“The parish community must continue to be the prime mover and pre-eminent place for catechesis.”
~ Catechesis Tradendae, Pope John Paul II
Our Faith Formation Program (FFP) of religious education will teach the traditions, beliefs, values and practices of the Catholic faith. We are directed by the missionary mandate of Our Lord to go to all peoples everywhere and make them disciples. We will educate and promote the spiritual and moral values necessary to lead productive lives in the practice and faith of the Catholic Church.
This task is carried out under the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church, which safeguards the truth of the divine message. The bishop of Palm Beach Diocese holds the primary position of authority over programs of catechesis while the pastor of Holy Spirit remains the local authority for the supervision of religious education.
The Director of Religious Education (DRE) or Administrator (ARE) is responsible for the implementation of programs and ensures that the catechetical goals and priorities as established are covered in the curriculum. Faith formation sessions are conducted by educated volunteers and lay ministers. Periodically there may be guest speakers or clerics supplementing the course of study.
Part of our primary goal is not only to impart knowledge, but also to place into practice a committed and unrestrained love for our Catholic faith and values, therefore providing the basis and drive necessary to lead a life in faith. Since the First Educator in the faith is the family, FFP instruction provides an educational foundation and enhances the family’s efforts. Parents play critical roll in faith formation and must support and reinforce the parish community’s efforts. For this reason, whenever possible, both child and parents will be involved in the catechetical process.
FFP is a parish based religious formation program utilizing textbooks, handouts, workbooks, various teaching aids and presented in a session room environment. Outside experiences and activities will supplement the program.
The FFP will follow the outline and curriculum guidelines “Step in Faith Formation” for religious education as established by the Diocese of Palm Beach and published in September 2001. The standard reference will be the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Learners study materials selected for appropriate age levels keeping with the objectives and requirements as established per learning level.
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Levels 1-2: Reconciliation and Eucharist Preparation
Levels 3-5: Continuing Formation in Faith and Doctrine
Levels 6-7: Pre-Confirmation Preparation
Levels 8-9: Confirmation Preparation
The First Session begins the Tuesday after Labor Day in September.
The Final Session is the First Tuesday and Wednesday after Mother’s Day in May.
SESSION 1 – Levels 1 through 4
Pre-Eucharist Year 1 and 2
5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.
SESSION 2 – Levels 5 through 8 and Confirmation
7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Families who currently have children in our program will begin re-registration on May 1st. New families with a child entering 1st Grade may also begin registration at this time. Open registration for all levels begins June 1st for new families. Baptism and Eucharist certificates are needed at the time of enrollment. Copies will be made and originals returned.
New families who move into the area during the year may transfer enrollment at any time of the year. A letter from their current parish stating their child’s enrollment within 2 months prior to their moving to this area is needed at time of enrollment along with proper Baptism and Eucharist certificates.
Tuition is $25 per year per child for the Good Shepherd’s Atrium.
For Levels 1 through 4, tuition is $40 per year per child and $60.00 per child in Levels 5 through 8. Confirmation is $120 per child and includes two retreats for the year.
A 50% deposit is due at the time of registration and payment arrangements can be made on the balance. Questions regarding financial assistance should be addressed to the head of Faith Formation.
All volunteers (18 years of age and older) who will be in charge of conducting Faith Sessions are FBI fingerprinted, undergo a Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check, and take regular training led by the diocese through VIRTUS Online.
Volunteers agree to follow the curriculum adopted and approved by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Palm Beach County, and the pastor of Holy Spirit Church.
First Eucharist preparation is a 2-year program in our Parish. Level 1 requirements must be passed before your child can continue to Level 2 of the Sacramental Program. Both years are required before Eucharist can be received. If your child has received Year 1 Preparation at another Parish a letter from that Parish is required prior to entry to Level 2. If your child attends a Catholic school, only the 2nd year of preparation is required for them to receive these Sacraments. Additional Sacramental Preparation classes will be given prior to reception of First Eucharist for children and parents.
Confirmation preparation is a 2-year process beginning with Level 8 and ending with Level 9. Students transferring from another parish program may enter Level 8 or Level 9 with a Letter of Completion from their former program.
Pre-Eucharist sessions are held for students in Levels 3-6 who are Baptized but have not received First Penance or Eucharist. Children will be placed in an age appropriate session for Level 1 with the 2nd Year Sacramental Preparation Session the following program year, dependent upon the availability of a Catechist.
Attendance at Mass is a requirement of this preparation. Please be sure to use your Parish Envelope as your child’s attendance record. Both parents must approve the reception of each Sacrament.
First Eucharist and Confirmation are scheduled for reception during the Easter Season.
For learning levels 1-8, we will be using the Faith and Life Series by Ignatius Press of age-appropriate books along with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the New American Bible and the Parish Missalette to meet both the needs of the children and the requirements of the diocese.
For Confirmation classes, we use the series Chosen and YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body by Ascension Press.
This is a custom course for the child who has been baptized but is uncatechized and is at the age of reason. This session will include children ages 8 through 11.
The goal of the first year for these children is to have them meet the diocesan requirements to be placed in an age appropriate program. They will then join the sacramental preparation sessions for Reconciliation and First Eucharist in their second preparatory year. Mass attendance as well as parent participation will be necessary to achieve these goals for the children.
Good attendance is necessary in order to learn the material within the allotted time frame. Excessive absenteeism may result in being dropped from the program. If a learner is unable to attend a session, or will be late, we request that the parent call the office of Religious Formation to let us know by 5:15 p.m. of that day. Parents are responsible for contacting their child’s catechist after the missed session to obtain their lesson and homework assignment. Parents are responsible to instruct the child at home on this missed lesson and turn-in appropriate work when child returns the following week.