Religious Education - Family Faith Formation
What is Family Faith Formation?
Our parish Family Faith Formation program is for students in grades K-8th grade not attending Catholic schools or for any Catholic family who desires to attend. Our program exists to support parents in raising their children in the Catholic faith and is a supplement to, not a replacement for, Sunday Mass. Attending Family Faith Formation sessions helps students and parents to connect with a community of their Catholic peers and to reinforce the basics of our faith. It is strongly recommended that you enroll your child in their kindergarten year so that they will have two full years of faith formation before beginning preparation for first Sacraments.
Our program for children in grades K - 6 is a lectionary-based curriculum called Pflaum Weeklies. The lectionary is the book of Scripture readings that contains readings for a three-year cycle (A, B & C) that are used during the Mass. Sessions for youth in grades K - 6 cover the Scripture readings we hear at Mass that week, as well as various sections of the Catechism (sacraments, prayers, creed, and morality) appropriate for that week's scripture readings. Youth in grades 7 and 8 will be using various sources such as DVD's and activities to engage them on an age-appropriate level and help them to embrace a life as intentional disciples of Christ.
We meet two times monthly on Sunday mornings between the Masses, from 9:45- 10:45 AM starting in early September through the end of April. The whole family is invited and expected to be involved. The children are in age/grade levels while the adults meet to learn and grow in their faith with sessions geared for adults. On the weeks that we do not meet families are given copies of the Pflaum Weeklies to complete at home. They are expected to complete a review sheet and turn that sheet in at the next scheduled Family Faith Formation class.
Registrations are now open for the 2019-20 school year. For a safe and secure online payment and registration form click here. Paper copies of all forms can be download here.
Please register early as the fee will increase after opening day.
Sacramental preparation occurs in additional classes. First Eucharist and First Reconciliation parent and children both attend the classes in addition to regular Family Faith Formation classes Please see the links below for specific information, calendars and needed forms.
- First Eucharist Preparation begins In the fall for Grade 3 students for the school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Grade 2 will also prepare in the spring of 2020-2021. After that school year preparation will move permanently to the spring of 2nd grade.
- First Reconciliation - For the school year 2019-2020 children in grades 2, 3 and 4 will prepare and celebrate the sacrament in the Lenten season of 2020. After this school year preparation will move permanently to the fall/winter of 2nd grade.
- Confirmation - Students prepare and celebrate the Sacrament in grade 7.
Each of these is a separate and additional registration process but there are no additional fees. If your child is 3rd grade or older and baptized Catholic yet has missed out on any of their first Sacraments - please read the information below on how our Bridges program can help to catch them up.
The single most important place that your child will learn about their faith is in the home. The role of the parent in this process is vital.
The Catholic Church considers parents to be the chief catechists for their children: “Parents above others are obliged to form their children by word and example in faith and in the practice of Christian life; sponsors and those who take the place of parents are bound by an equal obligation.” Code of Canon Law 774-2. When your child was baptized you took upon yourself the responsibility of teaching them to love and practice the faith. The following is an excerpt from the Rite of Baptism of an Infant:
Priest or Deacon says: "You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him/her in the practice of the Faith. It will be your duty to bring him/her up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?"
Parents say: "We do"
What does this mean for your family? No church program can ever replace parents in the carrying out of their responsibility in forming the faith of their children. It is essential to the child's growth and development in the Catholic faith, that the parents live the life of faith in the home. The effectiveness of the catechetical process radically depends upon this.
As a FAMILY, you have a treasure that surpasses all human expectations. That treasure is waiting to be discovered in your own home.
As a CATHOLIC, you possess a treasured heritage that can transform your life into an experience of peace and joy. That treasure, too, is waiting to be discovered in your home!
As a PARENT, (if you embrace your faith and practice it) you have a treasure to share with your children. That treasure is also waiting to be discovered in your home.
May we assist you in that journey.
St. Bernard "Bridges" Program
Are you a Catholic parent that has a child that is 3rd grade or above that has missed out on their First Sacraments? Sometimes things happen in families - all kinds of events and conditions that result in our children missing out on Religious Education and/or the celebration of Sacraments. We understand there are many reasons why and we wish to provide the opportunity for catching your child up and to welcome you home to your faith.
Our Bridges program is a family program designed to initiate baptized Catholic children 3rd grade and older who have somehow missed out on any first Sacraments and to help guide the family back to the Catholic faith and sacramental life. Children must be enrolled in our school or if they attend a public school, they must be enrolled and attend our Family Faith Formation sessions.
The process of our Bridges program recognizes that parents are the first and primary teachers of their children. No matter how hard the Church may try, if children are to truly accept the gift of Catholic Faith, the parents must hand on that faith. Our program is designed to allow us to help you, the parent, “Keep the faith” and “hand on” the faith to your children.
If your child is over the age of 7 and is not yet baptized, or is baptized in another Christian Faith tradition the Roman Catholic Church teaches that children over the age of reason (about the age 7) are considered adults and the church requires a period of instruction to prepare children for initiation into the Catholic faith. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and is a journey that is modified for a child. You can read more about the RCIA here.
If you are interested in participating in the Bridges program, you are asked to contact Cyndi in the parish office. At the end of the process, the child will receive the Sacraments they are missing (Baptism, Reconciliation and First Eucharist – as needed) as well as Confirmation.