+Faith Formation Handbook+

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1 +Faith Formation Handbook+ The mission of our Family Faith Formation is to unite in partnership with parents to help their children develop their faith in the Holy Trinity and their daily living of the Catholic Faith so that they might gain everlasting life in Heaven. By the Grace of God, we strive to grow in holiness by keeping God s commandments, celebrating the Sacraments, sharing our faith, strengthening family bonds and practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Growing in faith is a life-long process for each individual as well as the work of the entire Catholic community here on earth united with Mary, the Mother of God, and all the Saints in Heaven.

2 Dear Saint Matthew Families: Welcome to a new year of Faith Formation! We look forward to partnering with you as we help our children and youth learn more about the Holy Trinity and celebrate our Catholic Faith together. Young people receive their spirituality from you at home, from our church community, and directly as a gift from God. Your influence on your child s faith development is more significant than any other person or experience your child will ever have. God showed His love for us, by requiring that we take time out of our busy lives, once a week, to give Him honor and worship, so we can be spiritually healthy. God has inspired the Church to require our attendance at Mass at a Catholic Church, every weekend. Attendance at Mass gives us the opportunity to be spiritually fed when we listen to God s words as the Scriptures are proclaimed, and when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus and our Catholic Church require that we also receive God s graces by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once each year. If we are in a state of un-confessed serious sin, we may not receive Holy Communion unless serious sin has been forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our Faith Formation catechists and curriculum present and reinforce the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith. There is/has been confusion by some students because they are not being taken or encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and are not attending Mass each weekend and Holy Days of Obligation. Because PARENTS are the most important teachers of our Catholic Faith for their children, this sends a mixed message to children. It is confusing if the parents put little importance on the practice of our Catholic Faith, but the catechists and our Catholic Church, emphasize how important it is to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. God and our Church always invites us to come back to receiving the Sacraments, both for ourselves and as an example for our child/ren and to continue to learn more about Him and His Church. Children hear our actions, how we live, more than they hear our words. The Faith Formation program provides a safe place for young people to share spiritual ideas, a place where they can pray together and learn more about God, the Bible and the teachings of our Catholic Church. Liturgical experiences will also be part of the formation process, as well as opportunities to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. The Faith Formation staff and catechists here, work in partnership with you, as you do all you can to help your child become a believing, loving Catholic Christian. The catechists are volunteering their time and talent, and we owe them an enormous amount of support and gratitude. Know that our priests are always available for your spiritual needs or questions. We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities we present on Wednesday evenings and other times for you to grow in your own adult faith. Faith Formation is a life-long process; we are never too old to grow in our faith! We invite you to become an active participant in the varied programs that we have to offer. May God bless you and your family. Welcome, thank you for being here. Your presence shows your commitment as a parent to help your child / children embrace their faith and grow in their knowledge and love of God. In order for our Catholic Faith to carry on through our young people, it is important for them to have both the support of you their parents and the entire parish family.

3 Sunday School for grades Kindergarten through 5th will be held on Sunday mornings from 9:15am until 10:15am in the Parish Center. Elementary Students preparing to receive First Holy Communion must attend Sunday School. We encourage your family to attend either the 8am or 10:30am Mass. Wednesday night will be dedicated to Middle and High School Students starting at 6pm in the Church with Joy & Devotion. Middle & High School Students preparing for First Holy Communion must attend Wednesday night Our handbook attempts to describe our curriculum and administrative policies. It is our hope that it will give you an understanding of our program and encourage you to actively participate. If you would like to volunteer, have any questions, concerns, please feel free to contact us. Let us work together and make this year and every year rewarding and fulfilling for the children and youth of Saint Matthew Community.

4 GENERAL POLICIES SIGN IN AND SIGN OUT PROCEDURE For the safety of all students, we ask that at least one parent/guardian remain on the Church grounds and we ask for your cooperation by adhering to our procedures when signing in and signing out your student. For security reasons, please do not to drop your child off at the curb or leave your child unattended outside of the church or in the parking lot. Sign in: Upon arriving parents and students must enter the Parish Center. Parents must sign students in at each classroom. Sign out: Parents are to pick up their student at 10:15am Students will not be dismissed to waiting cars. Parents or designated adult must come into the classroom and sign-out the student. Students will remain in their designated classrooms until a parent or designated adult signs the student out. If parents do not arrive by 10:15am, the catechist will escort remaining students to the Front Office where they will wait until parent or designated adult arrives to sign them out. It is important to be on time. If your child has to be escorted to the Front Office more than once you will be asked to have a meeting with Richard or Father O Brien. SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION Sacramental Preparation for Confirmation, First Communion and First Reconciliation takes place within the total parish community. Under the General Principles for Sacramental Catechesis the National Directory for Catechesis we are reminded that sacramental catechesis Is intended for all members of the Christian community, takes place within the community, and involves the whole community of faith [NDC, p. 114].Therefore, sacraments should be celebrated in the student s Parish. If your child attends Saint Joseph Catholic School you will be asked to meet with Father O Brien on a quarterly basis. REQUIREMENTS FIRST COMMUNION Your child needs to meet these requirements: Baptized in the Catholic Faith Registered members of Saint Matthew Catholic Church Regularly attends Sunday Faith Formation Regularly attends Sunday Mass CONFIRMATION Please see What you need to know for Confirmation Preparation at St Matthew Catholic Church, which you can find at the Narthex Desk. Please note: A copy of the Baptismal Certificate and First Communion Certificate needs to be turned in with the registration form Candidates preparing for Confirmation need to attend Wednesday Discipleship sessions. Please refer to the calendar for days and time.

5 ATTENDANCE POLICY As parents, you are accountable for your student s activities and the priorities in their lives. Weekly attendance of Faith Formation class demonstrates to them that God is the most important part of their life. Most importantly Sacramental Preparation Sessions are MANDATORY. If your student misses ONE session your student will have to wait until next year to complete his or her Sacrament. Early Dismissal/Tardiness: Faith Formation classes meet according to the calendar. Please make every effort to be on time and to stay for the entire class time. Early Dismissal: Should an early dismissal be required, the parent must notify the catechist before class begins. Students will not be dismissed early without permission from the Parent and Catechist. Emergency Faith Formation Closing: If classes need to be cancelled due to inclement weather, we will follow the safety procedures from the Polk County School Systems. If you have any questions, you can always call our office at (863) Visitors: Parents are always welcome to visit the program at any time. In order to be in compliance with the diocesan standards, we ask that all parents who wish to participate in their child s class to talk with your child s catechist (prior to attendance). For more information regarding diocesan policies visit CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES An important element of Faith Formation is to provide children with clear guidance, give them opportunities to learn from their mistakes, master appropriate behaviors, and learn to make positive choices for themselves. The Pastor, Catechists, Parents and our staff all play vital roles in this learning process. The catechist will address the discipline guidelines with the class. Discipline Guidelines: First Offense: Catechist names inappropriate behavior and gives the student a chance to make a positive choice. Second Offense: to discuss behavior and alternative positive behaviors (student will be asked to complete a Reflection Sheet ). The student will be asked to discuss the Reflection Sheet with his or her parent(s), sign it, have their parent(s) sign it and return it to the catechist. Third Offense: The parent or guardian is called to schedule a meeting to discuss a plan that will allow the student to continue in the program. Major Misconduct: All persons involved in the Faith Formation Program in any way are expected to respect each other and every individual with whom they are in contact. There is to be no improper touch or use of demanding or abusive language of a racial or sexual nature. Inappropriate behavior will be reported and parents will be contacted. Other appropriate action will take place as required by law. All participants shall refrain from words or actions that can lead to negative / violent reactions i.e. fighting, negative verbal teasing, demeaning remarks All Faith Formation sessions will be smoke, drug, alcohol and bully free for ALL involved regardless of where and when the sessions or activities take place.

6 ELECTRONIC DEVICES POLICY: To protect personal property and avoid disruptions to the learning environment: NO electronic devices allowed in the church or class. This means NO audio, video devices, cell phones, headphones, ipods, MP3/MP4 and CD players, games, etc...please leave them at home. Child Safety Our Top Priority: The Diocese of Orlando is committed to doing everything in its power to ensure the safety of all those entrusted to its care, particularly children, the elderly, and the disabled. We believe that each individual is created in the image of God and must be treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, the Diocese of Orlando considers any abuse or neglect of any kind to be totally unacceptable and contrary to Christian principles. All employees, priests, religious brothers and sisters, and covered volunteers in the Diocese of Orlando will be screened in accordance with this policy. Additional screening will be done for clergy and seminarians according to the policies of the Diocese. In an effort to ensure the safety of those persons under the care of the Diocese, all Church Personnel, including all individuals who minister, work, or volunteer in any school, parish, or ministry of the Diocese whose compliance with this policy is sought, will be required to submit a completed Criminal Background Check Form as well as a complete set of fingerprints so as to facilitate a criminal background investigation. Eligibility for employment, volunteer work, or ministry will be contingent and conditioned upon a satisfactory background investigation. This background investigation will be updated every five (5) years, except for instructional personnel who are recertified by the State of Florida every five (5) years with an FBI check. This policy applies even if an individual has been cleared through an FBI/VECHS or FDLE check conducted by their employer or another entity. Reporting Any clergy, religious, lay employee, or volunteer of the Diocese of Orlando who knows or has cause to suspect that a child or vulnerable adult has been subjected to any form of abuse, child sexual abuse, or neglect by any person, including another diocesan employee or volunteer, religious or clergy, immediately will observe the appropriate procedures. Copy of the procedures is available in the Office of Faith Formation. For more information visit: FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES As parents and caregivers, you are the primary educators of your children. You provide the example for your child by living your faith, attending Mass and receiving the sacraments regularly. In partnership with you, we hope to teach your children what it means to be a Catholic Christian. We are here to assist and encourage you in your God given responsibility. Families are expected to be active in the parish and support it in the spirit of stewardship, sharing their time, talent and treasure. Parents are asked to give of their time to help out in the classroom or with activities if needed. Parents are always welcome to visit their child s class. Contact your child s catechist. Regular attendance is essential. Parents are expected to attend any meetings applicable to them. In the event of an absence, please call and let us know that your child will not be there. It is the responsibility of the parent and the child to contact the catechist for any work missed. Communication between families and the Faith Formation Office is essential. Parents will be kept informed of important information, dates, etc. through announcements at Mass, Faith Formation Newsletter via , flyers, parish bulletin and website. Information may also be sent home by way of your child. Please check with your child weekly to see if they have any information to give you. As a parent or guardian, please inform us of any special need your child may have. Every effort will be made to include and offer services for various learning disabilities, as well as home based options for those whose particular needs we are unable to accommodate. Let us know how we can be of assistance to you.

7 Faith Formation Calendar Grades K through 5th in the Parish Center Date Class Time Sunday September 18, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday September 25, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday October 2, 2016 / Respect Life Event TBD Sunday October 9, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday October 16, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday October 23, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday October 30, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Friday Night Trunk R Treat Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday November 6, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday November 13, 2016 Sunday November 20, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday November 27, 2016 Thanksgiving Holiday No Class Sunday December 4, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday December 11, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday December 18, 2016 Sunday December 25, 2016 Sunday January 1, 2016 Sunday January 8, 2016 Sunday January 15, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday January 22, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday January 29, 2016 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday February 5, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday February 12, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday February 19, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday February 26, 2017 Sunday March 5, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday March 12, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday March 19, 2017 Sunday March 26, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday April 2, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday April 9, 2017 Sunday April 16, 2017 Sunday April 23, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday April 30, 2017 Faith Formation for Grades K through 5th 9:15am-10:15am Sunday May 7, 2017 Last Day of Faith Formation The dates in red = Note: Calendar is subject to change based on Parish Events

8 Faith Formation Calendar Grades: Middle and High School Our Class night will now be called Joy & Devotion Date Class Time Wednesday September 21, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday September 28, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Saturday October 1, 2016 Spaghetti Dinner in the Parish Center 4pm-7pm Tuesday October 4, 2016 Blessing of the Pets 6:30pm Wednesday October 5, 2016 Joy & Devotion - Dedicated to the Rosary 6pm Wednesday October 12, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday October 19, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday October 26, 2016 No Class Friday October 28, 2016 Friday Night Trunk R Treat 6pm Wednesday November 2, 2016 Joy & Devotion then All Souls Mass at 7pm All must attend 6pm Wednesday November 9, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday November 16, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday November 23, 2016 No Class Wednesday November 30, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday December 7, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Friday December 9, 2016 Las Posadas (Youth Group Night) 6pm Wednesday December 14, 2016 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday December No Class Wednesday December 28, 2016 No Class Wednesday January 4, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday January 11, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday January 18, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday January 25, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday February 1, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday February 8, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday February 15, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday February 22, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday March 1, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday March 8, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday March 15, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday March 22, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday March 29, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday April 5, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday April 12, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday April 19, 2017 No Class Wednesday April 26, 2017 No Class Wednesday May 3, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Wednesday May 10, 2017 Joy & Devotion 6pm Summer calendar to be handed out in April Notice: Calendar subject to change based on Parish Calendar Families are required to participate in Social Justice Projects more information to be sent home at a later date

9 Social Justice Projects & Events For Middle School & High School Students & Families Date Event Time Friday, August 12, 2016 Teen Night at Lake Ashton Country Club 5:30pm - 8pm Friday, September 09, 2016 Teen Night at Lake Ashton Country Club 5:30pm - 8pm Month of October Thanksgiving Food Collection Social Justice Project all Masses - must sign up Saturday, October 01, 2016 Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Steubenvbille funding To be announced Tuesday, October 04, 2016 Blessing of the Pets - Teens need to help Father 6:30pm Friday, October 28, 2016 Trunk R Treat 6pm-8pm Friday, October 14, 2016 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm Friday, November 11, 2016 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm - 8pm November -December Angel Tree Project all Masses - must sign up Friday, December 09, 2016 Las Posadas - All Teens must attend / Teen Night after 6pm-8pm November -December Adopt a Grandparent Social Justice Project To be announced January Baby Shower begins parish wide/social Justice Project all Masses - must sign up Saturday, January 14, 2017 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm January February Steubenville Registration begins Deposits due for Steubenville Friday, February 10, 2017 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm March Fish Fry helpers needed Teens & Parents 4pm-7pm March Social Justice Project Home Beautification To be announced Friday, March 10, 2017 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm Saturday, April 22, 2017 Dance for Adults Steubenville Fundraiser To be announced Friday, April 14, 2017 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm Friday, May 12, 2017 Teen Night at Saint Matthew Parish Center 6pm-8pm May-June VBS Volunteer sign up To be announced Teen Night activity will be decided on a month to month basis. If you have any ideas please talk to Ms. Michele Social Justice Projects are designed to be completed with Teen and Family Steubenville Social Justice Project by Teens

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