St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Community

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1 St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Community Our Mission We are a community of faithful people who are dedicated to the highest ideals of our nation. Our ministry is to provide an environment conducive to the growth of faith and loyal adherence to the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church through the sacraments, community life and social outreach. St. Michael is our patron, protector and guide in this endeavor. Religious Education Parent Handbook

2 Dear Parents, Welcome to the St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Community Religious Education (RE) program. We thank you for allowing us to be partners with you in the religious formation of your children. The Catholic Church believes and professes that, The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. It is the parent s right and role to pass their faith on to their children. Our role at St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Community is to support, assist, and encourage you as you model a Catholic Christian lifestyle for your family by your love, discipline and example. The purpose of religious education is to help children understand his or her religion. But that is only part of the process in raising your child to be Catholic. The other part involves what is going on in the home. Learning about faith is one thing. Living the faith is quite another. Parents are the first and most important religious educators for their children. Teaching by a good example, praying together as a family and regularly attending Mass will show your child that religion is truly an important part of your life. At the baptism of your child the priest addressed these words to you, You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you accept the responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking? You replied that you did. This responsibility should not be taken lightly. It s more than dropping your child off Sunday morning it means to live at home what is being taught at the Church. Our program is designed to assist you and to supplement the religious experiences which you provide as a family. We rely on your cooperation and faithfulness for the success of our efforts. My prayers are with you as you invest your faith in your child s faith. Father James A. Hamel Catholic Chaplain 1

3 Table of Contents Subject Page Welcome Letter 1 Table of Contents 2 Registration 3 Curriculum 3 Communication 4 Student Information 4 Catechists 4 Classroom Locations 5 Class Time 5 Class Schedules 5 Cancellations 5 Pick-Up and Drop-Off 5 Attendance Policy 5 Expectations 6 Parents 6 Students 6 Volunteers 6 Building Rules 7 Safe Environment Training 7 Permission to Publish 7 Discipline 8 Sacrament Preparation 9 First Communion 9 First Reconciliation 9 Confirmation 9 Right to Amend 10 2

4 Registration: Dates for registration following Sunday Masses will be announced. Registration can also be completed in the Parish Office at Chapel Center, however, please call first to ensure personnel are available to assist you with enrollment. While there are fees associated with sacramental activities, no child will be denied participation because of money issues. Fees are due at enrollment. Special financial issues may be confidently discussed with the Pastor or CRE. Families PCSing during the school year may request an enrollment letter to provide to the new parish. Curriculum: Our chosen textbook series is Be My Disciples, for up to 6 th grade. Incorporating the updates to the Roman Missal, Be My Disciples offers engaging lessons that lead young disciples to higher levels of moral thinking and a deeper initiation into a life of prayer. Through exploration, discovery, and decision-making, children are invited to accept the challenge to follow Jesus and learn and practice the skills needed to be active disciples. Be My Disciples shares the Christian story using reflection on Scripture and doctrine, plus prayer and celebrations during all the major seasons of the Church year. Students entering the 7 th grade and those preparing for Confirmation will use the YOUCAT, the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church and other Middle school resources. These books are written in language suitable for young people. The YOUCAT is structured in a Question and Answer format, using references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Additionally, it explains the significance of the teaching to the youth. The YOUCAT also offers supplemental elements such as pictures, summary definitions, and citations from Sacred Scripture, quotations from saints and other teachers of the faith. Additionally, supplemental materials and books may also be used to enhance the educational environment for all grades. The theme for this Catechetical Year is ""Teaching About God's Gift of Forgiveness." The USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis has prepared a variety of materials to assist catechists better understand and enter into this year. 3

5 Communication: We are here to serve the religious education needs of our children and youth. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, contact our Coordinator of Religious Education (CRE) or your child s teacher. Our program is continually evaluated and improved. Feedback is always welcome. CRE: or Parents should watch for reminder notes that are ed and/or sent home with the students, as well as Mass announcements, bulletin notices and the Eglin Catholic Community website notices in the bulletin. 2. Go to: Display Catholic Churches by zip code 3. Type: then click search 4. Select Parish Details to enter website Student Information: Catechists/assistants are provided access to personal information as is necessary for them to perform their job. Please let us know of any special learning needs of your child so that he or she may be better served in the classroom. All information is confidential. Health concerns should be brought to the attention of the RE staff during registration. If a child is diagnosed with a medical condition that we should know about, please inform the office and your student s catechist as soon as possible. No medications will be administered to any student. Please contact the office if special accommodations need to be made. Some classes may offer occasional snacks, please specify any allergies or food issues your student may have on the enrollment form and with your child s teacher. Catechists: Teachers and assistants provide a Catholic Christian atmosphere within the classroom so that children learn and recognize that they are special children of God. Catechists are positive Catholic role models who teach and discuss age appropriate curriculum. Catechists are screened according to Eglin Chapel guidelines and most are certified through the AMS. 4

6 Classroom Locations: RE Classes will be held in Buildings 604 and 605 on Eglin AFB. From Eglin Blvd turn south, on Seventh Street (near the Eglin Credit Union). The street bends to the left and becomes Cypress Road. Across from the brown sign with SARC and Airmen s Attic, turn right onto Inverness Road. Continue going straight. Buildings 604 and 605 are next to each other on the left. Class locations will be posted on the first day of RE. Class Time: Sunday morning Please ensure your children arrive in time for the teacher to begin promptly at Class Schedules: Classes begin after Labor Day and continue through the first week of May. Our schedule closely parallels the Okaloosa School District and Federal holiday schedule. Special events will be announced in the Bulletin. Please refer to the class schedule handout, the Parish website and bulletin for the most current information of when classes will meet. Cancellations: The class schedule may change. Please refer to our website, bulletin or Mass announcements for any changes to the published schedule. In the case of severely inclement weather (e.g. pending hurricane), please follow Eglin AFB instructions and the parish website for cancellation information. Pick-Up and Drop Off: Students in grades K through 3rd must be walked to and from their classroom by a parent/guardian or older sibling. Please communicate with your child s teacher exactly who will be picking up your child from the classroom Older children may be dropped off and picked up. Attendance Policy: Regular attendance at RE is an important factor in helping your child deepen their understanding of the Church s teaching, scripture, prayer If there are special circumstances regarding your child s participation in the program, please contact the CRE as soon as possible. 5

7 Expectations: Parents: Parents are to see that their children attend classes regularly and on time. They should communicate with their child s teacher any special needs or circumstances that may affect the child within the classroom. Please advise us on any issues (i.e. deployments, medical issues) that may affect the child s learning. Parents are encouraged to be an active part of their child s learning and are welcome to observe in the classroom and to be involved in the program. Students: Students are to behave in a Catholic Christian manner at all times and to be respectful and cooperative with all adults/youth volunteers assisting within the program. Some basic courtesies include: - Following the teacher s rules - Attending all classes regularly and on time - Walking and talking quietly within and on the grounds of Building 604 and Respecting all property - Keeping your hands to your own person - Dressing appropriately Volunteers: The continued success of our Religious Education Program rests on the involvement and participation of parents and parishioners alike. We are all asked to give freely and generously of our time, talents, and treasure. The success of our program depends on volunteers and we are asking you to give generously of your time and talent in support of the Religious Education program. We offer instruction through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Assistance is needed on Sunday mornings for substitute teachers, classroom aides, and special projects. Please check with the Parish office for specific requirements on screenings required for working with the children and youth of our Parish. 6

8 Building Rules: So that we may continue to use Buildings 604 and 605, please respect the property and leave the area in the same or better condition than they were found. Safe Environment Training: To fulfill the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Adults will complete Youth Protection Training offered through the Boy Scouts of America (Archdiocese chosen program) and complete a base background check. Additionally, one Religious Education class may be devoted to providing our children with well prepared age specific information on how to protect him/herself. The date for this class will be announced in the bulletin. Permission to Publish: On the RE registration form you will be asked for permission to publish images (no names) in print or on social media in support of the Eglin Catholic Community. 7

9 Discipline: Our disciplinary focus is to maintain a safe and positive learning environment where respect and courtesy are extended to all persons. All students are expected to share in the faith learning experiences in our program. If a child s behavior disrupts the learning process for him/herself or for others, the steps listed below will be followed to ensure that class participation may continue. At the first incident, the student will be reminded of expected behavior and the consequences of misbehavior by the classroom teacher. After the second incident, the student will be sent to the CRE for discussion of appropriate behavior. If the inappropriate behavior continues, the parents will be called to pick-up the child and discuss the situation. If the student s behavior continues to disrupt learning, it will be necessary for the parents to instruct the student at home. 8

10 Sacrament Preparation: All students preparing for Sacraments MUST submit a recent copy of his/her Baptismal Certificate by the date specified. Students Baptized through the Archdioceses for the Military Services must submit a Baptismal certificate with the Chancery number. Students may need to withdraw from the Sacramental Preparation Class if the Baptism information is not received by the specified date. Students are expected to participate in classes and attend all retreats. Failure to attend class and or scheduled events may result in postponing receiving the sacrament. Parents are required to attend the Sacrament Preparation meetings and events as requested. Announcement of dates and times will be in the bulletin and provided to students to take home. First Reconciliation and First Communion: The celebration of First Reconciliation and First Communion occurs during 2 nd grade for most students who have been baptized. Students should have completed at least one year of formal RE prior to the Sacramental year. Admittance to this class is at the discretion of the Pastor and the CRE. Attendances at the Sacrament Preparation Retreats are mandatory. Confirmation: Confirmation preparation is a multi-year process. Students should have completed several years of formal RE programs prior to the Sacramental year. Admittance to this class is at the discretion of the Pastor and the CRE. Students in this Archdiocese should be at least in the 8th grade. The date for Confirmation is dependent on the schedule of the Archdioceses of the Military Services, USA. We are anticipating Confirmation to be celebrated early in the new year, however, the date will not be finalized until sometime in November or December. Students are expected to complete the entire RE school year regardless of when Confirmation is held. A Sacrament Preparation Retreat and attendance at any special supplemental classes and activities are mandatory. Students will also be involved in service projects within and/or beyond the parish. 9

11 Right to Amend: We reserve the right to amend these guidelines at any time for appropriate reasons(s).

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