DMCC RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM

Mission:

The mission of Divine Mercy Catholic Church Religious Education Program is to enable our parish community to be disciples who are imbued with a loving relationship with Jesus Christ and dedication to serve in His name.  In partnership with parents who are the first and foremost educators of their children,   we strive to carry out this mission by providing catechesis, spiritual formation, fellowship, and opportunities to be of service to others.

In Partnership With Parents: Our Religious Education Program will be effective when the parents live up to their primary responsibility.

  • Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a homewhere tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”  Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them. (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2223)
  • Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church. A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2225)
  • Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2226)
  • Parents are highly encouraged to send their children to the parish yearly faith formation classes to help them grow deeper in their knowledge and love of God and neighbors. Older children who miss three or more years of faith formation will be placed in a “catch-up class”, which extends their Sacraments preparation to three years, instead of just two years.

Program Goals:

  • To support parents in their role as primary educators of their children.
  • To teach Jesus Christ, our Savior and Model of the Christian life.
  • To provide opportunities for encountering Jesus Christ and sharing His love to others.
  • To develop a strong sense of belonging to the parish family, as evidenced by participation in Sunday Mass and contribution of their time, talent and treasure.
  • To help families in preparing their children’s first reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and developing a commitment to receive Jesus worthily at Sunday Mass.
  • To work with youth in preparing spiritually and doctrinally for the Sacrament of Confirmation while developing a habit of service to others.
  • To offer a Confirmation preparation for adults who were baptized in the Church, received First Holy Communion and have been regularly attending Mass, but for whatever reason were never confirmed.
  • To prepare an adult person through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) to be formed in the Catholic Faith and initiated into the Catholic Church through Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion or received into full communion with the Catholic church.
  • To offer opportunities for adult faith development through parish Bible Study, Diocesan Ministry courses, and other adult faith formation classes.

The Program for Children & Teens:

Our programs  support parents in their primary duty as teachers of the Faith to their children, and also enable all families in the parish to become disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ.  “Nourished by word, sacrament, and communal life, we will witness and share the Gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, places of work and centers of culture” (See Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, 17).

+ Regular Faith Formation Classes:

Starting with 1st grade to 8th grade, children undergo an age-appropriate  faith formation program that complements the formation already being taught and experienced in the home. Covering the four pillars of the Catholic Church (Creed, Prayer, Sacraments, and Morality) learning opportunities are offered for children to grow in their knowledge and love of God and in their love for others as Christ loves them.

+  Preparation for First Communion:

Preparation for First Communion is a process of two consecutive years for the children.  Starting their preparation in the 1st grade, they receive this sacrament at the end of 2nd grade.  Those who are older will also have to undergo a two-year preparation, with an additional series of Sacrament preparation sessions in their second year.  All children need to have been baptized in the Catholic Church to register in this program (a copy of the baptismal certificate is needed).  Parents are expected to support their children in their preparation for the sacraments, and attend the parent classes/conferences/retreats.

Important Note: Following Canonical Law, the children will not need a godparent/ padrino/ madrina to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. 

+  Preparation for Confirmation:

Confirmation preparation is a two consecutive year process for children starting in 7th grade or above.  Children have to be baptized in the Catholic Church (a copy of the baptismal certificate is needed) and have celebrated the sacraments of 1st Reconciliation and 1st Eucharist (a copy of the certificates needed).  Parents are expected to support their children in their preparation for the sacraments, and attend the parent classes/conferences/retreats.

+  RCIA Adapted for Children & Teens:

RCIA Adapted for Children is a 2 year or more process.  It is for unbaptized children of catechetical age and for baptized but un-catechized Catholic who need to receive their First Holy Communion (7-17 years old).  It is also for those baptized non-Catholic, who grew up in their faith and are now seeking full communion into the Roman Catholic Church. At least one adult, who could be a parent, grandparent, or a sponsor, MUST attend all the sessions with the child/youth. When the children have received all the Sacraments of Initiation, depending on their age, they would then transition into an age-appropriate parish religious formation program.

+ Vacation Bible School:

A week of Vacation Bible School is a fun program held during the summer time that includes Bible lessons, skits, crafts, games, songs, snacks and other activities that allow children to discover God in a creative way.