Children’s Liturgy of the Word
Children ages 4 (must be 4 by December 1) through grades 3 are invited to participate in Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Sundays during the school year at the 8:30 and 11:00 AM Masses. Children are dismissed before the readings and follow the adult and youth volunteers to the Community Center for their Liturgy. The Liturgy of the Word is then presented and celebrated inage-level language and song with our young parishioners. Children in grades 1-3 then rejoin their families after the Prayers of the Faithful. The Kindergartners then begin their Wee Believers session. There is no tuition charge for Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
When the 1st – 3rd graders return after the Prayers of the Faithful, the Kindergartners remain in the Community Center for activities that reinforce the message of the readings and teach them how to participate in the celebration of the Mass. The younger children return to the assembly during communion when they join the communion line and go forward to receive a blessing. They then rejoin their families for the closing prayer and dismissal.
Wee Believers sessions are offered beginning in the fall until formation sessions end in the spring, with the exception of holiday weekends. Experienced catechists lead the sessions during both Sunday morning Masses with assistance from other adults and youth of the parish. Parents are welcome to attend with children who are hesitant to participate for as long as necessary.
Children may attend either session of Wee Believers, depending on which Mass their family attends each week.
Please enroll your child to participate in Wee Believers by completing the Registration and Medical Information forms, available on the website at www.stjudedewitt.com or in the parish office. Separate and additional to Children’s Liturgy of the Word, the Wee Believers program is considered the kindergarten formation and tuition fees are the same as those for the Elementary Program.
Elementary Religious Formation Program (Grades 1 – 4)
Through the years, programs dedicated to forming our children into active and enthusiastic disciples of Christ have had a variety of names from CCD to Religious Ed. While the names may have changed, the purpose of each is the same has always been the same: to pass on the Catholic faith to our children. As members of the Community of St. Jude, children and youth participate in the Religious Formation Program.
According to the General Catechetical Directory, the goal of all catechesis (religious instruction) “is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (80).” In order to achieve this goal, we have chosen to use the Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts program published by Loyola Press, Inc. as the foundation for our RFP curriculum. The program provides formation with the five overarching themes: God, Jesus, The Church, The Sacraments and Morality. Week by week, our curriculum invites our 1st through 4th graders to meet Jesus Christ as they explore the stories proclaimed in the weekly Gospel using the Sunday connection feature of the program. Each grade uses a “scope and sequence” format, and 25 lessons are planned each year. Children are provided a workbook that they use each week. The sessions are designed with a four step catechetical process: to engage, explore, reflect and respond.
Our RFP program also includes special events designed for the whole family to observe and learn about the special seasons of the Church year. Parents are also invited to join their children for prayer services and social gatherings for special occasions. Details about these special events are available in the weekly bulletin and on the www.stjudedewitt.com website.
Other information proved by the publisher:
Finding God: Our Response to God's Gifts is a Catholic faith formation program that incorporates the spirituality of St. Ignatius, guiding and mentoring children into a life of prayer and a lifelong relationship with God. Rooted in Scripture and tradition with a variety of prayer experiences, the Finding God religious education program offers a balanced approach to doctrine, Catholic Social Teachings, and prayer to encourage children to use what they are learning in Church and in life.
Finding God has been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Our Format – Discovering and Exploring our Faith in Small Groups
Children in Grades One – Four meet weekly at the Community Center in groups of 8-12 led by an adult catechist and an assistant. With proper qualifications, older youth with assistants may at times lead sessions. Sessions are offered three different times each week:
9:45-10:50 AM Sunday
4:30- 5:45 PM Wednesday 6:15- 7:30 PMWednesday
Registration forms include a space to indicate which session you prefer for your child. Every effort will be made to honor your first preference. In the event this is not possible, you will be contacted.
Sessions begin with an Orientation Day for children and a meeting for all parents:
Tentatively: Sunday, September 23rd and Wednesday, September 26th in 2012.
5th and 6th Grade Mentoring Program
Studies show that young people are much less prone to at-risk behavior if they have at least one significant adult (mentor), in addition to parents, in their lives. Several years ago a mentoring model for faith formation for our Middle School Youth was initiated at St. Jude. The mentoring program was expanded to include 5th graders in the fall of 2000.
The goals of the Intermediate Mentoring Program are:
- To provide participants an opportunity to discover the value and challenge of belonging to a community;
- To expand participants’ knowledge and understanding of the life of Jesus through weekly scripture study;
- To provide participants an opportunity to put their faith into action by including students in service projects;
- To increase students’ knowledge and understanding of the Sacraments through participation in Large Group sessions;
- To provide each young person in the parish the support of at least one mentor from their faith community.
What happens in a mentor group?
Using Finding God, published by Loyola Press, Inc., the teams of adult mentors lead 8-12 students in discussing and learning about the pillars of the Catholic faith, as well as the Sunday gospels. These sessions provide the foundation of the mentoring experience and usually take place weekly in the home of the mentor, the Community Center or another venue such as the multi-purpose room at the local middle school. The sessions include time for socializing and community building in addition to the scripture study. Several times a year members of the mentor group will use their time together to put their faith into action. Each group discusses and chooses the particular way they can use their gifts and talents to be of service to others. Some groups may schedule one session a month for their service activity, and some groups may choose the seasons of Advent, Lent or other special times for living their faith. Several times a year, there are large group gatherings for all 5th and 6th grade groups and mentors. These gatherings have a specific focus and Fr. Dwight usually presents at these sessions on the Sacraments, with question and answer periods at the end. We typically end with a sharing session and party in the spring.
How are students assigned to Mentor Groups?
Every effort is made to create a setting where each child feels comfortable, valued and affirmed as a member of this small faith community: his/her mentor group. Each child is assigned to a group based primarily on the response to “meeting-day/time preferred” indicated on the registration form. To ensure that each child knows at least one other child in the group, parents are encouraged to also list one or two of their child’s friends. Parents volunteering as mentors have their own child assigned to their group unless otherwise requested.
Vacation Bible School
A team of dedicated volunteers have been organizing and running a vibrant and active Vacation Bible School program for the children from kindergarten to 5th grade for many years. All children in our community are invited to participate. This year, the events are planned for August 7th-9th, 2012 from 9am -12pm.