Religious Education for Children
The Holy Family foreshadowed and anticipated what the Second Vatican Council calls “the domestic church”(Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium], Each Christian family, exemplified in the Holy Family, is to be a microcosm of the larger Church. As the larger Church is a communion of persons, so the family is a small communion of persons. The family receives its life from the larger Body of Christ, the Church, and so comes to mirror the life of this larger Church. Pope John Paul II stated in his apostolic exhortation On the Family (Familiaris Consortio), “The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason . . . it can and should be called ‘the domestic Church’” (no. 21). As Joseph and Mary were the first to proclaim to Jesus the living faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so Christian fathers and mothers are the first to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. They not only present their child for Baptism, but they also promise within the Rite of Baptism to raise their child in accordance with the Gospel and the teachings of the Church. The Second Vatican Council states that parents,
“By their word and example . . . are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children” (Lumen Gentium, no. 11).
Thus, as the Church is to evangelize all nations, so Catholic parents, in fostering the domestic Church within their own families, are to evangelize their children. They do this in a number of ways, always in keeping with the age of their children.
When your children were baptized, you promised to bring them up in the Catholic faith. I’m sure many of you think that bringing your child to religious education classes fulfills your obligation. In part, it does. The real center of our faith, however, is the Eucharist. If you do not feel the need to attend Mass because you are “fulfilling” your religious duty by bringing your children to class every week. Please understand that religious education is only the introduction to a relationship with God.
We all have our priorities. Children should be offered every opportunity when they are growing up –the religious formation of children is the most valuable gift they can receive and that means celebrating the Eucharist together as a Parish, as well as ensuring their participation in religious education classes.
Connection to God through parish worship offers support and hope. It will make a difference in what kind of person a child becomes. Yes, we want our children to be successful. More than that, we want them to be happy and loving, with good people to stand by them. We want them to rely on God when times get tough, as times do for all of us. In about thirty hours a year, religious education classes cannot provide your children with a relationship with God. Only religious education and practice at home, family prayer and devotions, weekly attendance at Mass, and involvement in the life and ministries of the parish can truly help deepen that relationship. For more information about the Religious Education Program at Our Lady of Mercy.
“Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”.”(Luke 18:16, NAB)
All children of the parish from Grades 1-8, who do not attend a Catholic school, are offered the opportunity to attend Religious Education at Our Lady of Mercy Parish. We believe that parents remain the foremost educators in their child’s faith formation and strive to encourage a collaborative effort and facilitate a welcoming environment in class that encourages a lifelong commitment to our faith and the Church. Sunday Mass attendance is mandatory for all students at every grade level.
Families must register their children every year for Grades 1 thru 8 and it is expected that the child will attend sequentially through to Confirmation.
Save Environment Sign-in Form (Please return to the Parish office with your name, position and signature)
BCI Form (Please fill out the form and submit with a photo copy of your license (back and front) to the Parish office)
The BCI form must be notarized, you may have this done at the Parish Office.
Classes for Grades 1-5 are held on Sunday mornings from 10:00am-11:00am.
Registration forms are available above or at the rectory office . Fees for grades 1, 3, 4 and 5 are $40/per student, grade 2 (First Communion) is $50, a maximum of $100/family. There will be a $10 per child late fee for registrations after June 30, 2015.
Mrs. Michele (Mickey) St. Jean, Directress of Religious Education
Grades 6, 7 and 8
Classes for Grades 6, 7 and 8 are held on Sunday evenings from 5:45pm-6:45pm. The fee for grades 6 and 7 is $40/per student, the fee for grade 8 (Confirmation) is $40 if in a Catholic school or $75 if in a Public School, with a maximum of $100/family.
All students, public and parochial, entering Grade 8 must register for Confirmation. There is a fee for the Catholic school students and they follow a modified program.
Class for Confirmation is on Sunday evenings from 6:00-7:00pm. The program strives to offer the students a solid review of the basic tenets of our faith, participation in spiritual experiences such as Rosary, Benediction, Adoration, and Stations of the Cross and preparation for the reception of the Sacrament which is received in the Fall of the 9th grade. There is a mandatory retreat. There are opportunities for community service by volunteering for the Backpack Project, Coat Drive, and/or the Cupcake Project.
Mr. Douglas Green, Director of Religious Education