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Faith Formation

We welcome you, parents and students, to the FF Program sponsored by St. James Parish. The abbreviation FF stands for "Faith Formation," and this abbreviation will be used throughout this website. The FF Program presents the basic tenets of the Catholic faith to students enrolled in levels 1-9. It follows the guidelines set forth by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Program is led by Coordinators of Faith Formtaion (CFF) for each level and is under the direction of the Director of Faith Formation.

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YOU are the primary educators of your children! We are here to support you in your family's faith development. Children take their example from you. If you pray, they will pray. If your faith is important to you, it will be important to them. If you are kind to others and treat them with respect, your children are sure to follow. Come to church as a family and your children will learn that they are a part of God's larger family.

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If there is someone who has had a serious illness or death in the family or is experiencing a time of difficulty, please bring the situation to our attention.

TOGETHER we will make this a wonderful experience for all!

 
Admission to the FF Program at St. James is open to families who live within the parish boundaries who are current, registered members of St. James Parish.
 
Exceptions to this policy may be made for those who for a good reason, that is beyond their control, cannot attend the RE Program within their own parish. The decision on exceptions will be made by the Director in consultation with the Pastor of St. James.
 
You must choose to worship in St. James Parish. Admission to the program expects that St. James will become your primary place of worship.
Finances
Attendance
Cancellation of Classes
Policy for Initiation Sacraments
Student Evaluation
Discipline Policy
Safety
Curriculum
Religion Resources
Program Activities
Parental Involvement in RE
Volunteer Opportunites


 

 

Finances
There is a fee charged to help cover the cost of the operation of the FF Program. This fee does not cover all of the expenses of the Program. It does, however, help defray the cost of the Program to the parish.

The fees for the 2018-2019 school year are as follows:

1 child (Level 1 – 8) $ 150.00 2 children $ 175.00 3 or more $200

First Communion activity fee is $25.00

Confirmation fee is $75.00 per candidate.

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Attendance
Children meet once a week for 1 hour (1 hour and 15 minutes for JH). Classes meet approximately 24 times (this is one day out of your child’s life). Since this is such a short amount of time for the children to gather, attendance at all classes is mandatory unless otherwise excused. Since our catechists are volunteers and give freely of their time to our children, please be mindful in giving the catechist advance notice if your child is to be absent.

You must find out what is being covered in class and complete the work with your child. It is important to keep in mind that although parents are the primary educators of their children, it is for the group interaction and faith sharing that students attend St. James FF classes.

Any student who accumulates 3 or more “unexcused” absences in one Program year may not be enrolled to the next level. A student must complete one level before being enrolled in the next level. Students who are preparing to receive Sacraments who have 3 or more unexcused absences might be asked to prepare for the Sacrament the following year.

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Cancellation of Classes
If scheduled classes are canceled for any reason, parents will be notified by telephone. If you have not been called, you may assume that it is business as usual. The rule of thumb for classes is that if the school district is closed, so is our program. If school has closed early because of inclement weather, our program will be canceled as well. If school is closed on a Friday because of weather, then any evening or weekend activity will be postponed.

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Policy for Initiation Sacraments

The primary goal of sacrament preparation is to provide understanding and acceptance of the concepts related to each of the individual sacraments. The following guidelines are to be adhered:

1. Two consecutive academic years directly prior to the reception of First Communion with regular class attendance is required or its equivalent. Continuation of program with two consecutive years immediately prior to Confirmation is expected.

 

2. Active participation in the Church community, including regular attendance at Sunday liturgy

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Student Evaluation
We encourage communication between catechists and parents throughout the entire year. If parents have a concern at any time, they should first contact the catechist and then if there is still some question, the grade level coordinator or the Director.

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Discipline Policy
The following policy is provided so that all individuals involved in FF may be respected and valued:

1. The catechist will let the student know immediately that a behavior is unacceptable. This constitutes a warning.

2. If the discipline problem continues, the catechist will remove the student from the situation.

3. If there is a third occurrence, the student’s parent will be called and the student will be removed from the class and sent home.

If a student is removed from a class a second time, parents will be asked to attend class with the student for the next couple of weeks until the behavior is corrected.

If it becomes necessary to remove a student from a class for a third time, the child will be suspended from the class and placed in home teaching until the parents, student, catechist and Director can meet and mutually design a plan for behavior improvement. All lessons missed while the student is on suspension must be made up at home before the student can be readmitted to the class.

Some examples of expected behavior:

Respect for the environment of the facility (on site or catechist’s home) and the people in it

Attentiveness to the lesson, participation in the lesson

Self-control in words and actions

Respect for the belongings of others

Appropriate behavior exhibited in Church as well as active participation

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Safety
Each catechist is instructed in the proper course of action in an emergency. Students are informed of procedures to be followed in an emergency.

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Curriculum
Plaum Gospel Weeklies are used throughout the program. We ask that you become familiar with these materials as you review them with your children. Additional materials such as videos and magazine handouts will be used to enhance the weeklies. Also, students in level 6 will receive Bibles. These Bibles should be brought to class and kept in good condition as they will be used from year to year. We ask, likewise, that you discuss with your child/children the importance of the Word of God and the significance of it in relation to their religion textbooks. These textbooks are not a place for graffiti.

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Religion Resources
Additional religion materials are available in the Faith Formation Office located downstairs from the rectory.

Please feel free to browse materials there while your children are attending religion classes (while the office is open) or stop in during office hours.

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Program Activities
The FF Program helps students grow, not only in knowledge of what their faith involves, but also in the practice and celebration of their faith and in their relationship with a loving God.

Mass, prayer services and workshops are an integral part of the Program. These are listed on the FF calendar for your convenience. Students are expected to actively participate in these prayer opportunities. Parents are also most welcome to actively participate and assist in their planning.

Second level students prepare for the reception of First Reconciliation and First Communion. Fourth level students prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Seventh through Ninth level students prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation with reception in the fall of their Ninth level. Programs are designed for parents of these students to enhance this important step in their children's lives. Active participation in these parent programs is mandatory for those who wish their children to receive these Sacraments at St. JamesParish.

Students who have completed the fourth level have the opportunity to be trained as altar servers. Training sessions are held in the spring.

 

Students in the FF Program also have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the year at parish communal services. The parish clergy also minister to the needs of the students at various other times during the year.

FF students are given the opportunity to be active in the community by participating in various service projects that help the elderly and the less fortunate.

A monthly theme of service and virtue is presented to the students to help them focus on the importance of values in everyday life. The monthly theme should also be discussed in the home.

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Parental Involvement in FF
All parents must be involved in the FF Program in order for the Program to be a successful one. Some suggested ways to be active include:

1. To participate in the masses and paraliturgies that are integral parts of the Program.

2. To participate in Family Faith Formation workshops and meetings.

3. To join committees (social, baking, All Souls/All Saints and Mardi Gras).

4. To serve as a catechist or as an aide in the classroom.

5. To organize and serve receptions for the RE Program.

6. To chaperone for retreats and field trips.

7. To provide the staff with helpful suggestions and input on the Program.

8. To pray for the success of the FF Program

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Volunteer Opportunites
Catechist
If you would like to be part of a small-faith community that minister to students and their families, this is the opportunity for you! We have the need for the following people:

 

Level 1 - Team Leaders - Leaders would be in charge of approximately 10 – 15 families and act as liaisons between families and the religious education office. These “groups” will gather throughout the year. Training is provided!!!

Elementary (2-6) – Using crafts, music, weekly lessons and other media you will work with elementary – age children. This program meets either in the catechist’s home or in the Parish Center (space is extremely limited and is given on a first come, first serve basis.) This program meets from October through mid-May. Classes are a minimum of 1 hour. An additional hour of preparation time is needed each week. Training is provided!!!

Confirmation program (7) - Meeting once a week in a class of approximately 10 children, this is a 2 year program. You will begin in the 7th year to get the children ready for the Sacrament of Confirmation through liturgical based catechesis and service projects. Classes are 1 hour and 15 minutes. Training is provided!!!

Junior High (8-9) – Meeting once a week, this program concentrates on the life of a junior high student. Classes revolve around group discussion and liturgical catechesis. Monthly service projects and socials round out the program. Training is provided!!!

Family Faith - This family program is a program for older elementary and junior high students who have not yet received the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and/or Confirmation. This program meets weekly on Sundays at 10:30A.M.

Sacramental Preparation – This is a program for older students (JH or older) who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation. This class meets once a week and focuses on the Sacrament. Training is provided!!!

Aides
If you would like to work closely with students and also be part of a small-faith community of catechists, this is the opportunity for you. Our goal is to provide class aides (or co-teachers) to provide support for both the catechist and the students. As with the catechist opportunities, training is provided!!!

Music
Can you play the piano? Guitar? Recorder? Can you sing? We could use your help! We need musicians for the Sunday Liturgy of the Word and various prayer services throughout the year.

Class Parent
Help coordinate special events for your child’s class by volunteering to be a Class Parent. We would love an individual for each class.

Office Help
We are looking for people who enjoy interacting with students and families and who can lend a hand around our Faith Formation office answering phones and doing “lite” office work.

Hall Monitors
We are in need of people to man the halls during class hours. This is a great opportunity to help us if you need something to “fill” that hour while you wait for your child’s class to end.

Hospitality
We are looking for people to help out with various Faith Formation events during the year. We need people for set-up, clean up, refreshments. Events include: General Catechist meeting, Fall general parent meeting, All Saints/All Souls party, 1st grade Breakfast with St. Nick, Mardi Gras, 1st grade parent/child meetings, JH Socials.

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