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Religious Education Program

Frequently asked questions


Please Explain the Religious Education Program at Old St. Mary’s.

Begun in 1984, the Religious Education Program at Old St. Mary’s offers weekly class instruction in the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The program aims to foster the spiritual development of children within the context of family: as a member of his or her own family, as a member of the family of our faith, and as an important member of our parish community. Classes are taught by dedicated volunteer catechists who are certified or working toward certification through the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catechist Formation Program.

Materials which are developmentally appropriate and are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church are used throughout the program. Interactive instructional approaches are used to involve all the children and to recognize each child’s unique gifts and growth in the faith and the community.

How much involvement is required of the family?

Families are the cornerstone of Old St. Mary’s program because family involvement is essential for a child’s spiritual development. Our Religious Education classes are scheduled on Sunday mornings to accommodate family attendance at Mass before or after class.

A monthly Family Mass includes children’s active participation in the liturgy. All families, (even those without children in the religious education program) are encouraged to attend these monthly celebrations of our faith. Faith enrichment materials are sent home during special seasons (such as Advent and Lent) to deepen family sharing and celebration of faith in the home.

Sunday mornings should be set aside for family faith formation. Your commitment to your child’s religious education speaks volumes about setting priorities. Please keep our mass and class schedules in mind when deciding whether to sign your child up for sports or other activities that take place on Sunday mornings. The Faith Formation (Religious Education) class schedule will be posted shortly before the start of classes in September.

What do I need to do so my child can receive the sacraments of First Communion or Confirmation?

a. Reconciliation and Eucharist

Children should be enrolled in religious education classes beginning with kindergarten. Kindergarten and first grade classes lay the foundation for their preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. A class attendance rate of 85% is expected for all children preparing to receive these sacraments. Regular mass attendance and participation is an important part of their preparation. A copy of their Certificate of Baptism must be provided for our records upon registration. You can upload a copy of the Certificate of Baptism with the submission of the online Enrollment Form.

Children must regularly attend classes beginning in September in order to be eligible to receive First Reconciliation and First Eucharist the following spring. (First Reconciliation is during Lent; First Eucharist is usually celebrated during the month of May.) For exceptions to this policy, please consult the program director.

b. Confirmation

Students in seventh and eighth grades may enroll in our two-year program to prepare for Confirmation. An attendance rate of 85% is expected for all children preparing for this sacrament. Regular mass attendance and participation is an important part of their preparation. A copy of their Certificate of Baptism must be provided for our records upon registration. You can upload a copy of the Certificate of Baptism with the submission of the online Enrollment Form

The confirmation program covers Liturgy, Creed, Prayer, Discipleship, and Morality. The students are required to participate in parish and community service (a minimum of 15 hours) as part of their commitment to discipleship.

Please note: Archdiocesan guidelines require two years of Faith formation before a child can receive the sacraments.

Do I need to be a registered parishioner for my child to be enrolled in the religious education program?

Families who enroll their children are encouraged to register in the parish, but it is not mandatory.

What is the cost of the Religious Education Program?

  • The general enrollment fee is $300 for one child and $150 for each additional child in the same family.
  • The Sacrament Fee which covers both First Reconciliation and First Communion is $40.
  • The Sacrament Fee for children preparing for Confirmation is $80.

How do I submit my payment?

After submitting the online registration form you can make your payment by clicking on PAY NOW . This will take you to Give Central. If paying by check or money order, please make them payable to Old St. Mary’s Church. Place FAITH FORMATION in the memo field.
Please note the fees can be adjusted for situations of financial hardship. Please speak with Cathy Walz, the Pastoral Associate for Children and Family Faith Formation.
Email: cwalz@oldstmarys.com. Phone: 312-922-3444, ext. 26.

When do classes begin?

First class for 2017-2018 will be Sunday, September 10. Classes are held on Sunday mornings. Classes will begin 90 minutes after the start of the first Mass on Sunday morning which is 8 AM.

How do I register my child(ren) for Religious Education classes?

To register your child(ren) for Religious Education classes, please use the Religious Education Registration form below.

Is there a program for pre-school age children?

Liturgy of the Word for Children is offered on the Sunday mornings when classes are in session to give small children (preschool to 3rd grade) an opportunity to hear the word of God in age-appropriate language. The children rejoin the assembly at the conclusion of the homily.


Registration