The Parish Community
The third setting in which religious education takes place is the Parish Community. Like the family, the parish community exerts its influence on the religious education program in an informal manner outside the classroom. The vitality of parish life is a major factor in understanding what Church is, why we celebrate together, why we are called to ministry and how we can live out the Gospel message. The parish community should model the basic truths of the Catholic faith to each other in order for the effectiveness of the lessons learned in the classroom to take root. The life-giving parish community calls its members to the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation. Specific preparation is offered to candidates whose desire and readiness cause them to seek sacramental preparation. Baptism preparation is provided by a parish team and is designed to bring parents and godparents to an awareness of the importance of Baptism for their child and themselves. The celebration of the sacrament during Mass with the parish community is an important aspect of the significance of this sacrament. Specific information can be obtained by calling the rectory. Reconciliation preparation is held in a program of six session following discernment on the part of the families and young people. Parent meetings are a part of the preparation. We celebrate with a reception following the First Penance Service. Eucharist preparation generally consists of eight sessions during the school year following discernment on the part of the families. First Eucharist celebrations are held in the early spring at parish Masses. Parent meetings are held to disseminate information, instill a deeper understanding and awareness of the sacrament and establish a stronger support for the children. The Parish Community welcomes the children at a Mass of Enrollment. Confirmation preparation is open to young people in grades 9-12 who are current in their religious education and who wish to be prepared. Sessions begin in the Fall and continue with interviews in the beginning and a retreat later on. We ask that candidates work closely with their sponsors. Parishioners are asked to be Prayer Partners with those candidates for both Eucharist and Confirmation. Liturgy of the Word with Children is celebrated each Sunday of the year at both the 9:00 and 11:00 Masses. Parishioners are trained as ministers to celebrate the word with the children who are between the ages of five and twelve. We also have an active Safe Environment Training program for all volunteers. Volunteerism is greatly needed in order to have our Religious Education Program take place and grow. We are always in need of catechists, teachers, and aides. Training is provided and certification is encouraged.