Children's Education


Albany, NY. Christan school. 4th-grade Spanish Class. This child's drawing of the Good Shepherd after a bilingual presentation of the Good Shepherd. The girl wrote in the center of the drawing using the new Spanish words she recently learned: "El Buen Paistor...gracias for your ama and llamas mi nombre everyday" (The Good Shepherd...thank you for your love and calling my name every day).


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 

St. John’s is excited to offer the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (GCS) for our children. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy, and Montessori methods. As this method was developed, children of various ages were presented with many elements of liturgy and scripture.  The initiators of this method wanted to know, how children experience and develop a relationship with God.  What is the mystery of God that children most want to hear at various ages?  What brings them joy, peace, and deep contentment? The responses of the children governed the development of this approach. As the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd spread, it became apparent that children around the world possess great spiritual capacities to know God, beginning with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep, calls them by name, cares for them, gathers them together, and lays down his life for them.  Given the right environment, the young child can fall in love with God, and the older child can know how the mystery of God meets the expanding world that is coming into the child’s view. 

Saint John’s provides an “atrium,” a specially prepared environment for religious formation, containing beautiful materials that are introduced by the presenter and used by the children.  These materials enable the children to understand, in a hands-on way, various elements of Scripture—the parables, the life of Jesus, the history and geography of Israel, the moral life—and liturgy, especially the sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism.  These attractive, hand-finished materials are accessible for the children to choose from any time after they have received a presentation with them. 

It is with immense joy that we announce that we will continue to offer the three levels of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Fall 2023-Spring 2024 season along with extended liturgical and family events such as Liturgy of the Light Celebration, Trunk or Treat, Pancake Shrove Tuesday, Beyond the Sheepfold Saturday gatherings and more (ages 3 to 12), along with extended liturgical and family events such as the Christmas Pageant & Lessons and Carols. 

For additional information, access the following links :

CGS by Age    A day in the Atrium    Curriculum     Children's Work    Educator's Testimonial CGS USA


The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 


CGS Sunday Mornings 9:30 AM -11:15 AM 

Open House - September 10, 2023, 11:15 AM.

The atrium is located on the second floor of the parish house, which adjoins the Church.

Meeting with Parents - September 17, 2023,11:15 AM to 12:00 PM (Atrium)

** First Day of Atrium - September 24, 2023, 9:15 AM to 11:15 AM (Atrium)


CGS Thursday After-School *3:30 PM - 5:30 PM 

Open House - September 10, 2023, 11:15 AM

Atrium is located on the second floor of the parish house, which adjoins to the Church.

Meeting with Parents - September 21, 2023, 4:00 PM AM to 5:00 PM (Atrium)

** First Day of Atrium - September 28, 2023, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM (Atrium)

*Late arrivals due to school dismissal times are happily accommodated.

**Our CGS program follows the liturgical calendar of the Church.  To learn more about the CGS schedule please see St. John's Church calendar.  For more details use the calendar link below or contact our Children's Christian Education Director, Gaby Gastelum at



Free for parishioners and Clergy families

*Non-parishioner families (all are welcome)

  • $50 One child per year
  • $40 Two children each per year
  • $35 Three or more children each per year

* The money goes directly towards materials and supplies for the atrium.  Financial assistance is available, no child will be excluded due to inability to pay.


To register, please use the following link:  CGS Registration


Beyond the Sheepfold

First Saturday of the Month     9:00 AM to 10:00 AM - Class  / 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM - Volunteer at the Food Pantry or Thrift Store

Calling all children! What do science, art, animals, sports, and religion have in common?  Join us to find out while enjoying hot chocolate and donuts.  After the program, you are invited to volunteer at the Thrift Store of the Food Pantry to deliver joy to our neighbors.

Program Events





October 7 Blessing of the Animals *10:00 AM to 11:00 AM  Details
November 4 Epistemology for Kids: How do we Know what we Know?  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
December 2 The Prophecy of the Great Light and Advent Wreath Making 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
January 6 Interfaith: Celebrating our Similarities  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
February 3 When Sports and Religion Intersect  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
March 2 Lent: Purple is for Preparation  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
April 6 Come and Be Light: Liturgy of the Light Celebration  9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
May 4 Art in the Sanctuary!    9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details
June 1 Sharing our Gifts: Pentecost Celebration 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Details

*Please note that the program will start at 10 AM



Free.  All are welcome!

To register, please use the following link or register at the office     Beyond the Sheepfold Registration


Preparation for Confirmation

We are inviting children to a series of morning CGS meditations.  Interested in registering your child?  Don't hesitate to get in touch with Children's Christian Education Director Gaby Gastelum at, or call the office at 518.274.5884. 

Holy Eucharist Morning

We are inviting children and youth to a series of morning CGS meditations.  Interested in registering your child?  Please get in touch with Children's Christian Education Director Gaby Gastelum at, or call the office at 518.274.5884.  

Family Events. Save the Date! 

Trunk or Treat

Sunday, October 29, 2023, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

We invite all families and the St. John’s community to this annual event. Put your thinking cap on for ideas to dress up your car and come to the parking lot for a fun afternoon of greeting the neighbors, handing out treats, and admiring the creativity of fellow parishioners. 


Christmas Pageant & Lesson and Carols

Sunday, December 17, 10 AM

Join us as we joyfully anticipate the feast of Jesus’ birth by hearing lessons, singing carols, and reenacting the mystery of Christmas. If you would like to participate, please email Gaby Gastelum, and Tiffany Dzembo at, or call the office. 


Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Tuesday, February 13, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM


Easter Egg Hunt

Sunday, March 31, after 10 AM Service. 

Details are coming.


Garden Scavenger Hunt

Friday, May Troy Night Out.

Details are coming.


Father's Day Ice Cream Social Sunday

June 16 after 10 AM Service. 

Join the children of St. John’s to celebrate our fathers and grandfathers.

We need your help!  

Children & Youth Ministries would appreciate volunteers on a weekly rotation to be observers in the atrium since two adults are required in the room to have classes. Please get in touch with Gaby Gastelum at if you are interested. 

Other opportunities to Collaborate: Making materials for the CGS presentations and Catechist assistant.

Have you considered being trained in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? Formation in this work is like a retreat; a time set apart to listen to the voice of the One who calls us each by name.  For Many people trained in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, this is an opportunity to walk through one's own childhood in the company of God, being renewed and remade.  Level I formation courses are available this summer and fall if you are interested in sharing your faith with children or being made new in your spirit.  For more information, please be in touch with Gaby Gastelum, Christian Education Director at St. John's, Troy at or access the CGSUSA webpage at