Thank you to all who attended one of the Confirmation meetings last Thursday, September 7th. A lot of information was given and a lot of questions were asked. I will do my best to sum up the presentation in this email.
First and foremost, thank you for all you have done to prioritize your child’s faith and raise them up so well.
In a nutshell, take the Confirmation booklet you received at the end of last year, turn it sideways, and tear it in half. Now, be good stewards of the earth, place it in your recycling bin. Okay, moving on!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Many religious education programs are guilty of this and upon reviewing our program, I must say that we are too. I believe that the program may have served the parish well in the past, but in light of Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter released June 3, 2017 titled, “Unleash the Gospel” , that model is no longer successful in creating a joyful band of missionary disciples.
You, the parent, are the primary catechist of your child. You, the parent, made the promise at Baptism to raise them in the faith. Our Religious Education department is here to assist, provide tools, answer questions, and walk alongside you, but not micromanage or stifle your child’s progress with hoops for you to jump through. The Holy Spirit should have a direct path to your child without us getting in the way. Your child has been given a unique set of gifts and talents specifically given to bring people to Jesus Christ. So, help them discover those talents and go use it in service for that purpose.
Beginning with this year’s 6th grade class, the preparation will be three years. The approximate amount of time of Jesus’ public ministry on earth.
The first year will focus on: Denying yourself using the acronym J.O.Y. Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third.
The second year will focus on: Taking up your cross - Identify things in your life that hold you back from fully embracing God’s love for you
The Third year will be: Follow Me – Time to walk the walk and focus on your mission following Confirmation
CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE REVISED PROGRAM
A couple of comments…
Service: We will NOT track your student’s progress. That does not mean they should not be serving or participating in parish and community opportunities. Service and being involved in parish activities should be ongoing and a way of life not a means-to-an-end. Find your talent and go be YOU in the world! Keep track on your own and be prepared to share those experiences in your end-of-the-year conference. No limits, just unending outpouring of Christ’s love in the world. If your child is already on any schedules, they should fulfill their obligation. But have fun – Explore the parish and the community and be Christ to others.
End of Year Conferences: Each student will be about 15 minutes long and will be scheduled through sign-up genius. The Online Assignments marked “Portfolio” will be used as the point of conversation during these conferences. Students will lead these conferences (we will coach them on this later) and they will also share how they have served the parish or community. The parent will then decide with the child if they are ready to move up to the next level of preparation.
Some may ask, “I send my child to a Catholic school, why don’t they get this in Religion Class?”
To be clear, Sacramental preparation is the responsibility of the parish, not the school. Your child’s religion class focuses on the Life of Christ, Church Doctrine, History, Dogmas, etc. This is an academic approach where students are able to be assessed on their understanding and knowledge of the subject being presented. Our teachers do a great job connecting the head to the heart in the classroom as well. Sacraments on the other hand allow us opportunities to encounter Christ in a personal way and are a personal decision in our faith journey. This is why the preparation is presented and recorded at the parish level.
Another way to look at this would be that your child has gym class and yet they play on parish sport teams after school. Perhaps your child takes music lessons even though they have a music class at school. This is a special preparation to prepare for something special.
Thank you again for your commitment to your child’s formation. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Greg Crachiolo, DRE