Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4:00 PM MST
Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM MST

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The Franciscan Renewal Center (The Casa) 
5802 E. Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85253

Driving Directions 


Lisa Kelley 
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 
480- 874-3758 

The United States Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is delighted to offer:

A Seminal Infant-Toddler Catechesis Formation 

Part 1: April 18th - April 25, 2021

Part 2: April 25th - April 30, 2022

Part One of this course will begin on the evening of Sunday, April 18th at 4 pm and will run from 9 AM - 5PM each day from April 19-24.  The last session on Sunday, April 25 will end after lunch at 1 pm. 

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!  My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise!

 Psalm 84:1-4

Infant-Toddler Catechesis is an exploration of the very youngest child's spirituality springing from the discovery of the child's nature and religious potential revealed by the Holy Spirit and the children to Maria Montessori, Sofia Cavalletti, Gianna Gobbi, Silvana Montanaro and those who continue to listen and observe the child in God's light.

Already we know that the atrium is the place where the mystery of God meets the mystery of the child - could we not say that it is the place they meet again? For we must ask, was there ever a time when the Creator was not in love with His creature and the creature was not touched by His love, sustained and formed by it, called into being love himself? Who is this child who floods her mother's womb with warmth at Christ's very name?

Topics Covered in Part 1

  Creation, Nature, Humanity, Marriage, 

The Womb, Birth, Baptism, Infancy

The Home 

This course will begin with a silent retreat experience and cover the life of the family in relationship to God, marriage, pregnancy, birth and infancy in light of the discovery of the youngest’s child's nature and religious potential. Part 2 of this course will also cover the seminal contents of the Toddler Atrium which will include: a silent journey of a "toddler atrium" as seen at the National Office at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We will explore the themes of Level I and any presentations derived from a most essential offering of those themes. This is a seminal course which means it is just beginning to be used with infants and toddlers.  You are invited to join us in the work and observation of the youngest!

The Infant-Toddler Catechesis Formation Course will be led by the formation team of Elizabeth Calanchini, and Mary Mirrione.  In October 2014, at the International Celebration of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the breakout session on the Toddler Atrium offered by Elizabeth Calanchini sparked a growing interest in how Catechesis of the Good Shepherd could be offered to the very youngest children.

The work and research being done in this area, in some ways, is only beginning although exploration into the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with toddlers has already had international experimentation and focus. Sofia Cavalletti spoke about this need to explore going younger with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on several occasions, saying that the youngest ask of us the very best. The Seminal Infant-Toddler Catechesis Formation offers an opportunity for you to be a part of this exploration. 

We are happy to offer you a place in this formation course.  We will be using procedures and protocols for this course that follow government health guidelines and to encourage confidence that everyone’s health and safety are of the highest importance. 

Registration Fees: The Registration Fee includes lodging and meals for seven days and nights at The Casa. All registrations for lodging and meals will be for single room. Tuition, lodging and meals fees total $1580.00.  Commuters tuition with lunch fee is $725.00. 

Scholarships: Partial scholarships are available to reduce the tuition fee. Apply through the Tina Lillig Memorial Fund. Scholarships are a benefit of being a CGSUSA member.  Please click here for more informationYou will find the scholarship application here.  Note: please apply for scholarships before registering for this formation. Contact Lisa Kelley if you are interested in registering but waiting to learn about your scholarship award. Registration with scholarship will require a special code.

Registration will close Saturday, March 20, 2021.  

If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact Lisa Kelley, lisakelley@cgsusa.org, 480-874-3758.

To Register 

The course is located on the beautiful campus of the Franciscan Renewal Center, known as The Casa, in Scottsdale, Arizona. This residential formation experience offers an opportunity to develop community among other catechists in a retreat atmosphere and respects the contemplative nature of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for both children and adults.

At the Casa, they have instituted procedures and protocols that follow government health guidelines and regulations to inspire confidence that everyone’s health and safety are a top priority. You can read them here.

The Formation Team

Elizabeth Calanchini has been a Montessori directress, guide and catechist for 26 years. She is AMI trained to work with children ages 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 years. She is a trained catechist in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and recognized as a Level I Formation Leader. Elizabeth has worked with a Catholic Montessori school in Virginia in developing toddler catechesis and was the breakout session leader on the Toddler Atrium at the 60th Anniversary International Celebration of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in 2014. 

Mary Mirrione serves as a catechist for children ages 0 -3, 3-6, 6 -9 and 9- 12. She has been a CGS formation leader for the past 25 years.  She serves as the National Director of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has worked extensively as an advocate for CGS in the Diocese of Phoenix since 1993 as catechist, a Director of Children’s Catechesis, and since 2003, as a presenter and formation leader for diocesan catechists and catechetical leaders.