Elementary Faith Formation



Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

“Help me come closer to God by myself.”

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to religious formation that is rooted in scripture, the liturgy of the Church, and Montessori principles.  CGS is a new curriculum to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but has been used in parishes around the world for over 50 years.  We have been working hard for over a year to bring this program to OLMC, and are pleased to now be able to offer Level 1 for the youngest members (3-5 years old) of our community.


Cost:  1 child:        $150

           2 children:   10% discount

*Only children of the same immediate family qualify for discounts.


Location: Atrium (B2)

Sessions:Children attend only one session time.

               Sunday         9:30am - 11:00am

               Tuesday        9:30am - 11:00am

               Wednesday    9:30am - 11:00am             



Since 1954, in Rome, Italy, Sofia Cavalletti has pursued the revelation of the young child’s religious potential through fifty years of research and published material at both the preschool and elementary levels. With the “self-teaching” principles of Maria Montessori and the theological moorings of Hebrew scholarship, Scripture studies and Roman Catholic liturgy and doctrine, Cavalletti and her co-worker, Gianna Gobbi, developed an approach which not only appealed to the profound religious intuition of younger and older children, but which evolved from the children themselves. Today the work (still active in Rome) can be found in cities all over the world.



An interpersonal relationship is always a mystery, all the more so when that relationship is between God and the child. We believe that there is a deep bond between God and the child which produces in the child the desire to draw near to God. The catechists’ role is to prepare the environment and to make presentations that “call forth” the child’s response rather than “pour in” information. They listen with the child and together ask, “God, who are you? How do you love us?”  The adult reflects with the child on the questions generated by the presentations with the materials offered to the child to aid the child’s reflections.


The Atrium

The atrium is one of the elements that helps the relationship between God and the child flourish. After a theme has been presented, the child is free to choose an activity that will make possible the inner dialogue with the “Interior Teacher.” The atrium helps to nourish this relationship in several ways: the atrium can be compared to a retreat house facilitating recollection and silence; the atrium is a place for religious life, for community and worship—not a classroom for instruction; the atrium is a place of work which becomes a conversation with God; the atrium was the place in the early church where the catechumens were prepared. For the child, too, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger parish community.


Level 1 - For the Younger Child (Ages 3-5)

The 3-6 year-old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith—the announcement of God’s love, in the person of the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen.  Materials on the life of Christ and his teachings help make the mystery of God concrete for the child. The geography materials establish Jesus as a real person in the time and space and Israel as the land through which God realized salvation for all. Infancy narratives announce the Incarnation with the words of Scripture, moving from the Annunciation, to the Birth of Christ, to the Flight into Egypt. The model of Jerusalem and the empty tomb are the starting point for the Paschal narratives which the child lives in a special way in celebrating the Liturgy of Light.  Selected parables serve as keys to unlock the mystery of the kingdom of God and to nurture the child’s natural sense of wonder. How beautiful and precious is the kingdom of God! How small it begins! How slowly it grows! How magnificent it becomes!  Through the arranging of the chalice, paten, altar cloth, candles, and crucifix, the child becomes familiar with the articles of the Eucharist. The child lives his relationship with God in a particular way in the liturgy—the child enters the mystery of the Eucharist through the most important gestures including the preparation of the chalice, the epiclesis and offering, and the gesture of peace. From these gestures the Eucharist emerges as the Sacrament of the Gift. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His resurrection.

The liturgical colors and calendar situate the child in the Church year, expressing the Paschal Mystery—Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Our prayer table reflects the liturgical cycle with appropriate colors, prayers, and songs.


Grades 1-5

Elementary Faith Formation

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” 

Proverb 22:6

Our Elementary Faith Formation is designed to aid in cultivating and fostering the Catholic faith in children ages 1st through 5th grades.  Children meet once a week in a classroom setting where they are instructed in the beliefs and practices of their Catholic faith using the Faith and Life Series curriculum.  Our goal is to give each child an opportunity to personally encounter Jesus Christ through the awe and wonderment before the Living God and his Word.


Cost:     1 child:        $100

              2 children:   10% discount

              3 children:   20% discount

*Only children of the same immediate family qualify for discounts.

General Class Times: 6:00pm to 7:15pm

               Tuesday:        1st, 3rd, & 5th grades

               Wednesday:  2nd & 4th grades

Please see our Policy Handbook for a list of all Faith Formation requirements and a full class calendar.

 Policy Handbook

For Students with Special Needs

Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish offers a supplemental faith formation class for children ages 5 years old to High school with any learning and/or developmental disabilities that would benefit from a class taught with their needs in mind.  These classes are taught by an ABA therapist, Nicole Alvarez, who specializes in working with children with autism and their families. Nicole has worked with children with various disabilities in a variety of settings and looks forward to bringing God’s Word to the little ones of OLMC.  The class will meet most first Sunday of the month from 11:30AM-12:30PM (during Mass) in Classroom B1.  Please see our Policy booklet for specific calendar dates as some months dates may vary.

Note: There are no fees to enroll for this class.


Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Children's Liturgy of the Word presents the Sunday readings during the Mass to children ages 5-8 years old.

Masses:        Sunday          9:45am & 11:30am

Child Care

Child care is offered for children ages 18 months to 4 years old during the 9:45am Sunday Mass.  It is located on the north side of the Fr. Frank Fawcett Hall in the small conference room. There are no fees or registration necessary prior to attendance.

There are no fees or registration necessary prior to attendance.


For Further information please contact: Jenna Jackson (858) 484-1070 Ext. 325 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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