St. Joseph Parish offers religious education classes for children from the age of three through eighth grade. While we understand (and promote) that parents are the first and most influential catechists for their children, we offer classes to aid you in the formation of your children in their faith. By enrolling your child(ren) in the parish’s religious education program, you are sharing your sacred duty as a parent to rear your children in the Catholic faith along with our parish catechists. Each class offers the students a wonderful opportunity to grow in their faith and become closer to God. Students learn through a variety of methods, and each teacher brings to the class his or her own personal experiences and demonstrates a willingness to share his or her own spirituality. On our part, we select and train catechists so that your children will have able companions on their journey of faith. Teachers for Religious Education classes are always needed. If you feel you may be able to assist in teaching a class or know of someone that you feel would make a good teacher please let me know. Teachers will be trained on use of the curriculum and class instruction.
Classes for first through sixth grades are offered at two times on Sundays, as are classes for 3-,4- and 5-year olds. Seventh and eighth grade classes are held on Tuesday evenings. If families find this to be too great a conflict for their junior high students, please contact Dana McKenna (847/251-3734 or email@example.com); she is our Director of Religious Education. Below is a brief summary of what types of religious education classes St. Joseph offers your family.
PRE-SCHOOL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Classes for pre-school children, 3, 4, and 5 years old, will coincide with the Sunday masses. There is a class at 9:00 AM for the 3-, 4- and 5-year olds (kindergarten), and classes at 10:15AM for only 5-year olds. These classes end when Mass is over, for your convenience. The curriculum fosters a positive self image and encourages each child to view himself/herself as a special child loved by God. The children will participate in artistic activities, Biblical storytelling and other small group activities. The goal of the program is to create a healthy and loving attitude toward God, religion and each other.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES FOR GRADES 1 - 6
Classes for students in grades one through six will also coincide with the 9:00 and 10:15 Masses on Sunday mornings. The students will utilize the textbook Blessed Are We, which is published by Silver Burdett Ginn. The curriculum provides the students with a thorough coverage of doctrine, Scripture, morality, prayer and sacraments, all of which coordinate with the New Catechism. Students will also have the opportunity to help plan and participate in a family mass during the year, plus participate in the Christmas pageant, Living Stations of the Cross and a May Crowning in the spring. There are additional activities throughout the year which offer the students the opportunity to become involved in charitable outreach. Parents are encouraged to become involved through parent meetings or activities that have been planned for both the students and parents.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES FOR JUNIOR HIGH (Grades 7 & 8)
Classes for students in seventh and eighth grades will meet on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 until 8:30. In addition to having all of the same opportunities as the students in grades one through six, the junior high students will also plan and attend a monthly Mass during their scheduled class time. They also attend one night of the annual Lenten Parish Mission. For students who wish to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in eighth grade, it is a requirement by the Archdiocese that they participate in class instruction during seventh grade.
The sacramental years for St. Joseph Parish are second grade for the first reception of the Sacraments of both Reconciliation and Holy Communion. In order to fully prepare the young ones for these sacraments they are required to attend class in both first and second grades. First Reconciliation takes place in late February/early March, and First Communion is the first Saturday in May.
Likewise, preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which is conferred in 8th grade, requires that students attend class for two years - both seventh and eighth grades. As noted previously, junior high classes take place on Tuesdays evenings from 7:00 - 8:30. If this schedule is too difficult for your family, arrangements can be made for special “tutoring” at a more convenient time. Please don’t allow sports to be more important to you than the reception of these sacraments.
CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD
In additions to our Religious Education program, the parish offers Children’s Liturgy of the Word, during the 10:15 Sunday morning Mass. The Children’s Liturgy of the Word both forms our children in Christ and informs them about Him. Children’s Liturgy of the Word celebrates God’s presence in the ritual proclamation of the Word. During Mass, after the opening prayer, the children are called forth by the celebrant and then are sent forth with a liturgical catechist for their own Liturgy of the Word. The children return to the church during the preparation of the gifts. While with their catechist, they hear a more basic “telling” of that day’s First Reading and Gospel, and have the opportunity to discuss what they heard and how it “relates” to their lives. Our experience with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word here at St. Joseph has been very positive. Perhaps the children themselves are the greatest beneficiaries, but it has enriched the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist for all those who gather at the Mass.