Handbook. Church of Saint Joseph Faith Formation

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1 Church of Saint Joseph Faith Formation Handbook Program Notes, Policies, and Procedures Prayer to St. Joseph Father, you entrusted our Savior to the care of St. Joseph. By the help of his prayers may your Church continue to serve its Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen The desire of our hearts is to be a vibrant sacramental Catholic community that prays, learns, and serves to witness to the power of God in our lives and in the world.

2 St. Joseph Faith Formation Contact Information Address: 41 East First Street Waconia, MN Maggie Smith, Elementary Faith Formation (Preschool-Grade 5) Phone: (952) Carla Folz, Junior High through Confirmation and Youth Ministry (Grades 6-12) Phone: (952) *Individual catechists, by grade can be contacted through the Faith Formation Director by calling the above number. Faith Formation catechists are volunteers from within the parish community, who have stepped forward to teach the fundamentals of the Catholic faith and to encourage a deepening of one s relationship with God through prayer, participation in Mass, and frequent reception of the Holy Sacraments. Faith Formation Mission Statement It is the mission of the Faith Formation program at St. Joseph Catholic Church to support parents by providing programs that bring families in closer relationship to Jesus Christ through the faithful practice of the Roman Catholic Faith. Our Goals 1. Given that the whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] 1113), our program desires to instill a greater love for the Mass and a deeper appreciation of the Sacraments. 2. Since parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children in the faith, prayer and all the virtues (CCC 2252), our program seeks to provide tools that support parents in their role as primary educators. 3. In conformity the Pope, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, and our local Archbishop, we will provide and facilitate approved age-appropriate curriculum for our youth. To help form the whole person, our program will integrate this curriculum with prayer, service, and community-building. Moreover, adult faith enrichment opportunities will be provided for differing levels of knowledge and experience. 4. As part of St. Joseph Parish, a vibrant Catholic community, our program will provide parish-wide events for all ages which celebrate our Catholic identity and further build a sense of community within the parish setting. 5. It is our intent to foster a sense of stewardship, the sharing of our time talent and resources, within all program participants. Specifically in our program we will recruit and train catechists so that every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me (CCC 427). 2

3 This PARENT HANDBOOK is intended to be a source of information for your reference. It is also intended to aid us in creating a safe and effective learning environment for the students and catechists. Please read this booklet and keep it for future reference regarding our policies and procedures. Table of Contents Contact Information 2 Mission Statement and Goals 2 Class Times and Locations 4 Attendance Policy 4 Drop-off Policy 4 Class Cancelations 5 Behavior and Discipline 5 Facility Rules 6 Reporting Abuse 6 Protecting Children and Youth Initiative 7 Who is a Catechist? 8 Pre-K and Kindergarten Faith Formation 8 1st, 3rd-5th grades Faith Formation 8 Prayer in 1st grade 8 First Reconciliation & First Eucharist 2nd grade 9 The Apostle s Creed in 3rd grade 9 The Saints in 5th grade 9 Homeschooling the Sacraments 9 Junior High (Grades 6-8) 10 Confirmation 11 Parent Covenant 12 3

4 Time and Location of Classes Sundays 9:15am 10:15am: Preschool and Kindergarten Parish Center Wednesdays 6:00pm 7:00pm: Grade 1 through Grade 5 7:15pm 8:30pm: Grade 6 through Confirmation Education Center Education Center & Parish Center Attendance Policy Class Attendance: Weekly attendance is required for continuity of learning. If a student is going to miss class, the Faith Formation Director should be notified by leaving a voice mail or by speaking to the director personally. Please call Please honor this. Attendance will be taken each class. A child is considered unexcused when the Director is unaware of the absence. In all grades, three consecutive unexcused absences will require a meeting between the Faith Formation Director and the Family. This is part of the Parent Covenant with the Church. Consistent attendance fosters community among the participants. Make up work will be assigned by the Director. Completed work should be returned to the Director. Mass Attendance: We ask families to worship together at Mass each weekend. Parents have the responsibility to see that this obligation is not considered lightly. To purposefully allow your child to miss Mass on any given weekend or Holy Day of Obligation dynamically negates the teaching efforts of St. Joseph s Faith Formation Program. Missing Mass has a profound negative effect on your son s or daughter s journey to and with God. Drop Off & Pick-Up Policy For all Pre K through Grade 3 students, parents must drop off and pick up their child at their respective classroom. For the safety and protection of our more vulnerable children, we are asking that you to check in and check out your child at each session at the beginning and dismissal of Faith Formation. Only the parents, an immediate family member, or a guardian designated by the parent will be allowed to pick up a child who has been dropped off in our care. If there are any questions, feel free to call the Faith Formation Director. Parents are asked to pick up their children no later than 10:15am or after Mass on Sundays, and 7:00 pm on Wednesdays. Older children should be picked up by 8:30 pm. 4

5 Class Cancelations Classes may be canceled in the case of severe weather conditions. When these circumstances arise, please check St. Joseph s website at Sunday classes are not usually canceled due to severe weather. When they are, the information will be recorded on the Faith Formation Director s voice mail ( ) by 8:00am of that particular Sunday morning in addition to the website. Wednesday classes will be canceled when School District 110 (Waconia) closes early or cancels after school activities due to weather conditions. Behavior and Discipline It is not the role of the Faith Formation catechists to discipline those enrolled in our program. In the event of inappropriate behavior, a judgment call must be made by the catechist. The following process will govern disciplinary action within the classroom: Verbal Warning: Catechist gives the student an official verbal warning that his/her conduct is in appropriate for class. Written Warning: Catechist gives the student a written warning with an outline of the problem that occurred in the classroom. The student will meet with the Director. The Director will call the parents that day, and file the written warning. Parents will receive a copy of the written warning mailed or ed to them. #2 Written Warning: Catechist gives the student a 2 nd written warning with an account of the problem in the classroom. The student will meet with the Director. The Director will call the parents. The warning is to be signed by the appropriate parent and/or guardian, and brought to the catechist with an apology. Before the student returns to class, a meeting will be held with the Faith Formation Director, the Catechist, the student and the Parent. A discussion concerning the child s behavior and a corrective action plan will occur to ensure a positive learning environment for the student, the class, and the catechist. If problem in the classroom continues, the Faith Formation Director and the parents of the student will work out an alternate method of faith formation for the student. The above steps will be specific to the particular student. Student, family and/or classroom circumstances will be considered in each of the above steps. In the case of inappropriate behavior of a student receiving sacramental preparation, it may be that the student involved may need to mature before receiving the sacrament. It will then be recommended that he/she wait until the following year to continue preparation for the sacrament. These rules are in place to make sure that all students and catechists feel safe, welcome, and respected. Students need to remember and practice the Great Commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind... You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (MT 22:37, 39) 5

6 Facility Faith Formation classes are held in the Parish Center on Sundays and in Education Center on Wednesdays. Students are to enter and exit through the 1 st Street main entrance doors (parking lot side). For safety, we ask that all drop-offs and pick-ups be made on the 1 st Street entrance; all other doors of the EC will remain locked. Please do not exit through any of the side doors of the building. If we need to make a change in this procedure, parents will be notified. 1. Candy, gum, soft drinks and snacks are not acceptable during Faith Formation classes. (Catechists may make exceptions to this in the case of a special class celebration.) 2. Toys, games and electronic devices (beepers, radios, cell phones, IPODS, etc.) are not allowed in class at any time. 3. The facility needs to be respected at all times. This includes the classrooms and desks, which should be left the way they were found before Faith Formation. 4. Any threatening or illegal behavior will be reported to the police immediately. If a student is caught not respecting the property, they will be written up and a consequence assigned. Reporting Abuse Mandated Reporter Law. If an administrator, catechist or any other volunteer who works with our program has reason to believe that a student may have been the victim of abuse or neglect, he or she is legally required to make a direct and immediate confidential report to Carver County Social Services at Anyone making such a report is requested to inform the Faith Formation director immediately. If you as a parent or parishioner have first hand knowledge of any child abuse or are made aware of any child abuse caused by a volunteer, teacher, or staff member of St. Joseph Church in Waconia, please, immediately report this behavior or abuse. Police: Pastor: x133 Faith Formation Director: x 137 or x133 Carver County Social Services: If an ordained clergy member of St. Joseph Church in Waconia is the abuser, immediately report this behavior to the Vicar General or the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis at

7 Protection of Children and Youth Initiative The Protection of Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI) of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has one goal: shielding our children from abuse. The initiative has two components: one is training for clergy, teachers, volunteers and others who work with children. The other is age-appropriate, church-approved safe environment lessons for children in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. It is our goal here at St. Joseph Church and School to partner with parents and families in creating safe and sacred places for children and young people. We train our teachers, volunteer, and catechists with a program called VIRTUS. VIRTUS training is a three hour awareness session which better equips adults to protect children in the world around them. It is required of all clergy, deacons, school and parish employees as well as all volunteers who are in regular contact with children. VIRTUS is mandatory for all those who work with children and vulnerable adults. St. Joseph Parish has been providing this training since the spring of Attend a session at St Joseph September 12 at 6:00 in the PC, if you have not already done so. As another measure of the initiative, all employees of St. Joseph Parish, all catechists and other volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults are required to undergo background checks, as mandated by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Those under the age of 18 are required to provide two references instead of having background checks. The second part of PCYI are programs that teach our children about personal safety. We have age appropriate programs that we use during the school year to accomplish this. Each program is age-appropriate and respects parents role as their children s primary educators. You can review all of these materials in the Director s office or on line. Pre-school 5th Grade: Netsmartz Know the Rules is a program that teaches children basic rules about personal safety. 6th - 8th Grade: KidWISE Institute Inc. s Out of Harm s Way: Personal Safety Curriculum, which focuses on Internet safety, bullying prevention and appropriate touch. Out of Harm s Way teaches middle school aged children about their right to say no, to protect themselves, and to create healthy boundaries. 9th - 12th Grade: Through St. Mary s Press Creating Safe and Sacred Spaces, High school students will learn to recognize the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to potentially abusive situation, how to safely use technology and how to build healthy relationships. 7

8 Who is Your Child s Catechist? Your children s catechists are volunteers who want to share their faith, who want to serve our parish community, who care about youth, who love Catholicism, who share their talents, who pray, who teach, who answer questions, etc. Your child s catechists freely give their time to support you by helping your child grow in faith. We thank our catechists for all they do and welcome others to join them. If you are interested in joining in this important ministry, please contact the Faith Formation Director. Faith Formation for Pre-K and Kindergarten Pre-K and Kindergarten students need activity and variety in the classroom. We use a program that teaches prayer, faith, and the basic stories from Salvation History. We use story telling, worksheets, crafts, and music, to build belief and relationship with God. Pre-K and Kindergarten meet on Sunday during the 9:15 Mass in the Parish Center. First Grade and Third through 5th Grade We use Finding God from Loyola Press in grades one, three, four, and five. Finding God is a systematic catechesis program, in which curriculum of all grades build upon one another so that children learn, review, and live out the Scripture, doctrine, and traditions of our faith. Finding God s unique emphasis on spirituality and prayer helps children to deepen their relationship with Jesus. Different types of activities within each lesson help engage all types of learners. This program is also designed to actively engage parents in catechizing their children. Text books will come home weekly for parents to review, and must be returned the following session. There are also daily reflections and student activities on Loyola Press website: If you would like more help reviewing Faith Formation material at home, Loyola Press also publishes a family learning guide. Prayer in First Grade One emphasis in the first grade curriculum is basic Catholic prayers. Students need to know their prayers before sacramental preparation in second grade. We require that all first graders be able to make the Sign of the Cross, say the Hail Mary, Glory Be, The Lord s Prayer, and before and after meals prayers. Each family will receive a prayer book which includes these prayers and more. Students will be tested on these prayers during the second half of the year. First graders should be attending weekly Mass with their family. 8

9 First Reconciliation/ First Eucharist in Grade 2 We will be using the publisher RCL for our sacrament preparation in Grade 2. RCL focuses on scripture, tradition, and experience, which makes it a well rounded preparation for these sacraments. It is our goal to prepare not only the children for these sacraments, but also their parents. There is a mandatory parent meeting for each sacrament that will reacquaint parents with the theology and practice of receiving these sacraments. We also ask our parents to attend Mass with their child every weekend. To help make Mass a teaching opportunity, parents will help their child complete three Sharing Mass with My Family worksheets per sacrament. The children are expected to know basic prayers learned in first grade. This important year is about celebration and drawing closer to God through the sacraments. The Apostle s Creed in Grade 3 After the students have learned the basic prayers in first grade, and the Act of Contrition in second grade, we ask them to memorize the Apostle s Creed in third grade. Students will start the year learning about the Apostle s Creed, and, during the second half of the year, will memorize sections of the Apostle s Creed. By the end of the year they have the whole prayer memorized! The Saints in Grade 5 Throughout grades 1-5, saints are discussed at the beginning of each unit. Saints are important models of faith for our students. Fifth graders will be participating in an All Saints Day celebration. They will study and learn about a particular saint, and then dress as him or her for a procession during the 9:15 am Mass on October 28th. Homeschooling Policy for Sacraments According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church(1309), the parish community bears special responsibility for the preparation of [those desiring the sacraments]. Preparation for these sacraments occurs within families and the life of the parish. The catechesis should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. In light of the vital role which the parish community has in preparing candidates for the sacraments, the homeschooling policy of St. Joseph Faith Formation for sacraments is as follows: Students preparing for First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Confirmation may be homeschooled using appropriate and approved curriculum. Parents of children preparing for Sacraments should contact the Faith Formation Director to receive appropriate materials, or to seek approval of other curriculum. Homeschooled students are expected to complete each course in the same time frame as candidate enrolled in courses at the parish, and meet with the Director of Faith Formation to discuss the contents of completed courses. Second year Confirmation candidates must take the 8 week Immediate Preparation course with faith formation during the spring session before receiving Confirmation. Students preparing for sacraments are expected to complete all requirements of their respective programs which include parent meetings, retreats, faith events, Mass notes, etc. Please contact the Faith Formation Director for the complete Home Schooling Policy. 9

10 Junior High - Grades 6-8 Junior High Faith Formation (Grades 6-8) at St. Joseph Parish aims to provide exciting and unique educational and service experiences that help our youth grow in their faith. Our program strives for each student to be engaged in learning and service. This year we will be using the Edge, developed by Life Teen. The goal of this resource is to provide systematic and complete catechesis for middle school youth while providing opportunities for evangelization and transformation as well. The six-semester (three year) Edge curriculum is designed to create a foundation for the United States Council of Catholic Bishops Framework for High School Catechesis. The six semesters are as follows: Scripture Creed Church Sacraments Prayer Social Justice In addition to these semester topics, we will also provide 1-2 nights on Catholic Morality to be used within each semester. Our goal is to provide nights that are Catholic, educational, relevant and on the middle school level. We need many, many volunteers to run this program successfully. Small Group Leader: A small group leader should be patient, relatable, dependable, and open about their faith life. They should be a good listener and willing to share a few laughs. Each small group has about 8 students. Small group leaders need to available for every session. Faith Activity Planner: These catechists direct interactive sessions (i.e. crafts, games, and drama) to reinforce the lesson. Plans are already made for you. (Lead 8 sessions) Service Planner: Do you have the heart of a servant? Are you always looking for ways to helps others? Do you think there are a lot more things that we can do to help our neighbor? Do you see hope in every situation? THIS IS THE JOB FOR YOU! Kids need to see passionate adults serving in Christ s name. Help plan and chaperone 3-4 service opportunities during the year. Please contact the director if you would like more information about this program or if you would like to volunteer in one of our many ministry roles: (952)

11 Confirmation The goals of our confirmation program are for youth to grow in relationship with God, know what it means to be Catholic, and commit to living as a witness for Christ. We strive to do this through our courses based on the four pillars of the Church (Creed, Morality, Liturgy and Sacraments, and Prayer), Mass attendance, active service of the Church, and community. Our confirmation program will continue to be a multi-graded program. That means ninth graders will be sharing classes with tenth graders (or older students preparing for Confirmation). Students will be changing classes at the end of 8 weeks. Students will take up to three different classes per year. The year looks like this: Session One (Fall): Sept 19-Nov 28 Session Two (Winter): Dec 5-Feb 20 Session Three (Spring): Feb 27-May 8 Students will be assigned to a different class during each of these three sessions. There are six required classes that each student must take. These include the four pillars plus a course on the Theology of the Body, and an immediate prep class for Confirmation taken 8 weeks prior to receiving the sacrament. A student may take as long as desired to complete the six required courses. However, if the student wishes to take the traditional two years for Confirmation preparation, he/she will only have (6) six sessions to complete the required courses. Confirmation preparation is a two-year program that requires candidates to be involved in St. Joseph Parish life. Candidates pray, study, and work together to build community. All candidates must attend orientation, parent meetings, retreats, etc, and complete required assignments. (Confirmation Handbook will be distributed at a fall Confirmation meeting.) Confirmation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, 7PM at the Cathedral in St. Paul. Holy Family Catholic High School Students: Since you take equivalent theology courses in school, you are required to take Theology of the Body, Prayer, and the Confirmation classes in addition to the other requirements. You are invited to attend all 6 classes in the parish program and/or join Upstream. Come and build community with us. The possibility of summer classes will be determined at a later date. 11

12 Parent/ Guardian Faith Formation Covenant 2012 As stated in The Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2226: "Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place of the catechesis of children and parents." Parents are the primary educators in the faith formation of young persons. As primary catechists of your children, you teach by the example of your everyday lives. It is important that you model the behavior that you want your child(ren) to display. They need experience regular participation in the Mass and Sacraments, ongoing study of the Faith, care for the needy, and service to the community as an important part of your family life. As a parent/guardian of a child in the Faith Formation Program, I, : (print parent/guardian name) Accept primary responsibility for the religious education of my child(ren) by: Modeling Christian behavior with weekly Mass attendance, frequent reception of the sacraments, and volunteer service. Teaching the traditional prayers of the Church and daily praying together at home. Supporting my child(ren) s participation in St. Joseph s Faith Formation Program. Regularly reviewing the faith formation lessons at home. Support the best experience in Faith Formation by: Timely drop off and pick up for classes and activities. Enforcing the policies of no drink, food, cell phones nor other electronic devices in class. Encouraging good deportment & positive behavior, and assisting volunteers in enforcing discipline. Attending all parent meetings and family events. I have received and reviewed the parental responsibilities for the Church of St. Joseph Faith Formation program. I understand the responsibilities and intend to abide by them. I will discuss the responsibilities with my child(ren). Parent Signature and date Parent Signature and date 12

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