program for the sacramental preparation of children 3-12 years of age, our CGS sessions for children ages 1 - 12 have ongoing enrollment while there is available space. Leading the John XXIII Atria are experienced Catechists who are certified by the National CGS office.

At John XXIIIMCC we offer several Atrium session options



for 1 - 3 year-olds


Level I

for 3-6 year-olds


Level II

for 6-9 year-olds*


Level III

for 9-12 year-olds**

*Level II includes First Confession and Communion Sacramental Preparation. Click here for First Communion Parent Information PDF)

**Level III includes Confirmation Preparation for twelve year olds in their final Atrium year.

Want To Visit?

We invite you to come observe the beauty and joy of our Atrium environments. Click the button below to see visiting dates & times.

Want To Learn More?

We also invite you to learn more about CGS. For more information about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, click the button below.

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