A Letter from Fr. Albert - Catechism Classes Going Forward
Dear Families of St. John the Evangelist,
First, I hope you are faring well in this unusual time! Our First Communion has been rescheduled for August 9 at 10am and Confirmation for August 13 at 6pm. The retreat and practice for 1st Communion is Saturday, August 8th at 9am. Parents are expected to attend a session with Fr. Albert in the Church while the children do their session in the hall. The Confirmation Retreat is August 7, 8, 9 with Confirmation practice after the 10am Mass that Sunday, Aug 9.
For Catechism classes going forward, we have made some adjustments which I want to explain to you now. More information will be forthcoming as we get closer. Over the past year and a half, I have often reflected on and prayed about how to best serve you, particularly in the area of teaching the faith to your children. Again and again, I find myself coming back to the need to equip you as parents to teach the faith to your children. The Church has always known, and statistics back this up, that children who learn the faith from their parents are more likely to love and keep that faith in the future. This was the reason for the parent sessions offered last year.
Now, however, I think it’s time for a more integrated approach and a shift in how we handle catechism classes. It’s a model called “Whole Family Catechesis.” The premise is simple: we teach and equip the parents to teach the faith to their children so that everyone learns the faith together. The practical execution of this is as follows:
The children in sacramental years, 2nd grade for First Communion and Junior Year for Confirmation, will participate in the whole family sessions, but they will also have weekly classes on the other weekends between the once a month family sessions. Breaks and holidays have been factored into our scheduling as well.
Another major change to the program is this: it will be free of any cost. If you are a registered parishioner, you and your children will be able to participate in the program without cost and we will provide the necessary materials free of cost. I as pastor do not want to put money between a family and learning their faith. Between donations and second collections, I hope and expect that the parish can bear this cost without too much difficulty.
That being said, I know many of you want to support the parish and help cover the expenses involved in this. Donations, therefore, are greatly appreciated and encouraged in whatever amount you choose to offer. Still, it is not required and will not be held against you if you cannot afford it at this time. The primary cost of this program is the materials, which I will list for you and give the approximate cost of each so that you can see where the money would go should you choose to give.
Each family will need (the cost is for your information, we will not charge you):
The program we are using, called “A Family of Faith” by Sophia Press, uses a four year cycle following the four sections of the Catechism. This means that, 4 years from now, we’ll come back to the same material we’re using this year, but will be able to go deeper. It also means we won’t have to order as many materials after a while. Ideally, a child in this program will encounter each section 3 times: once as a small child, once in middle school, and once as a teenager who can help his/her siblings learn it. This allows for them to mature in their understanding of the faith. When they encounter challenges in their adult life, it’s best that they aren’t left with only a 2nd grade understanding of the faith, but a mature one that has had the chance to go deeper throughout their lives.
In order to prepare for this coming year, I ask that you complete the enclosed registration form and return it to Mrs. Patti as soon as possible. A calendar of classes has also been included for your preparation.
As always, thank you for being a part of our family and I look forward to being together with you all soon as we deepen our knowledge and love of this great faith we share.
Fr. Alexander Albert,
St. John the Evangelist, Jeanerette