Students at The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori participate in a variety of liturgical and worship celebrations, including:
- Weekly Mass
- Seasonal celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Traditional devotions, such as Stations of the Cross and May Crowning
- Classroom prayer
- Seasonal para-liturgies
Celebration of the Eucharist
Each Friday, GSCM students, staff, and many parents celebrate the source and summit of the Catholic life, the Eucharist. Students from grades 1-8 attend weekly Mass. Kindergartners join us at Mass during the second half of the year.
Students participate fully in preparation and liturgical ministries for the Mass. Classes rotate planning and leading Masses. Liturgical ministries for children include:
- Call to worship
- Altar servers
- Gift bearers
- Choral singers
Non-Catholic students and students too young to receive Holy Communion are invited to receive a priestly blessing during distribution of Communion.
In addition to weekly all-school liturgies, elementary students experience a more intimate “Atrium Mass” two to three times per year. In an “atrium Mass,” a priest celebrates Mass in the atrium (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd learning environment) with a class of children. Following the Mass, students have the opportunity to reflect on meaningful moments of the celebration they just experienced and to have further dialogue/questions and answers with the priest.
The “atrium Mass” is a wonderful opportunity to provide a very personal, close experience of liturgy for children, and to increase their understanding and love of the celebration of the Mass.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered two to three times per year, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent.
Stations of the Cross
During Holy Week, students pray the Stations of the Cross in small groups in the church. Teachers lead their kindergartners; fourth and fifth graders lead small groups of lower elementary students; and middle school students lead sixth graders in praying the Stations.
We honor our school’s patroness, Mary, Queen of Angels, each May with a traditional May Crowning. After an outdoor “living Rosary”, students process to sing Marian hymns and crown a statue of the Blessed Mother.
Elementary and middle school students traditionally begin Catholic Schools Week with Eucharistic Adoration. Sometimes, we are able to provide this opportunity to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament more than one time per year.
Each classroom has a prayer table as a focal point for regular classroom prayer. When beginning a new liturgical season, the prayer table is set with the new liturgical color and appropriate images in the context of a procession. During regular communal prayer at the prayer table, the younger students enjoy songs, brief scripture readings, silence, and spontaneous spoken prayer.
Older students take on more and more leadership for planning, organizing, and leading daily communal prayer, incorporating selections from the following elements: singing, Scripture, psalms and canticles, spontaneous petitions and prayers of thanksgiving, formal prayer, and silent prayer.
Two of the guiding principles of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd are:
- The transmission of the Christian message in the atrium has a celebrative character.
- In harmony with the universal church, the life of the atrium follows the liturgical year; therefore, moments which are particularly intense are those of Christmas/Epiphany and Easter/Pentecost.
In keeping with these principles, seasonal celebrations are integral to the children’s atrium experience in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. These atrium celebrations include:
- Christmas/Epiphany celebration
- Celebration of the Last Supper
- “Liturgy of Light” Easter celebration
- Pentecost celebration
These celebrations are very joyful and prayerful, and must be lived with the children to be appreciated.
Images from the “Liturgy of Light” Easter para-liturgy: