Family Faith Formation (formerly: Religious Education) at St. John the Evangelist
Religious Education or CCD is typically thought of as the Religion Classes for the kids who attend Public schools; at St. John, strange as it sounds: there is no registration, no sign up, no fee, and no formal attendance. Our Religious Education is now directly connected to the Sunday Mass for the whole family. There are three main guiding principles that are leading us:
1) SUNDAY MASS IS THE CLASS. As the source and summit of the Christian life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1324), everything should point toward and flow out of the Eucharist; that is where Jesus himself teaches and feeds us.
2) PARENTS ARE THE PRIMARY EDUCATORS OF THEIR CHILDREN, our role at the parish is to help parents live out the promise they made at their child’s Baptism to raise them in the Catholic faith. We see our function as “teaching the REAL teachers” and assisting. (CCC 2223)
3) SACRAMENTS MUST BE PRECEDED BY EVANGELIZING, FAITH, AND CONVERSION! (CCC 1072) When someone receives First Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, or ANY of the Sacraments, we want to know they have fallen in love with Jesus and his beautiful Church! We do not want to mechanically push people through a conveyor belt system like a manufactured product.
MASS AS THE CLASS If these are the guiding principles of our Religious Education plan, what does it actually look like? Well, at St. John, families come to Mass on Sundays! At the 10am and noon Mass times we will offer CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD (CLOW), where we invite children – preschool through 5th Grade – to the parish center during the first half of Mass for a reading of the Scriptures, the Creed, and prayers at an age-appropriate level. This is not babysitting, but a way of helping children understand this part of the Mass on their level, and then they return to the church for the rest of Mass with their parish family.
ADDITIONAL GATHERED TIMES MOST WEEKENDS. Additionally, on most Sundays in the Community Center we will offer a fun, engaging “gathered assembly” to have some laughs with the kids, practice the Mass responses, learn standard Catholic prayers, sing silly songs, and learn some of the basics of the Faith. This will take place between the 10 am Mass and before the Noon Mass, so families can attend the gathered time and choose which Mass they prefer to attend.
ONCE A MONTH: WHOLE FAMILY MINI RETREATS. Almost every month we will host a mini-retreat after the 10 am Mass where parents and kids come together in the Community Room for the gathered time, and then split off into a few age-appropriate divisions. The parents then will have an opportunity for discussion and get lots of resources about various themes. Parents and kids learn together, celebrate Mass together, and then have plenty of options to learn and practice on their own at home.
For more information please contact:
Director of Faith Formation Todd Gale email@example.com
Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation Valentina@saintjohnjackson.org