Youth Faith Formation
Dear Paulist Center Families,
This year has certainly been one of extreme, unprecedented circumstances, especially for our children and the family members who help support them. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the archdiocese has prohibited in-person religious education classes for the fall with the spring still to be determined. It just is not safe yet to gather.
As adults, we know how much we are relying on our faith right now. Children too need to feel close and comforted by our loving God. I have thought deeply about the best way to offer a religious education program that permits children time with one another to continue and explore their faith journey while not bogging them down with another zoom class. My goal: to provide a shorter than usual session that does not feel like class time. Just like adults gather at coffee hour to continue exploring the readings, I propose: Diving Deeper Into God’s Word; a 30-minute session following the 10 am Prayer Service every other Sunday (see schedule).
Diving Deeper would be a 30-minute session for groups of children to gather for song, games, skits and an activity that taps into something they already know or have experienced and reinforces the Sunday Gospel theme. While parents are chatting about the readings at Mae’s Coffee Hour, children can be doing the same. A catechist leads the children through the half hour using Pflaum Gospel Weeklies handouts that provide a structure using developmentally appropriate activities and stories.
The Gospel Weeklies Faith Formation Program flows from the words of Jesus Christ in the Sunday Gospels. Children learn their faith—including instructions in doctrine, sacraments, commandments, and prayer—within the rhythms and seasons of the Liturgical Year, encouraging a growing participation in the life of the parish community. The lesson plans are short, simple, direct and customized that link Gospel and doctrine and apply both to a child’s lived experience, but more importantly, they are fun, relational and hands on! Kids learn about God through funny skits, singing together, completing art and crafts projects together and watching videos. While this is not an hour of religious instruction every week, it is a solid and gentle substitute for a year filled with extremes.
Each group consists of two combined grades led by a catechist:
Promise Group – Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Good News Group – Grades 2 & 3
Venture Group – Grades 4, 5
Vision Group – Grades 6, 7 & 8
Each family that registers would receive 8 weeks of handouts at a time for each of your children to participate. Because we are not using books this year nor would be using the typical amount of supplies and materials for a year’s worth of FREP-related events, the registration fee would be $50 (not $150) to cover the handouts and teacher’s books. Of course, like any program at the Paulist Center, if the fee is a hardship, we have scholarships to apply. We do not want the cost of the program to impede your child’s participation in the program.
In addition, if your teen is interested in joining our Sr. High Youth Group this year (grades 9-12), the format will mostly take the form of a book read, reading a few chapters at a time followed by scheduled zoom discussions.
If you are interested in registering for a specific grade for this year’s religious education program at the Paulist Center or a youth group or sacramental prep program, please fill out the registration form and return it via email or snail mail. I will be in touch with more information once the registration process has been completed. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 27TH. And, of course, please let me know if you have any questions.
I look forward to working with your children this year!
Registration is required for these programs. View this year’s registration form to sign up now.
For questions, or to learn more about our youth programs, contact Susan Rutkowski.
Opportunities for All Ages!
Liturgy of the Word for Children
Between September and May, children at the 10am Sunday Liturgy have the opportunity to hear the Word of God in language they can understand and reflect on in their own words. Adult leaders proclaim the readings from the Lectionary for Masses with Children, a translation that is more comprehensible to young children and approved by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops.
There are two groups – one for ages 0 to 5 and the other for ages 6-10. A parent must accompany a child in the younger group. The presider calls forth the children following the Opening Prayer, and we send them along with the adult leaders. Once dismissed, the children break into two separate groups for age appropriate activities based on the Sunday Scriptures. The children then return to the chapel at the time of the Offertory to continue to celebrate the Eucharist with the entire assembly.
There are no gatherings on holiday weekends or weekends with youth liturgical ministry involvement (which means there are approximately two Sundays per month when Liturgy of the Word for Children takes place.)
This ministry is always in search of adults willing to assist in leading these sessions. Having a love for sharing faith with our younger members of the community is vital. New adult leaders receive training, access to materials, and mentoring by others with experience.
Religious Education (Grades 1-6)
Graded class groups (1st-6th grade) gather most Sunday mornings following the 10am Liturgy (11:15-12:15 pm). Adult volunteers teach or assist using Loyola Press’ Finding God series. Parents provide snack and are encouraged to volunteer. Consistent attendance is very important for a fulfilling classroom experience.
For more information or to get involved, contact Susan Rutkowski.
Junior High Youth Group
The 7th & 8th grade program meets roughly twice a month following the 10am liturgy (11:15-12:15 pm). Participants will explore topics of faith and everyday living. Social and service opportunities are also available over the course of the year. More information here.
Senior High Youth Group
The Senior High Youth generally gathers twice per month after 10am Mass (11:15-12:15 pm). The group’s goal is to provide our teens with a forum for conversation on spiritual topics, life, and high school. Participants enjoy a mix of discussions, fun activities, service projects, movies and other events throughout the year.
More information here.