Faith Formation-Religious Education

Welcome to all Parish Families with Children into our religious education program. We Thank you for entrusting us with the awesome task of supporting you by helping your children grow in their faith and love of God.

PHILOSOPHY of RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Catechetical ministry is a share in Jesus’ own mission of proclaiming the kingdom of God. It enables faith to become living, conscious and active

through instruction. Catechesis is a life-long process for each individual as well as the work of the entire Catholic parish community.

The Church teaches that the primary responsibility for the spiritual development of children rests first and foremost with the parents. They share this with others, but they do not relinquish it.

Our parish of Sacred Heart assists you, parents and guardians, in passing on your faith through our religious education program. Catechists echo the Catholic faith in a way the children can understand. They do more than teach about the faith; they help children grow in their relationship with Jesus and the Church. You can assist us by making attendance at Sunday Mass a priority in your family life.

Our parish catechists are all volunteers from many walks of life. They are faith-filled people who have answered a call to minister to our children. They are certified as a Catholic catechist by the Diocese of Venice and have passed a fingerprint clearance screening for the Diocese.

 

FAMILY HANDBOOK for RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
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Admission Policy: We accept children of any race or nation without discrimination and accommodate those with special needs to the best of our ability. Parish registration is a requirement. Under certain circumstances children from another parish will be allowed to attend our program.

Attendance Continuity in the learning process is essential. Make every effort to guarantee your child's regular attendance at religious education classes; use the yearly calendar distributed in August as a resource. Contact us if a child is absent several consecutive times and ask the catechist for make-up work. Check the calendar.

Absences Excessive absences affect the child's learning. More than 3 absences a semester is considered excessive and could result in the child not being ready to move on or to participate in the sacrament program.

Alcohol / Tobacco / Drugs/ Pet Animals .... are not permitted in the Parish Center.

Behavior: Children are expected to respect one another in words and actions. To benefit from a lesson, children should be attentive and cooperative. Toys, games and electronics should be left home. The code of conduct should be their guide to good behavior. Time-out will be used if a child disrupts the focus of the class and does not respond to correction. Parents will be notified of repeated mis-behavior. A meeting with the D.R.E., catechist and family might be necessary to reach a resolution.

Calendar: A calendar of classes and holidays for the school year is sent home in August. Additional calendars are available in the office and here on the website. The calendar is difficult to plan because our children attend both the year-round and the ten-month schools.

Catechists Volunteer parishioners serve as religious education teachers. These catechists earn certification through the Diocese and keep this current. Their fingerprints are processed and on file as is every Sacred Heart staff member's. These catechists are dedicated to assisting you in passing on the faith to your children. You are encouraged to chat with them before or after class or by appointment.

Change of Address/ phone # / e-mail Notify the office when there is a change. It is important that our information is accurate.

Classtime Mondays.... 3:45 to 5:00 p.m for grades K through grade 5. Grades 6 through 12 students should join the Youth Group which meets Sundays 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. before the 5:00 parish Mass. Grades 9 and 10 teens who are anticipating Confirmation meet for religious education sessions on Sundays, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Center.

Communication Parents/ guardians and catechists work in partnership to help the child grow in faith. Good communication is essential to the success of this process. Sometimes misunderstandings or questions arise. Bring these to the attention of the catechist or director before or after class or call if you prefer an appointment.

Emergency communication If a condition arises that cancels a scheduled class or event, every effort will be made to contact families via message to home phone, cell phone and e-mail.

Confidentiality When you register in our program, your family information is added to our catechetical data base. This information and information in the child's record folder is for our use only and will not be released to any group inside or outside the parish unless parent/guardian permission is granted in writing.

Curriculum All grades use the Gospel Weekly Magazine which focuses on Sunday's Gospel. Doctrine, liturgy or morality and is correlated to the Diocesan Curriculum for each grade level. Each grade has specific prayers and saints to learn.

Custody The catechetical staff wishes to cooperate with special custody arrangements of families to the best of their ability. Verbal requests are not sufficient; a copy of the proper legal documents must be presented to the D.R.E. to be kept on file. Procedures will then be arranged.

Discipline One of the catechist's first concerns is to maintain an atmosphere in which the children feel comfortable and accepted so they can share faith and enjoy an optimum learning environment. Children should behave respectfully and courteously...in words and actions ...towards adults and peers. Children should participate positively and be on task. Children should respect parish property and the property of others. Consistent disruptive behavior will result in time-out and/or parent conferencing. Dismissal Catechists walk their class to the parking lot where children wait for their ride. Parents of the little ones are asked to get out of the car and come for them. The D.R.E. and /or a catechist will be present until the last child is picked up. Children are to remain near the Center; do not go back inside and do not wander off or accept a ride from someone else.
Children will be released to the adults whose names are listed at registration. If someone else is picking up the child, the D.R.E. must be notified.

Early Dismissal If absolutely necessary, a child will be excused for an early dismissal but the parent/guardian must sent a note, call in or come to the office in advance. For an early dismissal, the child and adult are asked to check out in the D.R.E. office.

Dress Code Appropriate clothing, such as their school attire, is required. Other clothing should be similar; modest body coverage and no offensive slogans. Shoes must be worn.

Electronics Are not allowed in the religion classroom except for cell phones which must be on vibrate.

Faith: A lesson's goal is to lead children to a deeper faith through their life experiences, activities and prayers and enable them to live what they learn; to let it touch their being.

Family: Family and faith growth are important to us at Sacred Heart. You are the primary teachers and role models for your children; we are here to assist and support you in this. Contact the catechist or D.R.E. if you have a concern and hopefully we can resolve the matter.

Family Catechesis During the year, there are monthly events designed for the family to grow in faith. Consult the calendar for these and plan to come!

Family Handbook is available in the D.R.E. Office or on our parish website.

Grades 6 - 12 These students are to join our parishwhich meets Sunday for catechesis in the Center after the 5:00 p.m. parish Mass.



High School Teens are encouraged to join our parish Youth Group which meets in the Parish Center ( 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.) before the Sunday Parish Mass at 5:00 p.m.
Grades 9 and older who anticipate receiving Confirmation should enroll in the Confirmation classes held Sundays at the same time. E-mail for more information.

Home-Schooling Is permitted. The child(ren) must be registered in our program and use materials provided by the D.R.E. An end-of-the-year evaluation will be done by the D.R.E. Home-schooling is not permitted for the Sacrament Preparation Sessions. Homework is rarely given. Rather, after each class children will have papers with activities from their lesson. Use these a springboard for discussing faith with your child.

Human Sexuality.. The development of the child's sense of identity and self-worth and respect for the person is woven into the weekly text lessons and corresponds to the Diocese guidelines for education in human sexuality.

Mass A child's faith foundation comes from the family. Worshiping together as a family is a beautiful way to strengthen your faith and grow together as family. Children do not understand the " Mass" but they do understand it must be special because your family attends faithfully.

Medical
Medication It is preferred that medication be given to the child before coming to class if possible. If absolutely necessary, a parent/guardian may come at medication time and administer the medication to the child. If this is not possible, the medication, with written directions, can be given to the D.R.E. to administer.

Medical condition of a child as reported by family on the registration form is passed on to the catechists on a need-to-know basis and kept confidential.

Medical release form is part of the registration packet and a signature of parent/ guardian is required by the Diocese.

Medical emergency In the event that your child suffers an injury or becomes ill during our session, every effort will be made to contact parent/guardian using the home and cell phone numbers indicated on the registration form. If no contact is made, the emergency contact person will be called. If necessary, the doctor and/or 911 will be called.



Newsletter: A monthly newsletter with calendar reminders and updates will be sent home with each child. Parents are asked to look for this each month and read it.

Parish Center Office Sister Josine Perez, ssnd
Phone 639-9545

E-mail

Policies and Procedures Each year the family is asked to review the handbook at our website or from the D.R.E.'s office and at registration time, to sign their agreement to support these.

Prayer There are many ways to pray and the catechist uses these with the children along with the required memorized prayers of the Church. A list of prayers specified by the Diocese for each grade is attached.

Registration In August, families are asked to register in order to keep our records accurate. The fee is $25 for one child and $40 for two or more children. Fees are payable to Sacred Heart Church; partial payments are accepted. The fee will be waived for families who cannot afford it.

Release Forms Required by the Diocese of Venice are part of the August registration packet. These are to be signed and returned along with the other registration forms. Retention If a child has dropped out of the program during the year or has excessive absences, retention could result.

Sacrament Preparation Programs are separate and in addition to the religious education classes and involve parents. Church law states that the preparation and reception of sacraments occur in the parish where the family is registered. At least one year of prior religious instruction is required. Information and a calendar are available for each sacrament preparation program.

  • Preparation for Reconciliation and First Communion is open to any child age 7 or older whose family is registered in the parish. At least one year of prior formal religious education is required.

  • Sacramconsistsent of Confirmation Preparation Teens in grades 9 and older are invited to participate in the two year preparation program if their family is registered in our parish. This of weekly religious education sessions and scheduled preparation sessions for teens, parents and sponsors.


Safe Environment is a Diocesan Child-Abuse Prevention Program offered as an annual lesson for each grade. Attendance is expected; opting out must be done by parents/guardian in written explanation.

Saints The saints are important in the history and heritage of of our church as role models of what we can be. A saint name is used in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Each grade focuses on learning about several saints. The Diocesan list is attached.

Special Needs Children are welcomed into our program if we can adequately accommodate their needs.

Supervision Children who arrive early for class are not allowed in the classroom until the catechist or aide arrives. They will be supervised in the Center. Children must remain outside at dismissal time and watch for their ride. If they need to return to the Center, they must inform their catechist..

Telephone Numbers: If you need to call during class times, call Sister Josine's office,
941-639-9545.

Visitors: Parents/guardians are welcome to visit their child's class at anytime and a child may bring a relative or friend to class as a visitor with the approval of the director and catechist. Stop in the D.R.E.'s office first.

Weather Emergency: Classes will be canceled if weather conditions or predictions are severe and threatening. Please note that we follow the directives from the county disaster officials.

FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN WE ASK YOUTO REVIEW THESE GUIDELINES WITH YOUR CHILDREN:

  • When you arrive and enter the Center, stay inside.
  • Do not enter the classroom until your teacher is present.
  • Be courteous in words and actions to everyone.
  • Avoid words or actions that could hurt others.
  • In class: Listen, Participate, Be on task and Ask questions.
  • Leave gum, candy, toys, games and fun things at home.
  • Respect Church property as you use the Center.
  • Always walk ... inside and outside.
  • At dismissal watch for your ride... Do not wander off... Do not go back inside without permission.
  • Go home with the person who always comes for you. If someone else comes, tell your catechist before you leave.
Parents, please:
  • When you drop off your children for class watch until they are safely inside.
  • If the usual person is not coming for your children at dismissal time, let the D.R.E. know... send a note, call or stop in before class.
  • Tell your children to wait for their ride and do not accept a ride from anyone else, even friends who are being helpful.
  • If you are delayed at dismissal time do not worry; the D.R.E and/or a catechist remains with children until all are claimed!
  • Make your child’s attendance a priority in your busy day and notify us of absences.
  • Contact us with questions or concerns; we’re here for you.