FAMILY FAITH FORMATION
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitution (CCC, #2223, 2221).”
At St. Mark, we believe that the role of families is critical to a child’s formation in faith. We seek to empower parents and families to be confident in their role as the primary educators of the Catholic faith for their children. Our mission is to build a strong community of faith, both at home and in the larger gathering of the faithful, and to form disciples ready to share Christ with the world through participation in the liturgy and service to the community.
Beginning in the Fall of 2023, our Faith Formation program will continue to transition to a model of catechesis that invites families to take a more active role in the faith formation of their children. This model is a partnership between families and the parish to enable parents to learn more about the Catholic faith and to teach that faith in the family setting. We will continue to meet onsite each Sunday except for the third Sunday of the month. There will be no classes on that week; however, parents/guardians will be responsible for teaching that week’s lesson at home. See the example below for an illustration of a typical month.
1st Sunday – Families and students meet together for the first 15 minutes of class. Students will then go to their assigned classrooms; parents stay for an overview of the Unit content for the month.
2nd Sunday – Students meet in assigned classrooms
3rd Sunday – No onsite classes. Families will work on the assigned lesson at home. Completed sessions will be emailed to either the child’s teacher or the Director of Faith Formation.
4th Sunday – Students meet in assigned classrooms. Catechists will teach the last session of the unit. Families will work on the assigned lesson for that week.
**Please keep in mind that the above is just a sample of how each month will look. The actual schedule will be adjusted according to the season and the events planned.
This year we will be using the Finding God series by Loyola Press. This program offers the ability to access the program digitally for home use, including the full student text, interactive games, session and unit reviews, etc. This feature allows for greater flexibility in the family approach to catechesis.
A few times over the course of the year, we will offer sessions anchored in our liturgical seasons, such as an extended Advent event, Mardi Gras Party, and Halloween Carnival. Some of these events will take place on days other than Sunday. A complete schedule will be available at the beginning of the year, and a live calendar is viewable on our website under Faith Formation.
Mass attendance is a key component of faith formation, particularly to those who are preparing for sacraments. Going to Mass and participating in the Eucharist teaches us how to pray with and be a part of a community of faith and leads us to live a sacramental life. Beginning on Sunday, November 5, 2023, we will be offering a Family Mass on the 1st Sunday of the month. We are encouraging families to attend and be actively involved in various liturgical ministries, such as greeters, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, music ministers, etc. There are many ways to participate in our Sunday liturgies! We will create a schedule and offer training to all who are interested.
There will be a Parent Orientation meeting on Sunday, September 17 at which we will go over the specifics of the program and answer any questions you may have. Classes will begin on Sunday, October 1.
As directed by Archbishop Aquila in 2015, sacramental preparation will be in accordance with the Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation. This is a 2-year process for baptized children aged 7 and older, after which students will be fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. Classes are on Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30pm at the parish and are in addition to our Family Faith Formation program. Registration and participation in our Family Faith Program is REQUIRED to be eligible to prepare for sacraments.
Year 1 – begins when students are in the second grade. Preparation begins in the Fall for 1st Reconciliation (Penance/Confession), which they will celebrate in December.
Year 2 – continues preparation for the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. Celebration of these two sacraments will be at the same liturgy, typically at the end of the Religious Education year in April or May.
Students who are in the 6th grade and up who have been baptized and received First Eucharist are eligible to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation. These sessions will be offered on Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30pm. Registration and participation in our Family Faith program is also required.
RCIA/OCIA adapted for Children
Students who are over the age of 7 (the age of reason) and have not been baptized will be prepared for all the Sacraments of Initiation through this process.