PCM - 2020-2021 Religious Education Ministry Guidelines

 

Objective:  The objective of the Religious Education ministry is to provide and environment in which students are enabled to build and deepen their relationship with God; to foster an academic culture aimed at the pursuit of Jesus’ truth; and to actively promote growth in virtue.  Our ministry assists parents and/or guardians to teach children and youth of our Parish our Catholic Faith, and prepare children/youth for their Sacraments.  Preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation REQUIRE two years of attendance.  At the same time, we also hope to enrich parents in their own continuing Religious Education.  The humble example of our patron saint, Saint Francis of Assisi and his call from God to “Build My Church” reminds us how to live the Gospel’s way of life.

Philosophy and Goal:  The Religious Education Ministry is about all of us as members of the Parish, the Body of Christ; learning, witnessing and growing in our Catholic faith together.   We educate our youth, children, and adults on what Catholics believe and how we live what we believe.  

Religious Education (Kindergarten through High School)

Religious Education Program:  Our Catechesis has three main parts – Sacred Scripture, Church Doctrine and the Church’s Liturgical Year.  Our catechesis on Tuesday is a blend of 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 relationship with Jesus Christ, prepare to receive the sacraments, and live as active, committed members of the Catholic Church.

Parental Responsibility:  By enrolling your children in Religious Education, parents are expected to participate with their children in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays as well as Holy Days of Obligation.  Parents are also expected to participate in the sacramental life of the Church (specifically Reconciliation and Communion) and to include their children in these sacramental celebrations as the children are eligible to participate in them.

Admission Policies: Parents and/or guardians must be a registered parishioner of Saint Francis of Assisi Church to enroll your child(ren). There is no discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.  Our Religious Education Ministry for Kindergarten through Eighth Grades is on each Tuesday beginning on September 29 at 5:30-6:45pm.  Confirmation is on Sundays from 10:00am or 10:30am (seasonal) to 2:00pm.

  • All students entering Kindergarten must be five years of age by September 1, 2020.
  • You MUST present a copy of your student’s Baptismal Certificate in order to register your children for classes.

Policy for Arrival and Pick-up:  Parents and/or guardians are to present their children before class time at 5:30pm and be picked up promptly in their classroom at 6:45pm. Please remember that it is disruptive to the class when children arrive late.   Parents and/or guardians must bring your children to the classroom and stay until their catechist and/or aide arrives.  It is DANGEROUS to drop your child in the parking lot unattended and the Church will NOT be responsible.  Parents and/or Guardians or other authorized adult (18 years or older) must walk to and from the classroom with the children. A substitute for the parent must be designated in writing on the Registration Form on file. It is the responsibility of every Parent/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.
  • Children and/or youth 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 safe, effective and supportive learning experience.  The Church reserves the right to suspend a child if those authorized leaders judge the youth or children’s behavior as seriously preventing the catechist to teach.

  • 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 Code: All students are to come to class dressed appropriately.  Casual clothing is permitted.  Absolutely NO short shorts, t-shirts with inappropriate pictures or wording, no cleavage or midriff showing, or flip flops.  No hats or caps are to be worn indoors.

Attendance:  Regular attendance in classes is mandatory for students to move to the next level.  No more than three absences are permissible through the year. After three absences, a letter will be sent home from the DRE notifying the parent of  the number of absences.  All missed work should be obtained from the child’s catechist.  Phone the Director of Religious Education (DRE), Jim Brantner in the Religious Education Office at 941-697-4899 Ext. 3 or email him at [email protected] Consistent attendance during sacrament preparation years is essential for children to be ready to receive sacraments (Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation).

Medical Condition: The catechist must be informed about any child who has a special medical condition which could affect teaching.  This information will be 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 or administer the medication themselves.

Accidents and Illness: If a minor accident or illness occurs to a child during the class, the following steps are taken. Also see enclosed Exhibit 1 “Safe Return to Religious Education Plan” in response to COVID-19.

  • The catechist/aide reports the accident or illness immediately to the DRE.
  • If bleeding is involved, the procedures outlined under “Bloodborne Pathogens” are followed. There is a first aid kit located in the DRE’s office and Parish Center kitchen for the catechist/aide with the first aid essentials, disposable latex gloves, disposable towels, etc.
  • The DRE will notify the parents/guardians; if the parent can’t be reached the DRE follows the instructions on the Student Information Record.
  • The DRE or Catechist completes an accident/illness report which will be maintained in the student’s personal file.
  • For serious accident or illness, 9-1-1 will be called.

Safety/Security:  Our Parish has a Parish Safety Team and we have procedures to promote the safety and security of persons using the Parish facilities.  The Parish has provided for a Deputy Sheriff to be present during the hours of our Religious Education (K-8) classes.

Doors:  All Religious Education personnel shall enter and exit through the same exterior entry door.  All exterior doors are locked except for the main entrance, which is monitored while class is in progress to prevent unauthorized access. The entry door will remain locked and only authorized Parish personnel will permit access to the building. Interior or exterior doors are never propped open for any reason.  A video camera monitors all personnel entering the facility.

Lighting:  Exterior lighting is adequate at all exterior entry points and parking areas to allow safe navigation of the property.

Alarms/Panic Buttons:  The buildings are alarmed with a professional security system.  The Church and Parish Center have panic buttons which communicate directly with law enforcement.  

Visitors:  Visitors (parents, guardians, grandparents, etc.) are welcomed to visit their children’s classroom but must have prior permission from the DRE.

Fire Drills: Once during the semester, a fire drill will be held to practice what to do in case of an emergency.

Special Needs:   Parents and/or guardians should communicate with the catechist any special needs or circumstances that may affect your child during their instruction.

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 focus on the life, mission and saving work of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. This lays the foundation for a lifelong relationship with Jesus & 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).

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

  • This text, Alive in Christ is a Christ-centered and balanced approach that gives children a sound foundation organized around seven 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 and challenge children and families to be faithful disciples of Jesus, live the Gospel in their daily lives, and grow in their Catholic identity.
  • The weekly lessons connect the Sunday Mass readings, the seasons of the Church year and music.

Adult Religious Education

RCIA: (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults):   Our RCIA ministry meets every Thursday, 5:30-7:00pm, beginning October 1 in the Parish Center. The RCIA ministry is the process through which adults are received into the Catholic Church. It is for any adult interested in the Catholic faith and want to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion and/or Confirmation. Be a friend and bring a loved one or neighbor to Christ thru the RCIA ministry. Our doors are open! Is God inviting you to join us? Contact our DRE, Jim Brantner at 941-697-4899 Ext. 3 or via email at [email protected]. 

Adult Bible Study:  We meet on Tuesday afternoon at 1:15pm.  Our study begins with 15 minutes of devotion/adoration in the Church and then move to the Parish Conference Room for class.  Each year a study plan is developed using the materials from Little Rock Scripture Studies.

Lectio Divina (Gospel Prayer):  On Mondays each week the Gospel readings for the next week are announced.  Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. The Gospel is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.  We meet in the Church at 11:45am.

Religious Education Communication

General Communication:  We are here to serve the religious educational needs of all of our parishioners.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please talk to me or contact our Director of Religious Education, Jim Brantner, at 941-697-4899 Ext. 3 or via email at [email protected]Religious Education (K-8) parents will receive regular updates on Religious Education News & Updates during the year.

Parish Website: Our Parish Website at http://sfoachurch.weconnect.com  invites you to explore the spirit of our Parish. The website contains resources for you and your famil to continue to learn about the Sacraments that are the heart of our faith.  It also contains information about our Parish Ministry that serves our community.  It is our hope that our website will 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.  

Enclosure

Exhibit 1:  Safe Return to Religious Education Plan