The purpose of this handbook is to help our parish families navigate through our religious education year

St. Brendan was born in the year 460 at Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. He died around the year 577 at Annaghdown and is buried in Clonfert, Ireland. Though Brendan was a real person, fabulous stories are told of his wanderings and for seven years he voyaged to find the Promised Land of the saints. Long before Columbus, the Irish monks were renowned as travelers and explorers. Tradition says that they reached Iceland and explored even farther afield in the Atlantic-- perhaps as far as America. It is said that Columbus, to whom Brendan's story would have been familiar, may have been inspired by the saint's epic saga Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. Brendan also founded Clonfert Monastery and a monastic school. Brendan is the patron of seafarers and travelers, and is venerated in Ireland (Roeder). His feast day is May 16.

Prayer for the Spirit of St. Brendan

God of sea and land, you endowed your servant Brendan with a bold and adventurous spirit, to occupy himself for your business on the great waters, and revealed to him your wonders in the deep. Make us, who recall with thanksgiving his life and ministry, zealous to be pioneers and pilgrims for the faith of Christ. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

We welcome all the families who have enrolled their children in our religious education program.

The family provides the first and most important introduction to Christian faith and practice for any child, since parents are the primary educators of their children. Instruction in the faith, which begins at an early age, should include not only the parents’ good Christian example but also a formation in prayer and an explanation and review of what students have learned from religious instruction and attending liturgical events. Remember the catechist is there to assist parents in their duty in forming and education their children in Christ. (cf. GDC 78, 79)

Parental cooperation is very important to a teacher’s success as a catechist. By working together, we can assure our children of a solid foundation in our Catholic faith, a faith to sustain them throughout their lives.

We ask our families to remember to pray for our dedicated and faithful catechist who dedicate many hours to our program. Be assured that our catechists are praying for you and your family, too!

We are very blest to be using the St. Ignatius Press Faith and Life series. We use this series for grades 1 – 8.

This series is a comprehensive Catholic program that combines beautiful classical and original artwork with a solid doctrinal and scriptural presentation. Parents may notice that the student texts are written at an advance reading level. This is intentional. In these early years a child’s oral comprehension far surpasses a child’s reading ability (e.g. children can understand a religious video though they would have a difficult time reading the script). Also, it is important for children to hear the Good News in a fuller manner than a more simplified version would allow.

We encourage parents to take time to review the material with your children, to read the text aloud with them, to study the questions and answers and to examine and discuss the religious art that accompanies each chapter.

Some may think that memorization as a teaching tool is old-fashioned, but our Religious Education program encourages memorization. Our late Holy Father, John Paul II the Great, had the following to say on the subject:

“A certain memorization of the words of Jesus, of important Bible passages, of the Ten Commandments, of the formulas of profession of the faith, of the liturgical texts, of the essential prayers, of key doctrinal ideas, etc., far from being opposed to the dignity of young Christians, or constituting an obstacle to personal dialogue with the Lord, is a real need, the Synod Fathers forcefully recalled. We must be realists. The blossoms, if we way call them that, of faith and piety do not grow in the desert place of a memory-less catechesis. What is essential is that the texts that are memorized must at the same time be taken in and gradually understood in depth, in order to become a source of Christian life on the personal level and the community level.” CATECHESI TRADENDAE (On Catechesis In Our Time) John Paul II - Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness to the Episcopate, the Clergy and the Faithful of the Entire Catholic Church given on 16 October 1979.

So parents, encourage your children to memorize their prayers, the Mass responses, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes etc. This will become a well spring from which they can draw throughout their Christian life. Expressing thoughts and ideas succinctly and accurately in a memorable form, allows for ease of memorization and better understanding of a topic. In the early stages of education, memorization should be utilized more frequently since children first need language to communicate meaning. In Theology, semantics are very important, for Christians have died for their faith and schisms have occurred because of word use (e.g., the Filioque in the Nicene Creed). Such formulas also provide a uniform method of speaking among the faith.

Holy Mass (The Eucharist) is the source and summit of our Christian Life. We hope to see all our religious education families each weekend at Mass! The Eucharist is the church’s first and most important prayer. This is why weekly Mass attendance is so important. Learning about and celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an important part of catechesis

Throughout the year our students are encouraged to donate their time with acts of charity within our community. Each year our religious education program participates in the Thanksgiving Food Drive, Giving Tree and Operation Rice Bowl, a world-wide solidarity program. Many of our teens help out at the Fall Fair. 

The connection between our faith and service is that as Catholics, we each have a calling and a responsibility to serve as a living example of Jesus’ teachings – to serve one another. “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

“Where we are in pursuit of our Catholic Knowledge!”

Children in our religious education program will be invited to participate in a contest to test their knowledge of their Catholic faith. We hope that this fun forum will encourage our young people to not only learn about their faith, but also give them the confidence to share that knowledge in their everyday lives.

The contest is held sometime in the spring. Watch the weekly church bulletin and watch for updates from your child’s catechist.

This event needs a name! If you have a suggestion for a name for this contest, fill out a contest form (which can be found near the Name that Contest Jar in the parish hall) and drop it in the jar that will available during Religious Education Classes.

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I come to you to entrust myself, my entire family, and my parish family to your two hearts. I desire to renew the vows of my baptism and place each member of my family through an act of faith, hope and love into loving union with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I dedicate myself, each member of my family, and my parish family to the Guardian Angels God has given each one of us. O Holy Guardian Angels, enlighten, guide and protect each one so as to lead us safely home to heaven.

At Fatima, dear Mother of God, you appeared with St. Joseph and the Child Jesus blessing the world. O Holy Family, bestow blessings upon me, my entire family, and my parish family so that we may live the Christ - life. I desire that each member of my family, and my parish family adore always the Most Blessed Trinity and love our God in the most Blessed Sacrament.

Grant peace to each member of my family, and my parish family. Keep each one in the grace of Jesus Christ. Never permit any of my family, or my parish family to stray from the true faith. (For any family member, or parish family member, who has strayed, I beseech you to bind up the wounds, lift up the fallen, restore and keep each of our loved ones in grace. Bid them come back to their Father's true home.)


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