Saint Miriam Parish Children’s Faith Formation (CFF)


Dear Saint Miriam Faith Formation Families,

We know this has been challenging time for many of us, your family, and for our church, too.

We found ourselves closed due to the pandemic for almost 15 months, save two weeks. We reopened in April this year, but many of you are still to return. We understand the hesitation, but the parish won’t survive without you. Your being part of us, and your children, are our future!

Our school reopened in June – and has remained so – but our increased costs to provide PPE, deep cleaning, and safety protocols has been tremendous. In total, the parish lost approximately $87,000, but we still stayed present to support, pray and worship. Now, it’s time to come home.

Last year Monsignor Jim called it a time of ‘being different’, and we thought it would be okay before the year end. While we are still dealing with the effects of the changing pandemic, we have proven our ability to worship and educate safely!

This is why we wanted to update you regarding our upcoming 2021 – 2022 Children’s Faith Formation (CFF) year. We listened, we heard your concerns, and we are responding.

As Monsignor mentioned in one of his blogs, we tried to incorporate a hybrid approach to our faith formation program last fall. We used a program called Gospel Weeklies, by noted publisher, Pflaum Publishing Company. While we were excited about this approach, as it dovetailed both print and virtual program components, the majority of our families said it was too burdensome and they actually missed in-person faith learning. Therefore, we are returning to in-person CFF starting September 26th 2021 with the same protocols that have kept our school safe and Covid-19 free since June 2020!

For in-person learning, we will offer both Children’s Faith Formation and Sacramental
Preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. We will also still be offering PrepPlay this year for families who would like to participate in Mass and have their childr/en cared for. However, Monsignor has asked that this option be limited to 15 children to allow for increased distancing.

All faith formation in-person classes weekly will be done in our lower U-Classrooms with safe distancing policies. Each classroom being used is sanitized daily by our cleaning staff to ensure all of our safety.

To keep things simple this year, until we find a way to normal scheduling, our Sacramental Calendar at Saint Miriam will include only First Holy Communion in the month of May 2022 (with exact dates to be determined by our return this fall.) If your child is to participate in First Holy Communion, please complete the Registration with this information so the supplemental material can be ordered.

The Gospel Weeklies will continue to be distributed weekly! We will order individualized materials and extra supplemental material, as needed, for the distribution and fees will remain the SAME once again to help families back to regular Mass and CFF attendance. Last year we reduced the cost of the CFF Program by half, absorbing the added costs, to help you and your family. After all, that is what a parish is all about!

Finally, experts predicted the end of church worship and the end of our reliance on God’s love and providence. We disagree. A life without God is a life without hope. Parents are the primary faith teachers of their children. We pray you won’t fail them at this critical time in our history. What will they do when we are gone and they are left without us and with no faith or God?

Please use the following link below to register your child/ren for this fall term so we can order material and plan accordingly. The total cost for the program, options included is only $100 per child, plus $25 to help defray materials and packaging. (Additional siblings are only $75, and we will include materials.) The Sacramental Fee will also be the same as previous years at $50 to include sacramental materials and needed supplies, as well as extra instruction by our teachers.

Have a blessed remaining days of Summer and look forward to seeing you all in the fall starting Sunday, September 26th!

Brother Sean, OSF
Director of Religious Education

Monsignor Jim, OSF
Pastor


Information and Expectations

“God commanded our ancestors to teach their children; so that the generation to come might know, that they too may rise and declare to their children that they should put their hope in God.”

– Psalm 78: 6

Introduction

Welcome parents and students to an exciting year of Children’s Faith Formation (CFF) at Saint Miriam! We have many exciting lessons and activities planned for this upcoming year. We also have adapted changes to our program that will better prepare your children to learn about our faith, as well as prepare them for a life of Christian service as they become lifelong disciples!

We offer several classes that form the core of our CFF Educational Programming and they include: Pre-K – Kindergarten, First – Second Grade, Third – Fourth Grade, Sixth – Seventh Grade, Eighth – Ninth Grade and Confirmation/Sacramental Formation. We also offer RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) along with a Youth Group too! New for this year we will be using the Gospel Weeklies Program by Pflaum Publishing Group, as well as a strong interactive and experiential learning modules! These series provide a wonderful overview of our Catholic Christian Faith in a manner that is fun and increased learning retention!

We also offer PREPlay (child care) for children two-four years old during the Sunday morning Family Mass who are not enrolled in the learning CFF modules. However, please register for all programs to allow us to ensure adequate staffing and safety.

All of our educators and chaperones are federally and state cleared and adhere to our child safety protocols. Learn more at our school site here.

Register Here!


Virtual Program

Saint Miriam now provides a virtual educational experience for our students in Children’s Faith Formation (CFF). Many parents enjoy this program advantage in ‘coupling’ with the in-person gatherings weekly. When they are unable to make it to class, they still can participate virtually with emailed and online lesson plans! Other families take advantage of our online programming when they have split custody or other issues that prevents them from attending every week. Our program is experiential, as well as didactic, with hands-on activities that provide a lively way for young children to experience the Gospel. Each week, we will help you teach your children in the way they learn best: through talking, cutting and folding, listening—and through singing out with love and joy!

Virtual CFF Program Highlights

  • Used by parents at home as well as by parishes for Children’s Faith Formation.
  • Highly Affordable
  • Faithful to the Catholic Church’s teachings on human dignity
  • Flexible (Students learn online at their own pace)
  • Interactive program with beautiful artwork, music, interactive activities and videos
  • Accountable
  • Often used as a supplemental program for children needing online/in-person flexibility courses
  • Great for children with special needs (i.e., disabled children and children with learning disabilities) who are unable to attend weekly classes
  • Allows students to catch up for grade levels missed in past years
  • Children can work on the materials as supplemental to enhance what they are learning through a traditional class
  • Children complete their work online at home
  • Teachers have the ability to teach in the classroom using printed copies of the material or project the material on the screen
  • Teachers will receive materials and enhanced teacher resources free of charge
Our Onsite Program

At Saint Miriam, we combine experiential and didactic compacts in order to make learning interactive and fun for every student. In this manner, they are enriched with the values of what makes us truly Catholic, as well as hearts that are determinatively social justice orientated, as we ‘care for our neighbors as ourselves.’ In order to accomplish this curriculum focus, along with a teaching calendar that is ongoing from September through June, we require a high degree of attendance in order to allow every student the experience of interaction and learned. We teach more than just rote prayers, it is about community and bringing in our Franciscan ethos to help God ‘rebuild his Church’!

Our PREPlay children depart after an abridged ‘Children’s Homily’ at the 9:00am Family Mass, while our older students remain at Mass until after the Eucharist! In this way, our programs are tailored for students by age grouping that allows for increased learning and growth.

Please note that PREPlay is for children who have been registered through our CFF program only.

Essentials to Parish Life

There are many things that go into making a successful parish. The most important of these include spirituality, faith formation and education, liturgy, small groups, hospitality, stewardship, social ministry, and evangelization. We urge each parent/guardian and their children to find a home in these areas to support our life together.

Times

All CFF Formation students will attend the 9:00 AM Family Mass with their families and teachers. After Communion, the children will join their teachers for faith formation classes until 10:30 AM.

All CFF Formation students enrolled below the first grade will attend the 9:00 AM Family Mass with their families and teachers. Then, after the children’s homily, the children will join their teacher for class until 10:00 AM.

Sacrament Requirements

In order to receive the sacrament of First Holy Communion, students must:

  1. Have been in Children’s Faith Formation at Saint Miriam or another Catholic Church for a minimum of two years (documentation required.)
  2. Have attended all required CFF and First Holy Communion (FHC) Preparation Classes.
  3. Be in good standing in terms of attendance and class work/homework during the year of FHC

In order to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, students must:

  1. Have been in CFF at Saint Miriam or another Catholic Church for a minimum of five years (documentation required.)
  2. Be at least 15 years old at the time of Confirmation
  3. Have received First Reconciliation/Penance and FHC
  4. Have attended all required Confirmation Preparation Classes
  5. Have attended a class on Social Justice/Catholic Social Teaching
  6. Participate at a Commitment Mass with parents and sponsor(s)
  7. Be in good standing in terms of attendance and class work/homework during the year of Confirmation
Expectations

While we believe we offer a wonderful program at Saint Miriam, we understand that we cannot possibly accomplish in just above 45 minutes what you can accomplish within your family home. As parents, Godparents, and guardians, you are the primary religious educators of your children and are ultimately responsible for their spiritual growth and development. It is expected that each family become actively involved in the Saint Miriam Children Faith Formation and Parish in order to model a living, conscious, and active Christian faith and to reinforce the values and attitudes for living that faith. With that, we have set forth the following expectations for each child and family enrolled in Faith Formation classes:

  • Weekly attendance at mass is required for all students and is essential for those receiving a sacrament in the spring. This includes attending mass during the summer, making an effort to attend church functions that build community and support our work and life together and attending sacraments/activities of others in our church community (even when your child is not involved)! There are approximately 30 classes in a school year. If a child has more than two unexcused absences from class or mass, a parent/guardian must meet with the pastor and the Director of Parish Education to discuss the reason(s) for absence and come up with a plan for more consistent attendance. It is the parent/guardian responsibility to contact the Director at least one day prior to an expected absence or as soon as it is known that your child will be absent. Excessive absences and lack of participation may prevent your child from progressing to the next level and/or from receiving a sacrament.
  • As mentioned above, it is the family that is most responsible for the religious education of their child(ren). This might include, but is not limited to, an activity from that week’s chapter, learning a new prayer, doing a service project, reading the Bible or making a craft. Parents/guardians will sign-off that the activity or assignment was completed and ensure that any needed materials are brought in for class the following Sunday.
  • Stewardship and care for the parish financially and through time and talent is essential and expected. All Faith Formation students and their families must be registered members of the parish and signed up to give electronically on a weekly or monthly basis. All fees must be paid prior to the start of the school year. All children will receive giving envelopes that they will contribute during mass. Their contribution need not be a lot as the amount is not as important as the lesson being taught; God loves a cheerful giver. All children are expected to give each week.
  • All students will be required to perform some form of “service work” to the church and community. At least half of the required hours will be done at church and the other half will be performed in the child’s home, school, and/or community. At the first class, the children will be provided with a log sheet to record the service that they perform. Depending on the grade, the amount of service required will vary.

Examples of service to the church might include serving Mass as an acolyte, reading at mass as a lector, helping to clean the church, helping with the gardening or assisting on Sunday morning in the Saint Miriam Café. Examples of service to the community might include doing chores at home, helping out a neighbor, mentoring a younger child or sibling, or helping out with a charity. These are just a few examples and there are many other options that would be acceptable. Please see the director of education or the pastor with any questions.

In addition to the service hours, each child will need to write a few sentences about each service activity that they perform. This can be done on loose-leaf paper or in a composition book and it can be hand written or typed. They should think about the following when writing: how did my service help others; how did you feel before, during and after the service; why did you feel this service activity was important? These responses will be turned in with the service hour log sheet in May.

  • Support for our various activities, fundraiser events, and annual concert and silent auction is also expected. The parish places a lot of hard work and effort behind these very few events and it really does take a community to make them successful. Therefore, please make every effort to (1) sell tickets, (2) attend the events, (3) help with set up and/or clean up after such events.
2020 Children’s Faith Formation Calendar

Click here to download or print the 2020-2021 schedule.

The first “Pick-Up Party” will be Sunday September 13th from 10:00am to 12:00pm and September 20th from 10:00am to 12:00pm

SEPTEMBER

Sept 27- First Day of Class; Prep Play and in-person faith formation/ Blessing of Students and School Year

OCTOBER

Oct 4- Saint Francis Activity

Oct 11- Regularly scheduled class

Oct 18- Regularly scheduled class

Oct 25- All Saint/All Souls Activity and Preparing Luminaries

NOVEMBER

Nov 1- Regularly Scheduled Class

Nov 8- Regularly Scheduled Class

Nov 15- Regularly Scheduled Class

Nov 22- Thankfulness Program

Nov 29- Thanksgiving Break

DECEMBER

Dec 6- Advent Program

Dec 13- Advent Program

Dec 20- Advent Program

Dec 24- Christmas Pageant

Dec- 27- Christmas Break

JANUARY

Jan 3- Regularly Scheduled Class

Jan- 10- Regular Scheduled Class

Jan 17- Regular Scheduled Class

Jan 24- Regular Scheduled Class

Jan 31- Regular Scheduled Class

FEBRUARY

Feb 7- Superbowl Fundraiser

Feb 14- Regular Scheduled Class

Feb 21- Lent Program / First Holy Communion Instruction

Feb 28- Lent Program/ First Holy Communion Instruction

MARCH

Mar 7- Lent Program/ First Holy Communion Instruction

Mar 14- Lent Program/ First Holy Communion Instruction

Mar 21- Lent Program / First Holy Communion Instruction

Mar 28- Faith Formation and Palm Procession

APRIL

April 4- Easter Egg Hunt

April 11- Regular Scheduled Class

April 18- Regular Scheduled Class

April 25- Regular Scheduled Class

MAY

May 2- May Crowning

May 9- First Holy Communion

May 16- Regular Class

May 23- Regular Class

May 30- Ribbon Ceremony and Memorial Day Blessing at Cemetery Gates

JUNE

June 6- Bubble Sunday/ Last Class Day