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Welcome from the Office of faith formation!

Praise be Jesus Christ, Now and Forever!

 

Welcome to our 2023-2024 school year! I am pleased to announce that beginning this year, St. Catherine of Siena parish will be implementing an entirely NEW! approach to the religious education of our youth. In the Fall of 2023, the parish will be launching Loreto: Forming Families in the Faith as our primary faith formation program. We will be utilizing materials from Sophia Institute's A Family of Faith. The main objective of Loreto is to encourage and equip parents so that they may not only more fully live their Catholic faith, but so that they can also more confidently pass their faith on to generations to come!

It is a dreary world out there. But as Christian families, we are called to be "the light of the world!" (Matt 5:14). We are called to LET OUR LIGHT SHINE and to spread the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel to the ends of the earth! We are called to reveal God's love to the world. But...families have "forgotten" who they are. In fact, we have forgotten whose we are and what it means to be a child of God. These are not empty words. Nor are they to be taken lightly. But as our patroness, St. Catherine of Siena reminds us, "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." So let us take heart, and heed the call, "Families, become what you are!" (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, November 22, 1981)

 

We have chosen to call this new approach after a charming hill town in Italy, Loreto, which is famed throughout the world for the Holy House of the Virgin Mary of Nazareth. The Holy House of Loreto (which you can read more about HERE) is the name of the home of the Holy Family. It earned this name after it was miraculously brought from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy in the year 1294. And for eight centuries, it has been an important holy site for Christian pilgrims. Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, may our hearts, homes and families be a dwelling place for God.

Please see below for more information regarding Loreto: Forming Families in the Faith, including: a letter from our pastor, Fr. Stef Bankemper, announcing this new and exciting initiative as well as why we will be taking this new approach; the parent handbook for the new program; the calendar of classes/events;  service hour information, Sacramental Prep Calendars and MORE!

I hope all parents will take advantage of this great opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ, along with your children, as you journey toward our ultimate destiny: HEAVEN!

~ John David R. Kimes, Coordinator of Religious Education (CRE)

WHY IS FAMILY CATECHESIS IMPORTANT?

FAMILIES ARE ENGAGED.
With family catechesis, families come together regularly — growing in relationship with one another and learning the truths of the Catholic Faith and how to apply them in their lives. In the parish and at home parents and children have the opportunity to build strong relationships through discussion and reflection on topics that matter in their lives.

FAMILIES LEARN TO FOLLOW JESUS.
As families continue to come together to learn about the life of Jesus Christ, His teachings, and the Catholic Faith, they desire to know Him better. The home becomes the place of deep learning as families desire to follow Jesus more closely. Families are introduced to the spiritual treasures of the home, the domestic church. Parents can learn and share with their children practices such as grace before meals, reading and praying with Scripture, and learning about the lives of the saints. All these are included in the monthly Our Catholic Home feature.

 

IT BUILDS THE DOMESTIC CHURCH.
As parents and children engage in discussion about what they are learning, spiritual curiosity is awakened and families desire to deepen in their understanding. Each month, parents have the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities and discussion that they can do as a family to explore the concepts that are taught in each lesson. Younger children might learn through the experience of coloring one of the beautiful illustrations while older children might meditate on the Scripture.

Families using A Family of Faith attend Mass regularly, learn and practice prayers together, and engage in spiritual conversations at home, helping them to grow in holiness! 

OVERVIEW & CURRICULUM

(Based on the Four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

DATE: First Wednesday of the Month (Sept - May) (See Loreto calendar above)

TIME: Following the 5:30 PM Mass (6:30 PM - 8:00 PM)

LOCATION: 

Parent Sessions (McCrystal Hall)

Children's Sessions (St. Catherine School Bldg.)

AUDIENCE: ALL families are welcome! (NOTE: Attendance at Loreto is required for public school children (2nd and 8th Graders) seeking Sacramental Prep. Parents of these students are not required to attend Loreto at this time, however, they will have seperate parent-meetings which they will be required to attend. See link above for Sacramental Prep Calendars).

COST: Varies. See last page of REGISTRATION FORM for more info.

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YEAR 1:

The Creed

Sept: The Role of Parents in Education

Oct: What is Faith?, Who is God?

Nov: Created in God’s Image

Dec: Annunciation, Immaculate Conception

Jan: Who is Jesus?

Feb: Paschal Mystery

Mar: The Holy Spirit

Apr: Marks of the Church and the Communion of Saints

May: Stump the Priests

YEAR 2:

The Sacraments

Sept: The Role of Parents in Education

Oct: What is a Sacrament?

Nov: Sacraments of Initiation

Dec: Confirmation

Jan: The Eucharist, The Mass

Feb: Sacraments of Healing

Mar: Anointing of the Sick

Apr: Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony

May: Stump the Priests

YEAR 3:

Life in Christ

Sept: The Role of Parents in Education

Oct: Heaven - Our Final Destination

Nov: Conscience - God’s Law in Our Hearts

Dec: Cardinal and Theological Virtues

Jan: The First and Great Commandment, and the First Four Commandments

Feb: The 5th - 10th Commandments

Mar: The New Commandment and the Works of Mercy

Apr: The Beatitudes

May: Stump the Priests

YEAR 4:

Christian Prayer

Sept: The Role of Parents in Education

Oct: What is Prayer?

Nov: Jesus Teaches Us How to Prayer

Dec: Prayer and the Our Father

Jan: Prayer and The Holy Spirit

Feb: The Prayer of the Virgin Mary

Mar: Praying with Scripture and Expressions of Prayer

Apr: Prayer as Spiritual Battle

May: Stump the Priests

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does Loreto: Forming Families in the Faith ("family catechesis") replace CCD?
Yes, and in fact, it is essentially an entirely different approach to religious education than what CCD offered (aside from the necessary classes for sacramental preparation i.e., First Communion/Confirmation classes). First, It is not just for public school families, but for ALL of our families. And second, Loreto is an alternative to the typical religious education class model, as it invites parents (through assistance and accompaniment from the parish) to be intimately involved in their child's spiritual and intellectual formation, and to radically bear witness to living an authentic Christian life.

Shouldn't the religious education of children be left to the parish?
Since the current faith f
ormation and religious education model is struggling to transform family life, and since many young people who go through faith formation are leaving the faith, we are proposing a new model (which is actually an ancient model) where the parish focuses on catechizing the parents in order to strengthen parent/child engagement in the Faith. This increases the likelihood that a child will receive an authentic education in the Faith and develop into a knowledgeable and practicing Catholic. Countless studies have shown that parental engagement with the child is the single most effective way to develop young people into disciples of Christ. 


What if the parent doesn't know the Faith well, or know how to teach?
A Family of Faith is completely turn-key (ready to operate) for the parents, giving them the easy-to-understand content and step-by-step instructions for each activity, helping them to gain knowledge of the Faith and confidence as they teach it. Various tools are also available to help parents turn potentially problematic situations into successes, such as what to do when a child asks a question you do not know.


But what if parents don't want to be bothered and remove their child from religious instruction altogether? Wouldn't we be better off just maintaining the status quo?
This did not prove to be the case in the pilot tests we conducted among nine parishes nationwide. While it is true that some parents will likely decide to offer no instruction than to participate in this program, the vast majority of families are finding A Family of Faith to be far more flexible, enabling them to transform the family activities they already do into encounters with God. Parents are able to enter into those “teachable moments” of everyday life. A Family of Faith leads parents into a conversion to Jesus Christ, which is beneficial to the parish, but most of all to the children they are raising.


Is there a lot of work involved for families? How much time will this program take?
No. There are two lessons to teach each month, along with a variety of family and child activities. Each lesson should take no more than 30-45 minutes to complete, and requires minimal preparation on the part of the parent. For the parish catechists, our leader’s guide provides them with ice breakers, presentation notes, discussion questions and answers, and step-by-step instructions for activities, freeing the catechist from the burden of developing all of this on his or her own.


For what age children has this program been developed?
Because this program focuses on teaching the faith to parents and helping them make it an organic part of family life, it is perfect for parents with children of all ages. For example, a monthly feature called “Your Catholic Home” gives specific advice for ways to make the Faith a regular part of each day. The Children’s Activity Books are recommended for children in grades K-6, and features engaging activities at various grade levels. Parents can skip the activities they believe are too elementary or too advanced for their child.


How does the program handle sacramental preparation?
A Family of Faith does not treat the Sacraments as isolated events and is not designed to serve as preparation for receiving the Sacraments. Students grow in their spiritual journey through regular activities with their parents, prayer, Mass attendance, and participation in parish life. St. Catherine of Siena will be using a blend of materials for First Communion preparation as well as for Confirmation preparation. 


How will I know my children are learning?
You will undoubtedly see your children learn as they memorize Scripture verses and are able to define key words of our Catholic Faith. Children will demonstrate in conversation their understanding of concepts of the Faith, and you will see them begin to live their Faith through service projects, an enriched prayer life, and a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. The child’s desire to know, love, and serve Jesus is proof that they are learning and becoming a disciple of Christ. The parish CRE will also make time to meet with each family by the throughout the year to review what they have learned and how they have developed their domestic church. 

Not finding what you're looking for? Don't lose heart! Just Contact jdkimes@stcatherineofsiena.org

Sacramental Prep

CONTENT OVERVIEW

(Hover Over Workbook to Learn More!)

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Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

The Parent's Guide
- Background essays covering each month's content
- Notes for conveying this content to children in age-appropriate ways
- Instructions for activities and craft projects
- Stories of the saints and other notable Catholics
- Suggestions for living the faith at home, such as… 
- Guidance for creating and decorating a prayer space
- Prayers for special occasions


- Tips for talking about tough subjects


- Ways to bring the liturgical year to life in the home
 

AFOF_ChildY3-front.jpg

Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

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Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

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The Parent's Guide is a helpful resource for parents as they grow in their faith! This book contains:

- Background essays covering each month's content


- Notes for conveying this content to children in age-appropriate ways


- Instructions for activities and craft projects


- Stories of the saints and other notable Catholics


- Suggestions for living the faith at home, such as… 


- Guidance for creating and decorating a prayer space
- Prayers for special occasions
- Tips for talking about tough subjects
- Ways to bring the liturgical year to life in the home

 

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Sacramental Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion will follow the Catechesis Guidelines set forth by the Diocese of Covington's Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation. 

Our catechists will utilize a variety of dynamic, engaging, and orthodox formation materials in order to assist our Second Grade Students as they continue their journey of faith! 

Concepts that are central to our 2nd Grade Sacramental Prep program include: creation is a gift; the significance of our baptism and how it opens us to a life of grace; Christ is the Light of the World, and in Him there is no darkness; Jesus is truly the Good Shepherd that calls us, his sheep, by name to have a relationship with Him. The Good Shepherd protects his sheeps, but seeks after them when they are lost. The Good Shepherd calls his sheep to partake in a special Eucharistic feast.

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The Children's Activity Book is designed to help children come to know the Catholic Faith through fun games and activities. The Parent's Guide offers talking points for how to use each activity in the children's book as a teachable moment, leading the child to a deeper relationship with Christ.

 

Activities in the Children's Activity Book include…

  • Age-appropriate readings and activities

  • Scripture memorization and copy work

  • Prayer memorization

  • Saints biographies

  • Games and crafts

  • Drawings and coloring pages

  • Journal pages

  • Prompts for original prayers and reflections

  • Student Family of Faith Materials

Sacramental Preparation for Confirmation will follow the Catechesis Guidelines set forth by the Diocese of Covington's Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation. 

Our catechists will utilize a variety of dynamic, engaging, and orthodox formation materials in order to assist our 8th Grade Students as they continue their journey of faith! 

Concepts that are central to our 8th Grade Sacramental Prep program include: Theology of the Body; God created each of us on purpose and for a purpose; the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; How to Live as a faithful Disciple of Christ, and more!

In addition, we will have a variety of parent formation meetings, an evening of reflection for the Confirmandi and their sponsor, and a Confirmation Retreat!

MEET OUR PARISH CATECHISTS!

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