Children's Faith Formation

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CHILDREN'S FAITH FORMATION AND SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION

This year, we are offering several different programs for our children's faith formation and sacramental preparation in person (on Sundays) and via Zoom (on Wednesdays). All children from PreK through high school are invited to participate in our faith formation programs.  Children in the 2nd grade or older in the parish are eligible to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion in the winter and spring of 2023, respectively.  And teens in the 8th grade or older are eligible to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in the spring of 2023. We have attemted to align the times for most of our programs so that families can attend faith formation programs at the same time and, on Sundays, attend Mass together as well.  Please see below for a full description of our programs as well as the Frequently Asked Questions section for specific requirements for reception of the sacraments.

 

OVERVIEW

 

FAMILIES FORMING DISCIPLES 

AND FIRST RECONCILIATION &

FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION

ECHO AND CONFIRMATION PREPARATION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OVERVIEW*

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Weekly Montessori style learning for children in grades PreK and K - Sundays in person only.

Families Forming Disciples - Weekly family catechesis program for children in grades 1-5 along with at least one parent/guardian (satisfies requirements for two-year foundational preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion in the 2nd grade for those not attending a Catholic school or a Catholic home school program) - Sundays in person or Wednesdays via Zoom.

First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation - Specific preparation consisting of several workshops and a Saturday retreat for children in grade 2 along with at least one parent/guardian (as well as older children who have not received these sacraments).  Required for all children, including those attending a Catholic home school program, in order to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion.  Children not attending a Catholic home school program must also register for Families Forming Disciples.

Echo - Weekly classes for children in grade 6-8 and older children who have not received the sacrament of Confirmation (satisfies requirements for two-year foundational preparation for Confirmation at the end of the 8th grade or later for those not attending a Catholic school or Catholic home school program) - Sundays in person or Wednesdays via Zoom

Confirmation Preparation - Specific preparation for children in grade 8 (as well as older children who have not received Confirmation) consisting of Saturday workshops and a retreat. Required for all children including those attending a Catholic school or Catholic home school program in order to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.  Children not attending a Catholic school or Catholic home school program must also register for Echo.

Elevate - Weekly classes for high school teens in grades 9-12 who have already received the Sacrament of Confirmation - Sundays in person only.

*Please note that we also have several relational ministry programs available for our middle school and high school children.  More information about these programs can be viewed on our Teen Ministry page.  There is a separate registration available for these programs.

FAMILIES FORMING DISCIPLES AND

FIRST RECONCILIATION AND FIRST COMMUNION PREPARATION

OVERVIEW

The Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion are administered at St. Catherine’s towards the end of the 2nd grade year (as well as children in grades 3-5 who have not received these sacraments).  Please note that children in a Catholic grade school receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion with the school.  There are two components to parish preparation for the sacraments: the foundational preparation and the specific preparation.  

 

The foundational preparation is a two-year preparation and can be fulfilled by attendance at a Catholic home school or our Families Forming Disciples family catechesis program (child and at least one parent) in the 1st and 2nd grade (older children who have not received these sacraments must still complete two years of Families Forming Disciples).

 

The specific preparation consists of attendance at five workshops as well as a retreat (child and at least one parent) in the 2nd grade (or later for older children who have not completed the required foundational preparation).  All children, regardless of where they attend school, must complete the specific First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation program in the parish in order to receive the sacraments.

 

SCHEDULE

For those who are enrolling in our Families Forming Disciples program (those children not attending a Catholic home school program), you will have the option to attend on Sunday mornings in person (11:15am-12:05pm in English or 12:45pm-1:35pm in Spanish) or Wednesday evenings via Zoom (5:45pm-6:30pm in English).  The Sunday times align with the time we have our Echo program for children in grades 6-8 scheduled, as well as our Elevate high school catechesis program, so if you have older children, all the children can participate in religious education programs at the same time.  This time also allows families to attend Mass together immediately before or after the religious education programs.  On Wednesdays, both the English and Spanish Families Forming Disciples times align with the Echo program time via Zoom.

 

CURRICULUM

The topics covered in our Families Forming Disciples program are taken from the materials provided by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and will cover God’s covenants in Sacred Scripture, the Life of Christ, as well as the Church’s liturgical seasons and celebrations (all materials will be provided to the families).  Children in the Echo and Elevate programs will also cover similar topics, so that they will be able to participate in the home conversations with rest of the family as well.

 

For the specific First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation program (for all children in 2nd grade or older who have already completed one year of faith formation and are registered for the second year of Families Forming Disciples or attend a Catholic home school program), there will be five workshops and a half-day Saturday retreat.  You will have the option to attend the workshops on Sunday mornings in person (11:15am-12:05pm in English or 12:45pm-1:35pm in Spanish) or Wednesday evenings via Zoom (5:45pm-6:30pm in English).  These workshops will cover the specific theology of the sacraments as well as practical details for the liturgies.  Attendance at all five workshops as well as the retreat is required all children for reception of the sacraments.

REGISTRATION AND FEES

Registration for our Families Forming Disciples and specific First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation programs can be completed by using our Children’s Faith Formation Registration form found on our Children’s Faith Formation website.  There is a flat $135 family fee for each family to register for any of our programs.  If you are registering a child in the 2nd  grade or older for the specific First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation program, please make sure to register for Families Forming Disciples as well (if you are registering a child in the 2nd grade or older who is attending a Catholic home school, you will only need to register them for the specific First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation program).  

 

 

ECHO AND CONFIRMATION PREPARATION

 

OVERVIEW

The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered for St. Catherine of Siena parishioners at the end of the 8th grade year or later (we are currently participating in a pilot program which has lowered the age from 10th grade to 8th grade).  There are two components to preparation for the sacrament: the foundational preparation and the specific preparation.  

 

The foundational preparation is a two-year preparation and can be fulfilled by attendance at a Catholic school, a Catholic home school program, or our Echo middle school program in the 7th and 8th grade (or older for children who have not yet received Confirmation).

 

The specific Confirmation Preparation program consists of attendance at two half-day workshops and a Confirmation retreat during the 8th grade year (or older for children who have not yet received Confirmation).  All children, regardless of where they attend school, must complete the specific preparation in order to receive the sacrament of Confirmation (children not attending a Catholic grade school or Catholic home school program must also complete the Echo middle school program in the 7th and 8th grade).*

 

*Please note that since the requirements for the pilot program are new, we are allowing for an exception for children in the 8th grade (or older) who have not completed previous year’s requirements.  If you are registering for the Echo middle school program in the 8th grade or older and you have not completed the prior year’s foundational preparation requirement, you will be required to complete the appropriate exercises from the chapters in Decision Point on your own prior to the reception of the sacrament at the end of the year.   

SCHEDULE 

For those who are enrolling in our Echo middle school program (those children not attending a Catholic grade school or Catholic home school program), you will have the option to attend on Sunday mornings in person (11:15am-12:05pm or 12:45pm-1:35pm) or Wednesday evenings (5:45pm-6:30pm) via Zoom.  The Sunday times align with the time we have our family catechesis program scheduled for families with children in grades 1-5 as well as our high school catechesis programs, so if you have younger or older children, all the children can participate in faith formation programs at the same time.  This time also allows families to attend Mass together immediately before or after the faith formation programs.  On Wednesdays, the Echo program time also aligns with our family catechesis program time.

 

CURRICULUM

The topics covered in our Echo program will be taken from Decision Point, published by Dynamic Catholic (4 chapters/20 sections per year).  Additionally, we will also cover the topics that are covered in the family catechesis program, so that the children will be able to participate in the home conversations, if families are also participating in the family catechesis program with younger children. 

 

For the specific Confirmation Preparation program (for all children in 8th grade or older who are registered for Echo as well as those who attend a Catholic grade school or Catholic home school), there will be two half-day Saturday workshops as well as an all-day Saturday retreat.  These workshops and retreat will cover the remaining chapters of Decision Point and will also include additional spiritual reflections.  Attendance at both workshops and the retreat is required all children for reception of Confirmation at the end of the year.

 

REGISTRATION AND FEES

Registration for Echo and the specific Confirmation Preparation program can be completed by using our Children’s Faith Formation Registration form found on our Children’s Faith Formation website.  There is a flat $135 family fee for each family to register for any of our programs. If you are registering a child in the 8th grade, please make sure to register for both Echo and the specific Confirmation Preparation programs (if you are registering a child in the 8th grade or older who is attending a Catholic school or Catholic home school, you will only need to register them for the Specific Confirmation Preparation program).  

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Questions – All Ages 

 

Q: When should I register? 

A: We ask that you register as early as possible. We have limited the registration fee for all families to only $135. Classes begin at the end of August. 

 

Q: What should I do if I can’t find the answers to my questions here? 

A: Please contact our Children’s Faith Formation office at anam@stcatherinercc.org or 770-428-4271. 

 

Baptism – All Ages 

Q: I have an older child who needs to be baptized, what should I do? 

A: Please contact Joan Hennes at joanh@stcatherinercc.org for more information on how to sign up for Baptism classes. Please contact us as soon as possible to receive important information on this Sacrament. 

First Reconciliation & Communion – All Ages

 

Q: I have a child in public school. What class do I select to register for my child who has not received First Reconciliation and First Communion? 

A: Two years of Formation (classes) are necessary for First Reconciliation and Communion. We encourage participation in classes for all grades. With this in mind, please find your child’s grade below: 

•    Kindergarten Students – Optional Catechesis of the Good Shepherd or Families Forming Disciples. He or she must attend Families Forming Disciples in 1st and 2nd grade in order to receive First Reconciliation and Communion in Spring of 2025. 

•    1st Grade Students – Families Forming Disciples. If he or she attends class in 2nd grade as well, he or she will receive First Reconciliation and Communion in Spring of 2024 

•    2nd Grade Students – Families Forming Disciples. If he or she attended class in 1st grade, he or she will receive First Reconciliation and Communion in Spring of 2023. If he or she DID NOT attend in 1st grade, he or she will receive First Reconciliation and Communion in the Spring of 2024 - after 2 years of classes have been completed. 

•    3rd – 5th Grade Students – Families Forming Disciples. If he or she attended class in the 2021-2022 school year, he or she will receive First Reconciliation and Communion in Spring of 2023. If he or she DID NOT attend in the 2021-2022 school year, he or she will receive First Reconciliation and Communion at in the Spring of 2024 - after 2 years of classes have been completed. 

•    6th Grade and Older Students – Echo. Those participating in Echo will also attend Sacrament Workshops to prepare them for First Reconciliation and First Communion in 2023 and they will receive Confirmation at the end of the 8th grade. 

Q: I am unable to attend Families Forming Disciples and First Reconciliation and First Communion preparation with my child.  What can I do? 

A: The importance of parents being involved in their child’s faith formation cannot be underestimated.  We have found that this is the most effective way for children to truly be engaged in their faith as they get older.  We ask you to make every effort to participate with your children.  If you are not able to participate, please notify us, and we will attempt to make other arrangements.  Most likely, we will have a separate Zoom class available for children whose parents or guardians are unable to participate with them.  

Q: My student attended classes at another parish in the 2021-2022 school year and needs First Reconciliation and Communion. What do I need to provide for him or her to receive First Communion in Spring of 2023? 

A: Please provide a letter from your previous parish stating that your child has attended classes in the 2021- 2022 school year. Please register him or her for classes this year based on their grade – Families Forming Disciples for 1st through 5th grade and Echo for 6th grade and older. 

 

Q: My 2nd grader attended class as a 1st grader in the 2021-2022 school year, is there anything I need to do besides register for Families Forming Disciples? 

A: All students who are in the 2nd grade and attended last year, should also register for First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation. This is required for all children who have completed the first year of the required 2 years of classes. These workshops will be held throughout the year, in addition to Families Forming Disciples. 

 

Q: My 2nd grade student is in a recognized Catholic Home School program, what should I register him or her for? 

A: First Reconciliation and First Communion Preparation. This is required in order to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion. 

 

Confirmation – Middle and High Schoolers 

 

Q: I have a public-school middle schooler (6th – 8th grader) what class should I register him or her for? 

A: Echo. We are preparing middle schoolers to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at the end of 8th grade. Two years of Formation (classes) are necessary for Confirmation. We encourage participation in classes for all grades. With this in mind, please find your child’s grade below: 

•    6th Grade Students - May attend Echo in 6th grade, but required for 7th and 8th grade, if he or she will receive Confirmation in Spring of 2025. 

•    7th Grade Students - If he or she attends class in 8th grade as well, he or she will receive Confirmation in Spring of 2024 

•    8th Grade Students - If he or she attended class in 7th grade, he or she will receive Confirmation in Spring of 2023. If he or she DID NOT attend in 7th grade, he or she will be required to complete make-up work, and if completed, will receive Confirmation in the Spring of 2023 – this make-up work satisfies the requirement for 2 years of classes. All 8th grade students will also register for Confirmation Preparation and be required to also attend Confirmation workshops in the Fall and Winter as well as a retreat in March.

 

Q: We are parishioners of St. Catherine’s, and my 8th grader attends the Parochial School or a Catholic Home School program, what should I register him or her for so that he or she can receive Confirmation in the Spring of 2023? 

A: Parochial School students and Catholic Home School students (whose families are registered parishioners of St. Catherine’s) will register for Confirmation Preparation, which are required Confirmation workshops in the Fall and Winter as well as a retreat in March. 

 

Q: My 8th grade/high school student attended classes at another parish in the 2021-2022 school year and needs Confirmation. What do I need to provide for him or her to receive Confirmation in Spring of 2023? 

A: Please provide a letter from your previous parish stating that your child has attended classes in the 2021- 2022 school year. Please register him or her for Echo. The completion of the 8th grade year is the earliest the Sacrament of Confirmation may be received. 

 

Q: My high school student needs Confirmation. What class do I select to register for Confirmation, and when will he or she receive Confirmation? 

A: Echo. If he or she DID NOT attend class in the 2021-2022 school year, he or she will be required to complete make-up work, and if completed, will receive Confirmation in the Spring of 2023 – this make-up work satisfies the requirement for 2 years of classes. All high school students seeking Confirmation will also be required to register for Confirmation Preparation, which are required Confirmation workshops in the Fall and Winter as well as a retreat in March. 

 

High Schoolers Who Have Already Received Confirmation

 

Q: I have a high schooler who has received Confirmation. What can he or she do at St. Catherine’s? 

A: Elevate. We encourage our high schoolers to participate in our newest program available at the same time as other classes on Sundays.  Additionally, even if teens have not yet been Confirmed, they may participate in our weekly Bible Study and a weekly Sunday evening high school program as well as other retreat and service opportunities throughout the year.