Religious Education

The National Directory for Catechesis says that the Church exists to evangelize: “Through comprehensive, systematic instruction and initiation into the life of the community through the Liturgy, sacraments, and service, catechesis deepens and strengthens the believer as a member of the Body of Christ, the Church.”  Formal catechetical programs seek to evangelize three basic groups:

1.  Children being formed in their faith;

2.  Adult Catholics developing a “mature faith that is living, explicit, and fruitful” (according to the United States Council of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter, Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us); and

3. Adult Non-Catholics seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.  This evangelization is accomplished using two basic approaches: On-going (remote) catechesis and immediate sacramental catechesis.

Participation in the faith formation process by and for all Blessed Sacrament parishioners is necessary if we, as Church, are to succeed in the multi-tiered effort and Trinitarian approach reflected in our Religious Education Mission Statement: In the presence of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we catechists echo the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  In collaboration with every family, our Religious Education Program seeks to support and guide the continuing formation of our youth as we hand on the knowledge and practice of our heritage of faith.  In communion with the Holy Catholic Church, we fully initiated members of the mystical body of Christ, embrace our own spirituality and hope as we lead all children of God to a true conversion of heart.  Through the redeeming action of Jesus Christ, and the sincere conversion of all his disciples, we work for the transformation of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Religious Education Program for Children
This on-going catechesis is provided for all parish children who do not attend Catholic schools.  Home schooled children are encouraged to attend so that a sense of parish community and faith sharing can be facilitated.  The availability of the Trinity Catholic School facilities allows us to meet all together on Sunday mornings, according to the public school academic year.  Children in kindergarten through high school meet at 9:15 A.M. to 10:15 A.M., allowing families the convenience of attending either the 8:00 A.M. or the 10:30 A.M. Mass.  The program uses approved catechetical texts and works in collaboration with the diocesan Office of Christian Formation.  Classes for pre-school children, 3 and 4 years old, are offered during the 10:30 A.M. Mass.  Here we learn Bible stories and prayers, play games and make crafts with other parish children.  Through participation in this program, families are afforded their first opportunity to interact with other young Catholic families in the community.

Our catechetical staff is comprised of volunteer confirmed parishioners over the age of 18 who are encouraged to pursue Catechist Certification according to diocesan guidelines.  Certification requires formation in five areas based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed (what we believe); Sacraments and Liturgy (how we celebrate what we believe); Morality (how we live what we believe); Prayer (how we nurture what we believe); and Methodology (how we “echo” what we believe).  The certification process is an excellent opportunity for Adult Faith Formation for all interested parishioners.  Call Rosie Beasley (222-1321) to get involved.

Immediate Sacramental Catechesis
Separately scheduled programs of preparation for First Penance, First Communion and Confirmation are provided each year. Here all the youth of the parish (whether attending Catholic, public or home schools) come together to prepare for and celebrate their sacraments of initiation.  Parents are provided specific catechesis to help them work with their children at home and are asked to help facilitate events within these programs.  All adults of our parish community interested in the sacramental life of the children are encouraged to attend these sessions and show their support and example.  These programs are conducted by the catechists of the sacramental grades and supervised by Rosie Beasley (222-1321).  Preparation for and celebration of baptism of children younger than 7 years of age is accomplished with a priest on an individual family basis.

Vacation Bible Study
During the summer, preschool and elementary school children are offered a week long thematic scriptural program of enrichment and renewal presented with crafts, games and fun.  VBS is a truly inter-generational catechetical experience since adult teams work together to plan and execute this hands-on, interactive, high energy week.  Staff must be in place by April in order to assure that VBS will be offered.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process of initiation of adults who may wish to join the Catholic Church.  Vatican Council II directed that there be a restoration of the ancient practice of initiation in the Church, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1972.  The journey of instruction usually begins in mid-September and ends in early May.  Participants are primarily those adults who wish to join, or to learn more, about the Catholic church.  Catholics who have not been confirmed are encouraged to participate in this process prior to confirmation.  The group meets each Wednesday from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.  Contact person: Deacon Michael Nixon at 294-3092.  Email: tosaintjoseph@yahoo.com

Adult Faith Formation
Currently, periodic short term lecture series are offered weekday evenings, and are advertised in the church bulletin.  In addition, there are independent adult Bible study groups and prayer groups for both men and women which are offered through the bulletin. Deacon C. Louis Feté (fetel@clergy.ptdiocese.org) at        386-8715 or Deacon Pat Dallet (dalletp@clergy.ptdiocese.org) at 386-5084 to get involved.

Confirmation Candidate Email addresses: We try to email all candidates and sponsors with reminders of every session. If you know someone who did not get this reminder via email, then we are missing their address. They need to notify Chris Ackerman with their address to get added to the list.  It is best just to email me at  bsclifeteen@gmail.com