Glory to God! The Department of Christian Education congratulates the following Diocesan family members who have completed their Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Formation Training. They are now official Certified CGS Level 1 Catechists:

Olga Ptach, Elena Paolercio, and Mat. Jeanne Zablotskyy of Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY

Christine Wood, Barbara Timpiani, and Kerry Leon of Holy Trinity Church, Randolph, NJ

Mat. Tamara Cowan of Holy Trinity Church, Elmira Heights, NY

Sophie Stanley-Ruff of Christ the Saviour Church, Balston Lake, NY

Deacon David Donch of St. Nicholas Church, Auburn, NY

Led by CGS Formation Leader, Shelley Finkler nine diocesan participants and one participant from the Moscow Patriarchate were able to complete their training May 14-24 at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, NY. This training began in 2019, and was postponed many times since, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With God’s help and the hard work of our Catechists and numerous volunteers, our Diocese now has five working Atriums (the CGS teaching environment), the most of any Diocese in our country.

Our Archbishop Michael opened the event with a Moleiben Service for the Beginning of a Good Work and encouraged the participants, who were about to embark on 10 days of formation training. His Eminence emphasized the importance of this great effort they were making to learn how to guide our children in a closer relationship with Christ and His Church.

New to this training, was the opportunity for the sessions to welcome observers, those interested in the program who wished to “come and see”. Eighteen observers— priests, church school directors and teachers, parents and parishioners -- came and witnessed the methods and content of the CGS program. One observer, with tears in her eyes, commented, “We need a CGS Atrium for Adults; not just for the children. I learned so much… in a way that I had never experienced before!” This “way” is the core of what participants learned as they were formed into catechists and came to experience that CGS is where the mystery of the child meets the Mystery of God.

In closing, Archbishop Michael came and participated during the second week, observing lessons on the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, the Paschal Celebration, and The Last Supper. Moved by what he saw, His Eminence exhorted, “This experience is so important because it is the reality behind the Scriptures… so, the more experience you have in the Liturgy, in the celebrations and processions and all of the liturgical components, the more meaningful it is going to be. The children are going to remember this. It’s all about the experience!”

We give thanks to God for the support of Archbishop Michael, the generosity of the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors Fund (DDB) for sponsoring this training, and to Fr. Volodymyr and Matushka Jeanne Zablotskyy and Holy Trinity Parish in Yonkers for hosting this beautiful experience, in which they provided daily meals and lodging for many of our participants. Glory to God for All Things!

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