Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

College Park

Revamped Kid Track Requires Early Registration

Published April 26, 2012

Young people ages 5 to 12 attending the ADORE! Kid Track will experience a unique type of hands-on learning about the Catholic faith.

Space is limited, and parents must register their children online prior to the congress weekend to reserve a spot. Only 400 spaces are available.

The program begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, and children must be picked up between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

Under the leadership of two veteran faith leaders, children will participate in a hands-on, interactive faith education program.

Called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, it has children gather in a room specially prepared for them, called an atrium, with materials that they use to draw near to God. In an atrium the child can think about a biblical passage or a prayer by taking material for that text and interacting with it—placing figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd or setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table.  It is based on the foundations of the Montessori education program.

Karen Maxwell, a long-time religious education instructor, embraces this innovative way of passing along the faith to youngsters. Maxwell has seen her own faith enriched by this program as she offered it for young children over the past 21 years, beginning with her own 4-year-old daughter.

She serves as director of formation for the National Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a membership organization that seeks to support catechists and formation leaders in offering CGS courses and provides information for those interested in knowing more about this approach to religious formation for children.

Maxwell lives in Marietta with her family and now looks forward to being a catechist with her first grandson in a few years.

Another leader is Mary Mirrione, who discovered in this program the ways that young children can be joyful about God’s love.

She was deeply moved and delighted in developing an atrium for her parish family. She was sent to explore the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in 1992 by her pastor, who had seen an atrium at another parish and wanted it for the children of St. Anne in Gilbert, Ariz.

Since that time she has served as a catechist with the children of her parish, as director of formation serving their parents and catechists and also as a mentor for those working with children for the Diocese of Phoenix.

She now serves as the national director for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the United States.

To register children online, go to registration.html.