Sunday Morning RE Program: Faith Works!

What is Faith Works?

Faith Works is Our Lady Star of the Sea’s New Lectionary based Religious Education Program open to all children in Grades K-5. Faith Works offers children a new and fun way to learn about their faith outside of a typical classroom setting.  Faith Works is fully Catholic in its teaching and provides the opportunity for families to live and discuss the Gospel on a weekly basis, without the use of textbooks or homework.

Faith Works meets weekly from 9:45 to 10:45 on Sundays, mid September through May.

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A Typical Sunday Morning:

  • Your child will enter the meeting space and be welcomed by our team of volunteers and catechists as invigorating music plays. High School Volunteers will be encouraging your child to sing or move along to the music (usually from Cat. Chat or Brother Francis!)
  • Our morning will start out with an opening prayer that will also be up on screen to help your child learn some basic prayers or begin to familiarize them with other standard Catholic Prayers.
  • We will then move into a fun and engaging Large Group Activity that will encourage your child to relate to the main focus of the Gospel for that week.
  • Each week your child will be visited by our Saint of the Week, who will always have some kind of lesson to teach us associating their life with the focus of the Gospel.
  • Our Saint will then introduce us to the Gospel, which will be portrayed in any number of ways including verbatim acting out, interpretive skit, or a voluntary student reader.
  • Once we have heard the Gospel proclaimed we will listen to a mini teaching about the Gospel and will learn how the Gospel is relating to us and our lives. We will learn how to put our FAITH to WORK.
  • From there we are broken up into small groups and meet separately for the bulk of the remainder of the morning.
  • In the age appropriate small groups your child is given the opportunity to dive deeper into the Gospel and the focus through an appropriate activity or small group questions. This is the time that your child will get to really internalize the Gospel message.
  • At the conclusion of each week’s gatherings, parents are encouraged to observe the last couple minutes when all the groups come back together. This is when the main points of the week are reiterated and 2 or 3 children are invited to come up and share what they’ve learned. (A question is posed to all the children at the beginning of every session and at the end of the session volunteers are selected to share their answer.)
  • After a concluding prayer each child will depart with a Family Newsletter. At the bottom of each Newsletter are two challenges for the week. These are optional, but if they bring back the bottom portion the following week, they will receive points that will add up for prizes throughout year.

Volunteers are still needed in a variety ways. Please contact Priscilla@starofthesea.net for more information about volunteering. If you are a school parent, helping in any parish program counts toward your volunteer hours.


Why a new program?

learningWith much prayerful consideration and observance of the program over the last couple years, it became evident that some changes would benefit the children, the families and the catechists involved in our Sunday Morning Religious Education program. These changes include a general renewal of the program itself that would focus on the Gospel message each week in order to promote more family participation.

Renewal:

While change can often be scary, it is much needed and actually called for in Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis in our Time.) He states “catechesis needs to be continually renewed by a certain broadening of its concept, by the revision of its methods, by the search for suitable language, and by the utilization of new means of transmitting the message.”[1] He goes on to state, “The age and the intellectual development of Christians, their degree of ecclesial and spiritual maturity and many other personal circumstances demand thatcatechesis should adopt widely differing methods for the attainment of its specific aim: education in the faith…The variety in the methods used is a sign of life and a resource.”[2]At Our Lady Star of the Sea, we would like to employ new methods of teaching the faith to the children, ditching the typical classroom model and utilizing a broader range of solid Catholic resources that will be fun for the child, instilling in them a love for learning their Catholic faith.

We want to insert the child into the life of the Church while still providing initial catechesis, “reveal(ing)… the principal mysteries of the faith and their effect on the child’s moral and religious life. (This Catechesis) gives meaning to the sacraments, but at the same time it receives from the experience of the sacraments a living dimension that keeps it from remaining merely doctrinal, and itcommunicates to the child the joy of being a witness to Christ in ordinary life.”[3]

Lectionary Based:

Our new program is lectionary based: this means that each lesson will correspond to the Gospel reading for that Sunday. Catechesi Tradendae states “Catechesis aims therefore at developing understanding of the mystery of Christ in the light of God’s word, so that the whole of a person’s humanity is impregnated by that word.” [4]A major factor in deciding to renew the program so that it follows the lectionary is to encourage family participation and sharing of the Gospel.  In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World) Pope Paul VI states “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates.”[5]

It is for this reason that at the beginning of the year, each family will receive a special gift, Celebrating Sunday for Catholic Families. With this small book families will be encouraged to read the Gospel together sometime during the week, reflect on the message, and participate in family discussions about the Gospel on the way to and from Mass. There is even a family activity associated with each week. Our Sunday obligation as a family does not end at the Mass. The word “mass” comes from the Latin missa, which means dismissal. When we are dismissed we are being sent forth, therefore theMass is simply our beginning and our starting point in our Christian mission for the week.

Family and Parish Team:

Faith Works is for every child regardless of how they are receiving their formal education. Our new program neither repeats the curriculum being taught at Our Lady Star of the Sea School nor takes the place of the role of the family in their child’s catechetical development. Faith Works is an opportunity for the child to learn and share their faith in the context of the wider parish community.Pope Paul VI writes in his Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimim Educationis, that the parents who have given life to their children “are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.”[6]However, he goes on to say “the family…needs help of the whole community (and) in a special way, the duty of educating belongs to the Church…The Church is bound as a mother to give to these children of hers an education by which their whole life can be imbued with the spirit of Christ and at the same time do all she can to promote for all peoples the complete perfection of the human person, the good of earthly society and the building of a world that is more human.”

Pope John Paul II states “the parish community must continue to be the prime mover and pre- eminent place for catechesis.” [7]And “Christian parents must strive to follow and repeat, within the setting of family life, the more methodical teaching received elsewhere.”[8]

The General Directory for Catechesis validates “family catechesis preceeds…accompanies and enriches all forms of catechesis.”[9]

It is for these reasons that each week we will be sending home a Family Newsletter that talks about what we covered to encourage family dialogue and to help open the path for family catechesis.

It is our goal that with the above information you will feel encouraged and empowered to enroll your children in this no cost program. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer in anyway, please feel free to contact Priscilla@starofthesea.net.

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Volunteers are still needed in a variety ways. Please contactPriscilla@starofthesea.net for more information about volunteering. If you are a school parent, helping in any parish program counts toward your volunteer hours.


[1] Catechesi Tradendae 17

[2] CT 51

[3] CT 37

[4] CT 20

[5] Evangelii Nuntiandi 20

[6] Gravissimum Educationis 3

[7] CT 67

[8] CT 68

[9] General Directory for Catechesis 226