Religious Education Ministry Guidelines

Purpose:  The Purpose of the Parish Catechetical Ministry is to assist parents and guardians to teach your teens and children our Catholic Faith, and prepare the children for the Sacraments.  Preparation for the First Holy Communion and Confirmation sacraments REQUIRE two years of attendance.  We also hope to enrich parents in their own continuing religious education.  The humble example of our Patron, Saint Francis of Assisi, and his “call” from God to “Build My Church” reminds us how to live the Gospel “Way of life”. 

Philosophy and Goal:  The Parish Catechetical Ministry is about all of us, as members of the Church, the Body of Christ, learning, witnessing and growing in our Catholic Faith together.  We teach our youth, children, and adults what Catholics believe and how we live what we believe.  This Catechesis has three main parts – Sacred Scripture, Church Doctrine and the Church’s Liturgical Year.  Our Tuesday catechesis is woven together with attending Sunday Mass and living our Catholic Christian way of life.  Our goal is to lead our Catholic children and families to grow in their intimate communion with Jesus Christ, and receive the SACRAMENTS, and live as active, committed members of the Catholic Church.

Communication:  We are here to serve the religious educational needs of our families.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, talk to me or contact me, Jim Brantner, 941-697-4899 or via email: jbrantner@sfoachurch.com .  Parents will receive Religious Education News & Parish Events News throughout the year.

Website: This Parish Website invites you to explore the Spirit and Schedule of our Parish.  There are the Sacraments that are the heart of our faith and Church Ministry that serves the community.   It is our hope that our Parish Website will motivate and enable you to grow closer to God, as well as invite others to belong and participate in building the Kingdom of God in our midst.  Please join us to Welcome, Worship and Witness together.

Admission Policies: Parents and/or guardians must be a registered parishioners of Saint Francis of Assisi Church to enroll your child in the Religious Education program. There is no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, nationality or handicap.

  • Kindergarten children: All students entering Kindergarten must be five (5) years old by September 1, 2017.
  • You MUST present a copy of the Baptismal Certificate in order to register the children.

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA):  Begins Thursday, September 7, 6–7:30pm for any parent or adult interested in the Catholic faith and receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. Be a friend & bring a loved one or neighbor to Christ thru the RCIA. Our doors are open! Is God inviting you to join us?

Policy for arrival and pick-up:  Parents are to present their child before class time (5:30pm) and be picked up at their classroom at 6:45pm.  It is disruptive when children arrive late.  Parents and/or guardians must bring your child to the classroom and stay until their Catechist/Aide arrives.  It is DANGEROUS to “drop your child off” in the parking lot unattended and the Church is NOT responsible.  Parent, guardian or authorized ADULT must walk to and from the classroom with the children.  (A “Parent Substitute” must be designated in writing on the Registration Form to be put on file).   It is the responsibility of every Parent and Guardian to sign-in and sign-out your child in the classroom every week.

  • Early pick-up is NOT permitted except in an emergency.
  • Pick up is promptly at 6:45pm.
  • Teens and children will be released ONLY to authorized ADULTS.

Custodial Rights of Parents/Guardians: The Church must be informed in writing if there is a “legal” custodial parent or guardian.

Guidelines of Behavior:  There are rules to provide a safe, effective and supportive learning experience.   The Church reserves the right to suspend a child if those authorized judge a teen or child’s behavior is seriously inhibiting the Catechist.

  • Alcohol is forbidden on Church premises when children are present.
  • No Electronic devices are permitted.
  • Cell phones are to be turned off/silent mode.
  • Dress: Teens and children must dress modestly - no cleavage, midriff or short shorts.

Attendance: Attendance at every class is important for the understanding of the lessons and the development of faith of the children.  No more than three (3) absences during the year are accepted.  Phone Mr. Jim Brantner in the Religious Education Office at 941- 697-4899, or write a note stating the reason for the absence and contact the Catechist to find out how to make up the missed lesson at home.

Medical Condition: The Catechist must be informed about any child who has a special medical condition which could flare up or could affect the classroom environment.  This information is confidential.  There will be no food or snacks during the sessions, because children may have medical restrictions or allergies.  Parents are not permitted to bring food or snacks to the classroom.

Medication:  No medication of any kind is permitted to be administered to, or taken by, a child during the class time. If an emergency, the parent must provide a written directive.

Accidents & Illness:  If a minor accident or illness occurs to a child during the class, the following steps are taken.

  • The Catechist reports the accident or illness immediately to the Director.
  • If bleeding is involved, the procedures outlined under “Bloodborne Pathogens” are followed. Each classroom has a kit for the Catechist with disposable latex gloves, disposable towels and a first aid kit.
  • The Director will notify the parents/guardians; if the parent can’t be reached the Director follows the instructions on the Student Information Record.
  • The Director completes an accident/illness report and keeps it on file.
  • For serious accident or illness, 911 or the local emergency rescue squad is called.

Visitors: No unauthorized persons are allowed in the Parish Center during religious education sessions. Parents/guardians are welcomed to visit their child’s classroom but must report to the Director for permission. Friends of children are permitted only with advance notice, and only with the permission of the Catechist and Director.

Fire Drills: Once a semester a fire drill will be held to practice what to do in an emergency evacuation. There is a diagram of emergency exits and procedures on display in every classroom.

Parents/Guardians:  Parents and/or guardians should communicate with the Catechist any special needs or circumstances that may affect your child within the classroom.

Textbooks:  We will use Our Sunday Visitor’s Alive in Christ, a premier Catholic Education curriculum that engages today's children.  Alive in Christ is intentional in its age-appropriate focus on the life, mission and saving work of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.  This lays the foundation for building a lifelong relationship with Jesus and His Church, who "...alone can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity"(CCC 426).

Tools for Involving Families: The “Family + Faith” page and the engaging Family/Student/Catechist easy-to-use website Alive in Christ for many creative & practical lesson enrichment resources.

  • This text, Alive in Christ is a Christ-centered and balanced approach that gives children a sound foundation organized around 7 key themes of Catholic Teaching that repeat each year within a grade-level focus that leads to growing in their faith relationship with Christ and his Church.
  • The Weekly Lessons inspire, teach & challenge children & families to be faithful disciples of Jesus, live the Gospel in their daily lives, & grow in their Catholic identity.
  • The weekly lessons connect the Sunday Mass readings, music & the seasons of the Church year.