Our Faith Formation Team here at St. John Parish is a robust and dedicated bunch, with Todd Gale, Angel Koerkel, Valentina Piotrzkowski, Catechists who teach Children’s Liturgy and Sacramental Preparation, Joseph Gruber with FOCUS, and many wonderful volunteers. We’ve been guided by the vision of our Good Pastor, Fr. Chas, and we have soaked this whole ministry in many long hours of prayer.

The Lord is telling us there has been enough time thinking and tinkering; it’s time to put it into His hands. There are two main guiding principles leading us. One is that sacraments must be preceded by evangelizing, faith, and conversion (CCC 1072). The second is that the SUNDAY MASS IS THE CLASS. As the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324), everything should point toward and flow from the Eucharist; that is where Jesus himself teaches and feeds us. Anything that we do is secondary to Holy Communion.

We are being led to operate more prudently, focusing on prayer and intentional conversations with our families. Weekly “Sunday School” religious education classes will look a lot more like simply “going to Mass”, with our teaching times built in and around the Mass itself. We don’t want to pile on mandates and be heavy-handed; the attendance of Sunday Mass is already a weekly necessity for Catholics, so this makes the time commitment a tangible reality for families. It also gears our approach to be community-centered as we grow together in Christ as a whole parish. The supernatural Grace from the Word and the Eucharist will bear the natural fruit of enriching our community, which includes you as an individual!

(1) The plan is to raise the bar on our weekly Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) where we take the younger students out for an age-appropriate look at the Gospel, creed, and prayer before returning to the Eucharist with their families and the rest of the parish. (2) We will supplement that time in the Mass with a short Family Gathered Time between the 10am and Noon Masses, starting approximately 11:15, with more learning, silly songs, and community building. (3) Once a month, in lieu of Gathered Time, we will host a Family Hour where parents are fed directly and children are separated to have age-appropriate formation as well. (4) The First Reconciliation, First Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation preparation times will all directly flow FROM or flow TOWARD one of our Mass times. If you have a child ready for sacramental preparation, please contact the parish office.

Our new Youth Group model will serve young people 6th grade and older. The separate middle and high school groups will bookend the 5 pm Mass, sharing the theme of Mass-centered formation. Middle School Youth Group will be 3:15 -4:45 and High School Youth Group will directly follow Mass to end at 8 pm. Come and enjoy a time for food, fun, and games, and growing in personal relationships with Christ together!

All of these Faith Formation events will take place in the Parish Community Center, where we look forward to seeing you face-to-face at the Come and See ministry event next weekend, September 11-12th! We can answer any questions you may have, but more importantly, we would love to meet you and personally invite you to participate in our new Family Faith Formation! This all kicks off Sunday, September 19th.

See you there!

Todd Gale

Director of Faith Formation