RELIGIOUS EDUCATION POLICY HANDBOOK

 
Download a copy of the  Religious Education Handbook HERE

 

GOAL
 
The goal of St John’s Religious Education Program is to support and assist parents in their guardianship of their children’s faith.   Parents, by word and example are the primary teachers of their children and teach them from birth throughout life. At Baptism, the parent undertakes the responsibility of providing for their child’s religious formation.
We offer the opportunity for faith to come alive for our children through knowledge, prayer and the sacraments. We hope to deepen their faith and a sense of belonging to the Catholic Church so that they will be moved to share their time, talent and treasure in the life of the Church, now and throughout their lives. We strive to assist our children in committing themselves to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ characterized by a vigorous sacramental life, a lifelong pattern of prayer, Christian service, and growth in understanding the Catholic Faith. This is an ongoing process and is designed that each year builds on the next to help in the understanding of our faith.  It is achieved with the joint efforts of our parish staff, catechists, parents and students with confidence in the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
 
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POLICIES
 
General Policies

In the Catholic Church, Religious Education is done either by attending Catholic School or attending a Parish Religious Education Program from Grade 1 through High School.  All families with children participating in the Parish Religious Education Program must be registered members of the parish and attend Mass regularly. 

Children who attend public school must attend graded Religious Education classes. All participating children must attend class weekly.
 
Children attending Catholic School or an approved Home School program celebrate the sacraments within their parish and therefore must attend specified parish sacramental sessions.
 
Parents of students preparing for sacraments are required to attend scheduled workshops and parent meetings.
 
Children with special learning needs are welcome in our Religious Education program.   Children are included in regular classes to the greatest extent possible.  If a child needs an individualized program we will work with parents and parish volunteers to provide what the child and family needs to the best of our ability.
 
The Diocese of Birmingham has instituted an online assessment called Family Faith Formation (FFO) to be completed at the end of the school year for grades K4-8. This assessment is designed to measure comprehensively the performance of the religious education programs of our diocese. Parents as the primary faith educators of our children are asked to assist their children in taking the assessment. Information about Family Faith Online (FFO) can be found here.
 
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Attendance Policy
 
Children are expected to be on time for class. Late arrival is disruptive to the teachers and classes.
 
Children are expected to participate in each scheduled class session. In the case of illness or family emergency absences are to be phoned or emailed into the DRE’s office before class begins. Voice messages and emails are both acceptable.  Please follow up with your child’s catechist to find out how your child can make up the missed session.   Four (4) absences a year will result in a review of the student’s understanding of the material for the year. If a child does not have a reasonable grasp of the material it may be necessary to repeat the year of study.
 
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Sacramental Years Attendance Policy
 
  • Second Grade
In the First Reconciliation, First Communion sacramental preparation year only one excused absence per semester is allowed. Additional absences will require make-up sessions. These make up sessions need to be made with the Director of Religious Education not the catechist.
 
  • Ninth  and  Tenth Grade Confirmation Classes
There are only 12 Confirmation Preparation Classes each year.  It is important to attend each class.  If a class has been missed make up may be possible during a class scheduled on an alternative day.   These make up sessions need to be coordinated with the Director of Religious Education not the catechist.
 
  •  Life Teen Program
A requirement for all ninth grade public school students preparing for Confirmation is to attend the Life Teen program on Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:30PM. In cooperation with our High School Youth Ministry Program, Life Teen fullfills the requirement for High School catechesis. Tenth grade Confirmation II students may choose to attend 5 Life Teen program sessions per semester in addtion to the scheduled High School Reconciliation night if they are not choosing one of the alternate options. All High School students in the parish are strongly encouraged to attend the Life Teen Program.
 
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Class Days and Times
 
Day
Time
Grades/Program
Notes
Sunday 10:00-11:15 AM K4 to Grade 8 (K4 -4yrs old by September 1)
Sunday 6:30-8:30 PM 
High School Life Teen
 
Wednesday 5:30-6:45 PM K4 to Grade 8 (K4 -4yrs old by September 1)
Sunday 1:00-2:30 PM Confirmation Preparation (9th and 10th grades) (Usually two sessions a month please consult the schedule)
Wednesday 5:30-7:00 PM Confirmation Preparation (9th and 10th grades) (Usually two sessions a month please consult the schedule)
 
Cancellations due to weather will be communicated through email and on the parish website. It is important that we have your current email address.
 
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Sacramental Preparation Requirements
 
First Reconciliation and First Communion
Children preparing for these sacraments must have two years of active participation in the religious education program (grades 1 and 2), attend Catholic school, or be home schooled in an approved Catholic Home School Program.   Both sacraments are celebrated in the 2nd grade.  Families with children older than second grade who would like their children prepared for these sacraments should contact the Director of Religious Education.
 
It is expected that all students and their families attend Mass as well as religious education each week. Attendance at Sunday Mass is a requirement for those enrolled in Catholic School or an approved Home School program.
 
Parents are required to attend the Parent meetings scheduled for First Reconciliation and First Communion.
 
Parents and Children are required to participate in the Parent/Child Workshops scheduled before the reception of each sacrament.
 
A copy of your child’s baptismal certificate is due in the parish office no later than October 1st.
 
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Confirmation
Students preparing for Confirmation are required to have three years of active participation in the religious education program (grades 6, 7 and 8) or have attended a Catholic School or an approved Catholic Home School program. 
 
Confirmation I occurs during a student’s ninth grade year with the Theology of the Body curriculum, a chastity education program mandated by the Diocese of Birmingham as a part of the Confirmation preparation process.  A process of discernment takes place during Confirmation II, during the student’s tenth grade year, with Confirmation usually scheduled in the spring of the tenth grade year.
 
Please note:  Our mission and responsibility here at St John’s Parish is to implement a Confirmation preparation program for our young parishioners. Permission to participate in any Confirmation preparation program outside of our parish will be not be given by the pastor.
 
Confirmation I Requirements
Attendance at Sunday Mass
 
Attendance and participation in classes held twice a month on either Sunday from 1-2:30 or Wednesday from 5:30-7PM
 
All public school students preparing for Confirmation are required to attend the Life Teen program on Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:30PM. In cooperation with our High School Youth Ministry Program, Life Teen is the High School Religious Education program. All teens in the parish are urged to participate in the Life Teen program.
 
The church is a servant community and all accepting full membership are also accepting the responsibility to serve.  Candidates for the reception of Confirmation are asked to perform 20 hours of Christian service from the fall of the Confirmation I year through the last class of the Confirmation II year.  A completed Confirmation Service sheet should be submitted for each project with an adult signature for each service project. Additional forms may be obtained on the parish website.
 
 
Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during the Confirmation I Preparation Year.
 
  • Parental Obligation during the Confirmation I Year

Attend the Parent Meeting introducing the Theology of the Body Curriculum.  Use the Parent Guide as a means of reinforcing and discussing with your teen the information they will be discussing in their classes.
 
Actively support your child in his/her faith journey in every way possible and especially by insuring weekly participation in Sunday Mass.
 
Submit a copy of your child’s Baptismal Certificate to the Parish office no later than October 1.
 
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Confirmation II Requirements
 
Attendance at Sunday Mass
 
Attendance and participation in classes held twice a month on either Sunday from 1-2:30 or Wednesday from 5:30-7PM
 
 

                               All public school students preparing for Confirmation II may choose between the following in order to fulfill the high school catechetical component :   

 

Ø  5 Life Teen programs per semester on Sunday evening from 6:30-8:30PM.

OR

Ø  5 Adult Education classes per semester in the parish basement from 10AM to 11AM on Sunday morning.

OR

Ø  Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching Project - turn in to Kathleen Butler.

OR

Ø  Attend all below

*Adoration – 2 one hour time blocks

*First Saturday Mass and Holy Hour

*Stations of the Cross (2 times) during Lent

*Parish Liturgical Music program or Parish Movie Night

*These options in bold print marked with an asterisk will require a SHORT journal reflection emailed to kbutler@stjohnbchurch.org

                 

 

*All MUST attend Life Teen Reconciliation night

These requirements must be completed by March 5th or 8th

 
The church is a servant community and all accepting full membership are also accepting the responsibility to serve.  Candidates for the reception of Confirmation are asked to perform 20 hours of Christian service from the fall of the Confirmation I year through the last class of the Confirmation II year.  A completed Confirmation Service sheet should be submitted for each project with an adult signature for each service project. Additional forms may be obtained on the parish website.
 
Attendance at the Confirmation II retreat.
 
Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during the Confirmation II Preparation Year.
 
Attendance at the Confirmation Parent/Candidate Workshop.
 
Sponsor Certification Forms must be submitted to the Parish Office by October 1. Forms are available on the parish website.  
 
For additional information regarding Sponsors, Confirmation names, confirmation Ceremony dress code and schedules please consult the parish website.
 
  • Parental Obligation during Confirmation II Year

Attend Parent meetings as scheduled
 
Attend and actively participate with your child in the  Parent/Candidate Workshop
 
Actively support your child in his/her faith journey in every way possible and especially by insuring weekly participation in Sunday Mass.  
 
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  • First Reconciliation and First Communion

Parents must register their children with the office of Religious Education for the Sacramental Prep Year in which the child will be receiving the sacraments. (2nd grade year)

Parents must attend all parent meetings specific to each sacrament.

Parents and children must attend the parent/Child workshops specific to each sacrament.

All children in Sacramental Prep for First Communion will receive the sacraments together in a parish wide celebration.

  • Confirmation

Parents must register their child with the office of Religious Education for the Sacramental Prep Year in which the child will be receiving the sacraments. Confirmation preparation takes place in the 9th and 10th grade years. Home school 9th graders must register with the parish.

The 9th grade year is a study of Theology of the Body. Parents may choose to home school this curriculum in consultation with the Director of Religious Education.

During the 10th grade year (or prep year 2) all candidates for Confirmation must attend the classes offered by the Parish School of Religion on Sundays from 1-2:30 PM or Wednesdays from 5:30-7 PM. These Confirmation prep classes are usually held twice a month for a total of 12 classes from September to March.

Parents are required to attend parent meetings each year of preparation as well as the Parent/candidate Workshop held in the 10th grade year.

Candidates are required to complete 20 hours of community service over the two years of preparation.

Candidates are also required to attend the Confirmation Retreat during the 10th grade Year (ConfirmationII).

All High School age youth in the parish are encouraged to attend the Life Teen program on Sunday evenings. Tenth graders may choose Life Teen or alternate options.

All public school and home school candidates for comfirmation are required by the Diocese of Birmingham to take the A.C.R.E. assessment during the 10th grade year.

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