July 22, 2020
As the schools are to re-open in September, after the COVID shut down in March, we intend to resume in person Faith Formation Program in September as well, however there will be certain changes made to our program.
As a parish community, we are required to implement specific guidelines and directives as Archbishop Vigneron has presented in his letter “Unleash the Gospel” which was published in 2018. Among the most important pastoral concerns the Archbishop wants all parishes to address are: 1. family ministry; 2. youth ministry; 3. availability and affordability of the Catholic Schools; 4. increased prayer and sacramental life of the faithful; 5. proper catechesis and faith formation of our children and adults.
To respond to these expectations in the most effective way, and given what we have in terms of the numbers of students and teachers, we have determined that the flowing changes have to be made as of this fall:
- Faith Formation classes will be moved from Wednesday to MONDAY evenings, with the start time at 5:15 PM and ending at 6:45pm. It is our plan and intention to accommodate ALL levels at the same time.
- Due to safe physical distancing requirements and the limitations of room size, we will have to limit the number of students allowed for every level. Priority will be given to the currently registered, practicing, and active members of our parish whose children have been in our program for at least two years.
- The structure and the content of the faith formation program is being revised. We are departing from the traditional “grades” model, and we are moving to a “level” model. Under this new model, each level will be comprised of two consecutive grades (with the exception of level 1). Therefore, each level will be a two-year program before the child moves on to the next level. In addition, our faith formation curriculum content will be updated to better align with the one given by the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization, School, and Catechetics. As I am writing this letter, we envision the following LEVEL configuration
- LEVEL 1 (grade 1)
- LEVEL 2 (grades 2 and 3) Sacramental prep for Holy Communion and Reconciliation in 3rd grade
- LEVEL 3 (grades 4 and 5)
- LEVEL 4 (grades 6 and 7)
- LEVEL 5 (grade 8 and grade 9 Confirmation candidates)
This new system will allow us to offer a full program, despite the limited enrollment and the limited number of teachers available this year.
- Please note that the timelines for reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation are being revised.
To allow the children adequate time to learn, to absorb what they learn, to practice, and to mature on a personal and spiritual level, we are moving the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion to May of the second year of LEVEL 2 (children may be nearing the end of 3rd grade at that point).
The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated towards the end of the first half of the school year in grade 9. Successful completion of all 5 levels, and meeting the requirements specific to the Confirmation Preparation Process is also required. Details will be communicated to the Confirmation candidate families at the start of the 2020/21 faith formation.
- Since neither faith formation classes nor sacramental preparation can accomplish anything by themselves – that is to say without active, consistent, and ongoing parental SUPPORT and practicing the faith – we ask all parents to commit to weekly participation in the Sunday Holy Mass with their children, here at Saint Louise de Marillac Parish.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER AS WE CANNOT TEACH THE FAITH IF WE DO NOT PRACTICE IT! (And if you can’t make it here that week – please know are varied Mass times across the area, including evening Masses on Saturday and Sunday.)
- If a family is not registered at SLDM and claims active participation at a different parish, official written documentation from the pastor of that parish stating this fact will be required for registration. All registration applications for families not registered with SLDM will need to be reviewed and approved.
Understanding that the journey of faith is lifelong and unique to each person, if there is any way I can assist you, please contact me directly. If you have been away from the church or sacraments, or if you are facing any other challenge that has a direct impact on your spiritual, mental, physical well-being and/or family life, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Full discretion is assured, and I have various good resources that you might find helpful.
Fr. Andrew Czarnecki