REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR FAMILY FORMATION 2019/2020
We are so excited to have you as a part of our ministry. Registration will be open from April 15th until July 1st, 2019!
While faith formation classes or ‘RE’ style programs have been in place for a long time, they lack some essential elements that are vital to helping parents pass on the Catholic Faith to their children.
“As a Church, we realize our ineffectiveness to catechize children if their parents are not involved in the process. By evangelizing parents to realize what the Church is asking of them, and giving them support and encouragement in their mission, we are answering the Church’s call. In a nutshell, this is what Family Formation accomplishes. Adult catechesis teaches and encourages parents and provides them with the Catholic know-how to share the Good News and the beauty of the Catholic Faith with their children.
Family Formation is a tried and true Catholic teaching resource developed by regular parents with normal family lives. The materials are engaging, down-to-earth, and easy to understand. Family Formation is meant to bring the family together once a week to learn their Faith in joy and with excitement, rather than making learning about God and the Church a boring or dreaded weekly task.”
-From the Family Formation website
In short, Wednesday night classes…
- Are not effective in the long term retention of young active Catholics
- Exclude parents from the education of their children’s’ faith
- Promote a separation between public, Catholic, and home schooled children
Why a family based program?
Here are some Church Documents that tell us the importance of parent involvement in their child’s faith.
“The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, original and primary, and it is irreplaceable and incapable of being entirely delegated to others.” -Familiaris Consortio, 36.
“The family is a domestic church.” -Lumen Gentium, 11.
“Parents are the primary educators in the Faith… Indeed in the same way as the Church, the family ‘is a place in which the Gospel is transmitted and from which it extends’.” -General Directory for Catechesis, Article 255.
What Does Family Formation Look Like?
Family Formation combines a monthly church gathering with at-home faith activities. Families will gather once a month, where children meet in grade-specific class settings while parents gather for adult catechesis and formation. Weekly family home lessons are provided. Parents are equipped with materials and given an overview of the lessons to help teach their children the Faith. The program coincides with the school year from September through May. Monthly gatherings will generally be on the first Sunday of each month from 8:30-10:15am, and families will end each session with 10:30 Mass! There are 3 home lessons each month. Families have the flexibility to complete them according to their schedule. First Eucharist and First Reconciliation preparation are built into this program. Second grade students will prepare for the Sacraments in the Family Formation classrooms and have additional preparation materials to do at home.
You do not have to be skilled in teaching, well versed in Theology, or have all the answers to be able to lead your children. You simply need the desire to learn more!
“As our parish prayed about, debated, researched, discussed and discerned the adoption of Family Formation, we often focused on potential problems. What if families didn’t do their Home Lesson packets? What will the effect be on students who only attend religious education classes once a month with no reinforcement? What if parents leave the Church over the demand on their time and involvement? But one question trumped the others: What if families DO complete their packets? And the answer has been a bigger blessing than we dared hope. What happens when parents take one hour a week to pray and learn with their children? What happens if families begin to understand even a small piece of our beautiful Catholic Faith? What happens when teachers and parents are encouraged to talk about vocations at a young age? Great blessings and fruits have already been seen and we are confident that this is just the beginning! Some of the fruits we have seen include an increase in Mass attendance by Family Formation families, the opening of a Eucharistic Adoration chapel and extending the hours of Eucharistic Adoration, the creation of a mother’s group, the institution of a Corpus Christi procession, family events such as “Saints and S’mores,” and huge growth in fellowship amongst our families. Only the Holy Spirit could have inspired such revitalization. All thanks and Praise be to God. We excitedly and prayerfully await the future blessings that will be born out of Family Faith Formation. “
-St. Mary’s Parish in Iowa
“Family Formation has helped our families become more informed and engaged with their Catholic faith. It encourages them to be more active participants in their faith and our parish. Our families are loving that we provide resources and activities to do at home as a family and that we come together once a month to learn together. I have loved watching the different families from public and Catholic schools come together to learn as an integrated community.”
-Casey Bilodeau, Director of Faith Formation at All Saints, Cedar Rapids
“The switch from traditional Religious Education classes to the inclusive Family Formation program has proven to be such a blessing to our parish. We are growing and learning as a unified community of believers. We expected most families to stay for the Sunday Liturgy after the Family Formation class, which is on the first Sunday of the month. What we have been so blessed to observe is that a good portion of the families are making attendance at the weekend liturgy a more consistent practice. We are so excited to watch the Holy Spirit at work in our families.”
-Tracy Huk, Business Manager at All Saints, Cedar Rapids
Check out the Family Formation website to find out more about this program.
If you have questions or want to know more about this ministry, contact Julie Testin or Emily Gignac at the Parish office.