Dear St. Catherine Parish Family,
One of the things I enjoy most about the priesthood is teaching the faith and handing on the beautiful truths that we have been given by Christ and the Church. Educating the children of our parish is a particularly important responsibility that I have been given as your pastor, and it is one that I take very seriously. The Church has consistently taught, however, that parents are truly the primary educators of their children in the faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years…Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents” (2226).
The Catechism indicates, as I stated, that parents have the primary role in educating their children. The parish exists, however, to support parents in fulfilling this duty. At St. Catherine's we are particularly blessed to have a wonderful Catholic preschool and grade school to help support parents in the education of their children. Additionally, our Parish School of Religion assists our parents in the religious education of their children by offering a number of different programs throughout the week. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings we offer our religious education classes for children in grades PreK-8, and we also have teen programs for 9th-12th graders throughout the week. There are also various spiritual activities, service projects, and fellowship opportunities for our teens and middle school children throughout the year.
Finally, St. Catherine's also offers a variety of excellent educational programs for the adults of our parish including our Sunday morning Adult Faith Formation led by Dr. Paul Thigpen (which is held during our PSR class time on Sunday mornings) and various other Bible studies and educational and spiritual programs throughout the week. These programs are especially helpful ways for parents to be able to reinforce the material that their children are learning in their classes.
On behalf of all of our parish and school education staff, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you who attend or support our parish and school education programs in any way. I would also like to ask you to consider the possibility of volunteering in our school or parish education programs as a catechists, youth group core members, or to support our programs in some other way. If there is anything we can do to make these programs more effective, please feel free to contact me.