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Saint Francis Xavier Parish

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Handbook 2023-2024

 

2023-2024 Parent Handbook

 

 

Dear Parents,

Welcome to a new year of Religious Education and formation at St. Francis Xavier Parish. The theme for this year’s catechetical year is: 

“COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO LABOR AND ARE BURDENED” Matthew 11:28

This Catechetical Year is a wonderful time of deepening our own understanding of the faith. This year’s them reminds us of the invitation we receive from the Lord Jesus to follow Him and the promise that He doesn’t want to add to our burdens; he wants to lighten them. We are here to accompany, evangelize, catechize, and lighten the burden of those that we encounter in our church and in our daily life and accompany those entrusted to us into full community and discipleship. As parents you are your child’s first catechist and must model this behavior so they have someone to look up to and learn from. Faith is a priority.

The St. Francis Xavier Religious Education Program is a joint effort of our parish community and of our families in sharing our gift of faith with our children, the future Church. Faith is a gift entrusted to be modeled and shared.  The goal of our Parish Religious Education Program is to help, support, and nourish the faith that began in the lives of our children early on at home.  The experience of sharing faith with our children in the program builds up the Body of Christ, the Church.  It forms and brings reality to our identity as a faith community.

St. Francis Xavier Parish is blessed with generous young adults & adults willing to give of themselves and their gift of faith experience to our children.  It is their desire to help your children to learn more about their faith and nourish that which you have already taught at home.  Our parish is most grateful for such faith filled catechists, who with love and eagerness share their gifts of faith with your children.

As parents and primary teachers of religion your role is to form your children in faith to know Jesus. May we all draw closer to the Lord and to one another through our mission as witnesses to the faith. May we teach our children how to live and love as Jesus did this school year and always.

Mrs. Elis Guidice

Director of Religious Education and Sacramental Prep

 

Family Involvement

Family is a structure that keeps our society together.  It is difficult in our present world to keep its values and to pass them on.  It is through the family that we learn our personal meaning and are taught the essentials for living fulfilled lives.  Passing on our faith and providing children with faith filled role models is the challenge of an adult Christian Community. Children practice what they learn by example.  Because of this fact, parents need to take an active part in your child’s religious formation.

Your interest in helping your child learn to pray, to act from Gospel values and to practice the faith in all aspects cannot be valued enough.  It is the “day to day” living of our faith that will make the greatest impact on their future.

Parents in sacramental years have a wonderful opportunity to walk with the children through their questions and insecurities.  Your guidance is necessary and respected.  Often these events allow us to revisit our own beliefs and practices.  Students of non-sacramental years need encouragement to be excited about learning about their faith. We assume that every child participates in Sunday worship and so each family is asked to fill out a Mass Google Form at least twice a month which is sent through the Religious Education Parent Newsletter every Saturday Morning.

 

 

Programs we Offer:

Kindergarten of Religious Education:

In this group we enroll children who are in Kindergarten. This is an optional year and not required for 1st Eucharist Prep. Theme:  God Calls Us; Foundations of Faith

 

First Grade of Religious Education: In this group we enroll children who are in first or second grade  Children in this group could be baptized or not.  The children, who are not yet baptized, will be baptized after the completion of their first year of religious education. Theme:  God and Creator; General Basics of our Faith, Prayers.

 

Second Grade of Religious Education: In this group we enroll children who are in second – sixth grades and are preparing to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time. Theme: First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, Prayers

 

Third Grade of Religious Education:

In this group we enroll children who are in third grade and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. If they have not they will complete the Second Grade Program Online alongside their 3rd Grade Year. Theme:  Church and Holy Spirit, Reconciliation

 

Fourth Grade of Religious Education:

In this group we enroll children who are in fourth grade and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. If they have not they will complete the Second Grade Program Online alongside their 4th Grade Year Theme:  The Beatitudes and The Ten Commandments, 1st Official Face to Face Reconciliation

 

Fifth Grade of Religious Education:

In this group we enroll children who are in fifth grade and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. If they have not they will complete the Second Grade Program Online alongside their 5th Grade Year Theme:  The Seven Sacraments and Worship.

 

Sixth Grade of Religious Education:

In this group we enroll children who are in sixth grade and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. If they have not they will complete the Second Grade Program Online alongside their 6th Grade Year Theme:  The Bible – Old and New Testament

 

(These grade levels are currently being offered in person and online with the exception of Kindergarten which is only in person.)

Confirmation Program

 

Year 1 Confirmation:

In this group we enroll teens who are in seventh - eleventh grades and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.  During this year the children begin to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation. Theme: Creed, Liturgy, Sacraments, and Confirmation

 

Year 2 Confirmation: In this group we enroll teens that are in eighth – twelfth grades and have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.  During this year the children prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation. Theme: Christian Morality, Christian Prayer and preparation for Confirmation.

(This program is currently being offered in person and online.)

 

Rite of Christian Initiation for Children

OCIC 1st Year:

In this group we enroll children/teens who are in seventh – eleventh grades who need to complete two or more Initiation sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation). This group celebrates the initiation sacraments on Holy Saturday during the Easter Vigil during their second year of preparation. Theme: Called to be Catholic, General Basics of our Faith, Prayers.

OCIC 2nd Year:

In this group we enroll children/teens who are in eighth – twelfth grades who need to complete two or more Initiation sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation). This group celebrates the initiation sacraments on Holy Saturday during the Easter Vigil. Theme: A journey of faith celebrating the rites of Christian Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, & Eucharist.

(This program is currently only being offered in person on Wednesdays.)

 

Appropriate Behavior

The Gospels teach us that love, forgiveness, and respect should govern our actions.

Our students are expected to:

BE RESPECTFUL, BE RESPONSIBLE, BE SAFE, BE THEIR BEST.

Our Education Building and parish facilities are shared with other groups and organizations.  Respect for classroom environment reflects our pride in parish membership. Students who choose otherwise and disrespect persons and are destructive of property will have to deal with the consequences.  Parents, Teachers, and the Director are expected to cooperate with each other to remedy the situation.  A joint effort by all parties should bring about the resolution of the matter.
We implement a 3-strike system for discipline and behavior issues and they are as follow:

Strike 1: Director will meet with student and report will be mailed home for parent to sign and return the next class.

Strike 2: Director will meet with student and parent in office.

Strike 3: Student will be expelled from the program.

 

Time of Classes

Sunday Program:

 Sunday Classes meet from 9:15AM – 10:45AM.

Wednesday Program:

Wednesday Classes meet from 4PM – 5:30PM

Online Program:

Lessons are sent via Constant Contact at 8AM on Sundays.

 

Please click here for the complete class calendar.

Attendance Call – In

We are ask that you call the Religious Education Office (708) 352-4555 to report all absences for students before  We have this policy to safeguard the safety of the children in the program. If we don’t receive a call from you your child will be marked with an unexcused absence regardless of the reason of absence.

 

Attendance Policy:

It is the responsibility of the student and his/her parents to arrange for the work missed due to absence in our in person program. Parents whose child/children miss more than 3 classes will be automatically moved to our online program. We will treat this on a case-to-case basis and if excessive absences are due to a medical issue a doctor’s note will need to be provided. Missing due to sports is considered an unexcused absence and we recommend that the child register for the online program to provide schedule flexibility.

Students enrolled in our Online program are expected to complete and turn in all lessons as the classes are asynchronous. Online attendance is taken via the Google Form. Students must turn in their completed google form to receive credit for the class. All lessons must be turned in to receive credit for the year.

 

Tardiness

Tardiness should be avoided. Catechists appreciate the class presence at its start.  Students must arrive at least 5 minutes before bell rings.  Any student who arrives later then 15 minutes must check in with the office and get a tardy slip. For the safety and security of your children no parents are allowed in the building once the bell rings. Our door monitor will make sure your child gets to class.