Welcome to Atrium
In the Atrium, our students participate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. This is a Christian faith formation process for enrolled students in grades PreK3-3rd grade. It is based on the belief that children can and do experience and form an authentic, faithful relationship with God.
The program is grounded in the Scripture, Tradition, and Liturgy of the Catholic Church and takes place in a prayerful, age-appropriate environment, in which the child can explore the Gospel through the use of hands-on materials.
The task of the catechist is to prepare the environment and make the presentations that call forth the child’s response and to help the child fully experience the encounter with God. This unique environment is called the Atrium. The Atrium is calm and peaceful, a sacred space of community and worship where both the child and adult can be with and enjoy God, listen to His word, and pray. Together, both the adult and child develop the ability to listen as they ask together, “God, who are you and how do you love us?”
For Preschool and Kindergarten students, the curriculum offered at this level helps the child to understand the basics of our faith, and to “fall in love with Jesus.”
For 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students, the presentations and materials at this level help the child deepen their relationship with Jesus and the larger community, thereby broadening their understanding of the Mass as they prepare for and celebrate the sacrament of Communion.
At all levels, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd provides a special place of preparation for involvement in the larger community of worship, as well as a place of work and wonder that becomes a conversation with God.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program was born from the joy of the children in their encounter with God and lives in being nourished by this joy. It has also been observed that children of the same developmental stage even though belonging to different cultural backgrounds, respond to certain elements of the Christian message in the same way. Over time, through being with children in a specially prepared environment called an atrium, observing and listening to their responses, a set of scriptural and liturgical themes were developed that most resonated with children’s religious needs according to their age levels. Thus, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd divests itself of any strictly scholastic character, and becomes an experience of life, an education in faith, and a celebration of the encounter with the Father, in listening to Jesus, the one Teacher, and in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
In Atrium, students learn all about how to properly set up a Prayer Table. Use this QR code to help set up your own prayer table at home:
Meet our Catechists
The lead catechist in this class is Mrs. Susan Markoch. She has been at StMM for 21 years as a Teacher Assistant for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, and most recently, served as Co-Catechist in the Atrium last year.
Mrs. Susan Rist-Sbraccia is the Assistant Catechist in the Atrium this year. She has been a catechist in the Faith Formation program at StMM for 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades. She has also worked as both a Substitute Teacher and Teacher Assistant with Wake County public Schools for several years.
Both of our teachers looking forward to sharing the love of the Good Shepherd with StMM students!