Catechetical Program

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish welcomes you to our catechetical program designed to aid you in your responsibility and privilege to teach the Faith to your child.  As you know the church has always said that the parents are the first teachers of the Faith. To that end, the parish establishes programs of religious instruction to support you and to become a partner with you to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to your child and all who come to this place of worship.

I strongly believe that you and your family find it most suitable to worship and grow in every way including spiritually, mentally and physically here at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish. By doing our part, to aid in the spiritual education of children, we hope that they might receive from us a foundation in Faith that will support them for their entire life.

This handbook is a tool that lays out expectations, responsibilities and roles thus allowing for clear communication. This booklet is designed to address general information, requirements and policies for the parish of Most Pure Heart of Mary. As a family enrolled in this parish’s program our expectations is that you will adhere to policies as presented in this handbook. You can expect that this handbook will be edited annually and that any changes made in the course of a school year will be given to you in writing.

We thank you for your support and cooperation, and look forward to our partnership with you each year.  It is in working together that we are the Body of Christ and carry out his mission of building the kingdom of God here on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Kenneth C. Ugwu, SSJ, Pastor

 

Mission Statement

Most Pure Heart of Mary’s Religious Education Program strives to establish a Christian environment where students will learn to respect God, self and others.  The program provides an atmosphere that will help develop a strong sense of community service and Christian fellowship that will lead to a productive and faith-filled life.

Objectives of our Parish Catechetical Program *

To present a comprehensive and systematic formation in the faith, that integrates knowledge of the faith with living the faith  To center on initiation into the life of the Triune God  To be appropriate to the age level, maturity, circumstances, language and ethnic background of each participant  To involve all members of the parish community, particularly the parents  To focus on the symbols, rituals, and prayers of the Church  To enable the believers to live out their faith in their everyday life. * From the National Directory for Catechesis, 2005

The parish catechetical program admits students of every race, sex, color, or national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students in this catechetical program.  Where possible, our parish program strives to make accommodation for children and youth with disabilities.

 Parish Programs for Children and Youth

Pre-school: The Discovering God series is used in our preschool program (3 and 4 year olds).  This series introduces the children to God’s gifts of creation, self, and love with family and the Church community through songs and storytelling, and has been found in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the U.S. Bishops.  We encourage parents to become familiar with their child’s catechetical textbook.  Learning the faith begins at home and our program is designed to assist you in your role as primary educator of your child.

Kindergarten through  Grade 6: The We Believe series is used in grades K through 6.  This series focuses on specific faith themes and content in each grade and/or sacramental preparation, and has been found in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the U.S. Bishops. The text includes age-appropriate activities and prayers for memorization.  We encourage parents to become familiar with their child’s catechetical textbook.  Learning the faith begins at home and our program is designed to assist you in your role as primary educator of your child.

Grades 7th through 8th: Students in grades 7 and 8 will use the We Live Our Faith Volume I and Volume II. This series focuses on specific faith themes and content in each grade and/or sacramental preparation, and has been found in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the U.S. Bishops.  The text includes age-appropriate activities and prayers for memorization.  We encourage parents to become familiar with their child’s catechetical textbook.  Learning the faith begins at home and our program is designed to assist you in your role as primary educator of your child.

High School: Students in grades 9-12 will use the Catholic Essentials: An Overview of the Faith textbook as well as resources from the Center for Ministry Development.  Both are intended to help Catholic youth of high-school age come to a greater knowledge of Jesus, and have been found in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the U.S. Bishops.  They will also learn how to make prayer a central part of their lives by learning about different types of prayer.  The texts also include articles that will teach them how to put their faith into action.

 Parish Catechetical Policies

The Parish Catechetical Program is a Catholic Educational Community.  As members of this community, every student has certain rights, privileges and obligations.  Specific guidelines must be followed so that each child may develop into a responsible person.  Please review these guidelines carefully with your child.

Student Behavior and Expectations

Students will be expected to show respect to their teachers and classmates. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.  Classroom rules are posted in each classroom.  At the first disruption, the child will be referred to classroom rules.  After the second incident, the child will be sent to talk with the PCL.  If inappropriate behavior continues, the parent/guardian will be contacted.  All students are expected to share in the faith learning experience of the parish program.  They are also expected to complete assignments and participate in group projects.  The Archdiocese of Mobile has a detailed Field Trip Policy.  This policy, its regulations, and permission forms will be used for all field trips, service projects, retreats, etc.  Students attending parish catechetical sessions are expected to regularly attend the Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days, and celebrate sacraments in this parish.  Parents or guardians are also encouraged to do so.

Communication

Since the catechist has the most direct contact with your child, parents should discuss any classroom problems with the catechist first.  If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, parents should speak with the PCL.  If still unresolved, the problem may be brought to the pastor.

Sexual and other types of harassment

Harassment, racial slurs, fighting, smoking, drugs, or other inappropriate (or gang-related) conduct among students will not be tolerated.  Violations of this rule will warrant immediate notification of parents/guardians of the child involved, and may warrant suspension or even dismissal of the involved from the program.

Weapons

In the unlikely event, a student is suspected of possessing a weapon or drugs while on parish premises or as a participant in a catechetical program or a youth ministry event, the Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL) or Youth Ministry Leader (YML) will immediately notify the parents of the child.  The proper civil authorities may also be notified.

Attendance Policy

The catechetical sessions are held every Sunday from 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM with the exception of the Preschool.  Preschool classes are held during the 8:00 AM Sunday Mass.  High School Religious Education meets 9:30-10:45 AM.  Students are required to attend 30 sessions.  When a student is absent, they will need to bring a note to their teacher when they return to class.  Students are also expected to complete missed assignments upon their return.  Each student is allowed three excused absences.  After a child has two absences, the Parish Catechetical Leader/ DRE or pastor will notify the parents.  Students and parents with specific family issues preventing them from attending weekly catechetical sessions will be handled on a case-by- case basis by the PCL in consultation with the pastor.  All students must have written permission from their parents or guardian to leave class early.  We have a lot of material to cover, which is why regular attendance is very important.

Volunteering

Parents are welcome to volunteer in our program.  In order to do so, you must take the Child Protection Training.  New volunteers can complete the training program at St. Dominic every fourth Wednesday at 7:00 PM.

Emergency Class Cancellation

If local schools are closed due to an emergency situation, catechetical classes will generally be cancelled.  If you have any questions about cancellation, please email or phone the PCL or your child’s catechist.

Fire Safety and Disaster Preparation

Procedures for fire or disaster evacuation are posted in each room.  Each catechist will instruct the class on their evacuation procedures, and conduct at least one drill per year.

Health Concerns

Health information is collected on the Catechetical Registration Form.  Catechists and other personnel are not allowed to dispense or administer medication to students.

If your child is on medications (for ADD or other such medications), please follow their doctor’s orders in administering their medication.

Field Trip Information

If the Parish Catechetical Program plans an off-site activity or program, you will be required to complete a parental/guardian release form according to the Archdiocesan Field Trip Policy.

Child & Adolescent Protection Policy

In a pastoral effort to respond to a heightened need for the protection of our children, the Archdiocese of Mobile requires a catechesis be given to children and youth in all grades of Parish Programs and Catholic Schools.  It is recommended that this yearly catechesis be done during Respect Life month, which is in October.

A letter will be sent to each family, notifying parents of the dates of the classes.

All priests, deacons, school administrators, teachers, youth ministers, parish catechists, support personnel, coaches, and other volunteers having “substantial contact” with children are required to attend training in the prevention and recognition of all forms of abuse against children.  This program is provided by the Archdiocese.  All persons who work with children in the Archdiocese of Mobile will be required to have background checks as part of the CAPP training. Pursuant to state law, we are required to report suspected child abuse, and we will also follow all Archdiocesan policies on such matters.  If you have questions, feel free to contact the Archdiocesan Office of Child Protection.

Phone: (251) 434-1559   Email: childprotection@mobarch.org

 

Sacramental Preparation

During the year, our second graders will be preparing to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, and students in grades ninth and tenth will be preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Students preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation will be Confirmed their junior year of high school.

Ideally, students preparing for any of these sacraments would have participated in a religious education program from Kindergarten until present.  However, at the minimum, they should have received at least one (1) full year of religious education prior to the sacrament preparation year.

Before a child receives these sacraments, we will need a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate.  If your child was not baptized at St. Dominic, contact the church at which he or she was baptized, and request a recently dated copy.  Finally, please keep them in your prayers as they continue their faith journey with God.

First Reconciliation

Students preparing for First Reconciliation will be required to do the following: • Attend Mass every Sunday, and Holy Days of Obligation; • Regularly attend classes; • Parents are required to attend parent meetings.

First Eucharist

Students preparing for First Eucharist will be required to do the following: • Attend Mass every Sunday, and Holy Days of Obligation; • Regularly attend classes; • Students and parents should attend the First Communion Retreat; • Parents are required to attend parent meetings; • All students are required to attend First Holy Communion practice.

Confirmation

Students preparing for Confirmation will be required to do the following: • Attend Mass every Sunday, and Holy Days of Obligation • Students are required to attend the Confirmation Retreat • Attend Confirmation Practice with sponsor • Parents of Confirmation Candidates are required to attend parent meetings • Participate in service projects

Programs

Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) Liturgy of the Word for Children celebrates the Word of God using the Lectionary for Children.  Children in Kindergarten through first grade are invited to hear the Word of God proclaimed in age appropriate language.

Adult Faith Formation: An informative program of Catholic Education for adults.  This class meets on Sundays at 12:45PM – 2 PM

Angel Tree: Our parish sponsors an angel tree during the Christmas season.  Your family is invited to participate by taking an angel from the tree and purchasing the gift requested.

Holy Thursday Procession: Children in second grade, preparing for First Holy Communion are invited to be a part of this Mass.

End of the Year Celebration: This program concludes the Religious Education year.  The Religious Education students will take part in the 9:00 AM Sunday Mass followed by a celebration in the Murphy  Center.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) Vacation Bible School is held for one week during the summer.  Themes vary each year; however at the center is always the goal of bringing participants to a living faith.  VBS is for students in grades Pre-K 4- 5.  Students in grades 6-12 can sign up to be student volunteers.