Frequently asked questions
Please Explain the Family Faith Formation (formerly Religious Education) Program at Old St. Mary’s.
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?
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.
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 family faith formation (religious education) program?
What is the cost of the Family Faith Formation (Religious Education) Program?
- Early Enrollment with payment by July 31st is $250 for one child and $125 for each additional child in the same family.
- August 1 or later, 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.
PLEASE NOTE IN LIEU OF FEES:
Few programs pay for themselves and the Sunday Faith Formation tuition helps defray cost of books and materials. In lieu of tuition, parents are invited to make an in-kind donation of their time and talent to the youth formation ministries.
For the 2019-2020 school year, we are in need of catechists in grades Kindergarten through 4th grade as well as for our Liturgy of the Word for Children (LOWC) program. The time commitment for Kindergarten through 4th grade is approximately 90 minutes for 3 Sunday’s per month.
The LOWC program requires one hour 3 times per month. The LOWC program is a service that can be done as whole family.
We have 3 spots in each program to fill. To learn more contact Maryellen Harrington, Director of Lifelong Faith Formation at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I submit my payment?
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 the Pastoral Associate for Children and Family Faith Formation.
When do classes begin?
How do I register my child(ren) for Family Faith Formation (Religious Education) classes?
If my child was in the Religious Education program last year, do I still need to complete a Registration form for the upcoming year?
Is there a program for pre-school age children?