We look forward to welcoming your children this weekend and the coming week! We will look to make this program year a fulfilling & fun one for them. We truly appreciate those who stepped forward to volunteer for this ministry that carries on the work of Christ... echoing God's word, and leading our young ones to the Father through Christ in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, this is the first time in my 19 years as director at St. Alphonsus that we have not had enough people to answer the call to cover all of the classes. Consequently, we had to drop 3 classes on Monday (4th, 5th, and 6th). The registrations for those classes were very low, so, fortunately, we didn't have to ask a large number of children to move. The low enrollment for Monday left us a smaller volunteer pool of parents to draw from. It came as a surprise to us when the Monday track (usually our largest enrollment) flip-flopped with the Wednesday track (usually our smallest enrollment). We subsequently learned that this was because the Hornets had directed parents to enroll their children on Wednesdays. There's no doubt that our children are involved in a lot of activities and becomes difficult to juggle everything.
In the midst of all that activity, you are doing everything you can to make sure your children are growing in their Catholic faith. It's evident when we see kids coming to Mass wearing their sports uniforms. It's important to recognize, however, that religious education is not just another activity on your child's schedule. Faith formation is a way of life. It affects how our children see themselves, the world, God, and their relationship with each. When your child's involvement in an activity like sports is over, that spells the end of their formal involvement in that activity. Faith on the other hand, is something that we live every day for the rest of our lives.
In sports activities, we parents hand over the responsibility of our kids' progress to a coach. This is not so in religious education. While the parish and catechists assist in the faith formation of our children, the primary responsibility for teaching/showing the Catholic way of life rests with parents. The first thing we can do is to make sure that our homes are places where Catholic values are lived and practiced. Our catechists can help by teaching the Works of Mercy and Catholic moral teaching, but parents have the most impact on whether children learn and practice tenderness, forgiveness, respect, compassion, and selflessness.
Our theme this year is Family, Faith, Francis - Mercy! So will focus on mercy and the role & beauty of the family. In addition to living according to Gospel values, parents are also responsible for transforming our home into a domestic church... a place where children learn about the practice of their Catholic faith within the family faith community. By praying together, keeping physical reminders of the Catholic faith (such as a Bible and a crucifix) in the home, creating family rituals, marking the seasons of the Church year, you can help your children to grow in faith. For some great ideas on what you can do as a family see the
Vibrant Faith at Home website.
Our theme will be infused into our lesson plans and into our Family Sessions. In response to feedback received in our parent surveys last year, our sessions will have a shorter presentation, and have more time for parent/child interaction... discussions and activities. We will also have different lessons for each age group so parents with multiple children in the program won't be attending the same presentation and activities. We will again have 2 sessions for each grade (except for grades 6-8), one in the Fall, and one in the new year. See the Schedule.
We look forward to everyone making this year an excellent one!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like to submit them anonymously, you can use the Suggestion Box on our website.
Together in Christ,
Kevin Cody, DRE