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St. Ambrose Parish

Faith Formation


The faith community of St. Ambrose through it's Youth Faith Formation is committed to carry on the catechetical mission of the Church by effectively supporting parents in their role as primary teachers of the Catholic faith. We strive to instill within our youth a Catholic identity, to cultivate religious literacy, and develop a sense of social justice and service. We endeavor to plant the seeds of knowledge that will grow deeply in appreciation for liturgy and prayer. We trust that through participation in the sacraments, our students may encounter the living Christ, and be formed as true disciples, prepared to witness the mercy and salvation of God to the world.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Level I: Ages 3-5

Level II: Ages 6-9

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori-based faith formation program based on the educational principles of Maria Montessori. It offers a pathway for even the youngest child to experience the joy of entering into the mystery of God. At St. Ambrose Parish, we have Level 1 and 2 atria for children ages 3-9. This atrium is a sacred space dedicated to CGS where children retreat from the noisiness of the modern world and enter a place of prayer. Child sized furnishings, manipulatives, and objects based on Scripture and Liturgy placed in the atrium encourage joyful self-discovery, foster community, and accommodate all learning styles. This approach, like all Montessori methods, respects children's individualism by allowing each child to grow and explore at their own pace. By allowing the child this natural path to unfold, they encounter Jesus and their faith in a deeply personal way.

Level I Schedule

Mondays // 4:30pm-6:00pm // St. Augustine Parish Center

Tuesdays // 5pm-6:30pm // St. Augustine Parish Center

Wednesdays//5pm-6:30pm//St. Augustine Parish Center

Level II Schedule

Mondays // 4:30pm-6:00pm // St. Augustine Parish Center

Tuesdays // 5pm-6:30pm // St. Augustine Parish Center

Wednesdays//5pm-6:30pm//St. Augustine Parish Center

Please note: Parent(s) of Level II CGS Students attend a once monthly Family of Faith Parent Class scheduled at the same time they register their child(ren) for CGS.

 Registration Forms can be found here or by contacting the Parish Office. If you have any questions regarding Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please contact Judy Derbacher or Cyndie Baker


 Family of Faith

Grades 1 - 8

Family of Faith is a catechesis approach for grades 1-8 that allows the parents to grow in their depth of faith along with their children. This model restores the rightful role of the parents as the first, primary, and therefore most effective faith educators of their children. We know that faith is something that is lived, not something merely studied. It's a relationship and unless it's fostered in the home, the faith really can't take root. Family of Faith catechesis allows for the entire family to be formed in teh faith and to take that into their lived experience of the home. 

Family of Faith consists of a combination of gatherings at the Parish and lessons in the home. Parents gather together once a month for a time of teaching and discussion on the monthly topics. This meeting is meant to help parents grow in their personal faith so they can assume their role as the primary educator and catechist of their children. Over the course of the month at home, parents pass on what they learned to their children with the assistance of a parent guide and child activity books. Finally, the entire family gathers together with other families at the parish to review the month's lessons and take part in a varitety of community building activities. Since most of the teaching is done in the home and gatherings at the Parish are twice a month regardless of the number/ages of children in the home, families have found this schedule to be very conducive to their busy schedules!

Third Year: Life In Christ

For those who have completed the first two years of Family of Faith and are ready to dive into an even deeper understanding of the faith, we invite you to enroll in a year three class.

Sunday // 10:00am.-11:30am. // St. Augustine Chapel

Tuesday // 5:30pm-7pm // St. Augustine Chapel


Testemonies From Parents

"It [Family of Faith] was not what we expected. It's not your typical classroom, class work, homework structured class. It's a program that helps the parents/guardians understand the faith and different components of our faith. As you understand different aspects, it's easier to incorporate into everyday living." - Shaily G.

"This was our first experience as parents with a catechism program and we can honestly say we LOVED it! As parents, we learned so much and it allowed us to spend quality time together as a family. The classes were also accommodating by providing childcare when needed for parents. We have become part of our church family and community and it truly allowed us to become a Family of Faith."  - Christy C.

"This program has helped our family grow significantly in our faith. I feel I was better equipped to answer my children's questions after I have attended the parent classes. My family and I always look forward to going to the 'Activity Night' as this was a way to bring our whole family together through our church. It was wonderful to meet other families as well! It was certainly worthwhile and I am looking forward to year two!"  - Keri B.

 “We encourage families to choose to participate in Family of Faith. We have two kids who have had traditional classroom-based lessons growing up and they both transitioned easily into this inclusive home-strengthened program. As parents our personal faith grew, and we became more comfortable having faith inclusive conversations as a family.” - Joe & Ida D.

 Registration Forms can be found here or by contacting the Parish Office. If you have any questions regarding Family of Faith, please contact Judy Derbacher or Cyndie Baker.


High School Youth Ministry 

Grades 9-12

When teens reach High School, they will be invited to continue to grow in their faith through a Discipleship module as opposed to regularly scheduled classes. Discipleship isn’t about passing a test or learning facts over a set number of years; it’s a life long journey where someone continues to deepen their relationship with Christ and commits to living their life like His. It reminds us that our Catholic Faith is something to be lived rather than just learned! Through the High School Youth Ministry, teens are provided with opportunites to encounter Christ and grow in an authentic relationship with Him. They are encouraged to take ownership of their faith life and supported in making active, conscious steps on their road to becoming a disciple of Christ. Teens learn what it means to be a disciple by immersing themselves in the life of the parish and getting involved in the different opportunites through the High School Youth Ministry. Check out what's going on with the Youth Ministry, learn more about Confirmation or contact Cyndie Baker if you have any other questions!

Steps for Getting Involved

  • Fill out a Registration Form for the Youth Ministry.
    • Upon registration, those interested in the Youth Ministry will be added to a Flocknote group to ensure notification of upcoming events, trips, volunteer services and Faith formation opportunites for teens.
  • Schedule an initial meeting with a member of the parish staff to discuss the Youth Ministry.
    • Meeting dates will be sent to you to choose from upon reception of registration.
  • Be familiar with and actively pursuing growth in all the T.R.A.I.T.S. of a Disicple through opportunities provided by the Youth Ministry and in one's personal life. 
    • Follow the St. Ambrose Youth Ministry on Instagram, check out the Youth Ministry Page and be on the lookout for incoming Flocknote notifications to stay updated on all the opportunities that are available through the Youth Ministry.



Office of Religious Education


Office Hours

Mon., Wed., Thurs., Fri. 9am-1pm

Tues., 9am-6pm

30 Caputo Road, North Branford



Religious Education Staff


Cyndie Baker

Operations Manager

203-484-0403 ext. 305


Judy Derbacher 

Faith Formation Coordinator: Gr 1-6

203-484-0403 ext. 303


Rose Cassidy

Youth Minister: Gr 7-12

203-484-0403 ext. 307 

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