Updates and all other info for Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, Virginia
Family Faith Formation: Program Expectations
Catechesis at Holy Trinity requires parent participation. Lessons will be presented to the parents and children together in the classrooms every week. These lessons will be for all ages and will provide interactive games, crafts, discussions, and other activities as your family learns their faith together!
We recognize that this is a big change from how you are used to receiving religious education and we have answered some common questions and concerns as well as addressed the program expectations in the FAQ below. Please read before registering!
How will the classes be organized?
All classes will be in person at Holy Trinity. Families will be placed into small groups, similar to what we did this past year in 2021-2022. We will try to put together families with children who are about the same age/grade and keep the groups small.
Parents will be supported and encouraged to teach their kids the Catholic faith with confidence. Work will be completed and turned in during the class time to limit the amount of work needed to be done at home. We know your time is valuable and so we will do everything we can to provide meaningful and productive lessons and activities. There will also be opportunities to celebrate the liturgical year through parish family faith formation events.
What does the monthly cycle of classes look like?
Meeting 1: A parent and all children will attend the class. Each group will have a leader who will give a lesson overview to the families and then the parents will implement the lessons with their own children having the support and community of their small group in the classroom. The lessons will be interactive so that all the children in your family will be able to work together. We have engaging activities planned that will help bring faith formation to life for all members of the family.
Meeting 2: A parent and all children will attend the class. The parents will go to an adult small group discussion and participate in the Consoling the Heart of Jesus program. This program will enrich your friendship with Jesus through prayer and your love for the sacraments. The children will be in the classrooms with their group leader participating in age-appropriate faith formation lessons.
Meeting 3: This week is dedicated to all families with children in year one or year two of their sacramental preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. All families with children in 1st Year First Holy Communion, 2nd Year First Holy Communion, 1st Year Confirmation, and 2nd Year Confirmation will attend class this week. Non-sacramental children will have an at-home assignment to complete and turn in at their next class. They do not need to attend class.
Meeting 4 (same as Meeting 1): A parent and all children will attend the class. Each group will have a leader who will give a lesson overview to the families and then the parents will implement the lessons with their own children having the support and community of their small group in the classroom. The lessons will be interactive so that all the children in your family will be able to work together. We have engaging activities planned that will help bring faith formation to life for all members of the family.
When are the sessions offered?
Sundays, 3:00pm- 4:30pm OR 6:30pm-8:00pm
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 5:00pm-6:30pm OR 7:00pm-8:30pm each of those days.
All of these session times are dependent on getting volunteers who will lead the group each week. If we do not have the group leaders in place, we will cancel the sessions as needed.
HOW MANY CLASSES CAN I MISS?
Families CANNOT MISS MORE THAN 4 CLASSES for the entire year. Regular participation is very important! If more than 4 classes are missed, this year will not count as a completed year of faith formation.
Please communicate any concerns with attendance to your group leaders!
Do both parents need to be present for the classes?
The family comes in together for faith formation. All children in grades 1st- 8th are expected. Kindergarten and younger children are most welcome if other arrangements can’t be made for them. Only one parent is required and the parent need not be the same parent each week. Grandparents can also take on the role as primary educators in families if necessary. In an emergency, a teen sibling who has been confirmed can come in and represent the parent for a week.
What will I do with my babies, toddlers and preschoolers?
Ideally, the babies, toddlers and preschoolers will stay home with the other parent, a grandparent, older sibling, family friend, etc during that hour and a half. However, nursing babies are always welcome and if arrangements cannot be made for the younger siblings, they are most welcome too!
What about sacramental preparation?
Sacramental preparation will take place in the classrooms with a parent during Week 3 of each month.
For Week 3 of each month only the children in 1st Year First Holy Communion, 2nd year First Holy Communion, 1st year Confirmation and 2nd year Confirmation (typically 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th grade) will come to the church with their parent for formation.
The non-sacramental siblings will stay home on the 3rd week of each month. If they are not able to stay home, a classroom with activities will be provided for them during the sacramental prep class. If the non-sacramental sibling attends this week they do not need to do the at-home assignment.
What will I do at home with my non-sacramental children the week they do not need to attend?
If all of your children are in non-sacramental years, you do not need to come to the church at all on Week 3 of each month.
You will be given an assignment to implement during that 3rd week and it will be turned in on the 4th week of the month when you return to class.
If you have some sacramental children and non-sacramental children, the non-sacramental children will stay home on the 3rd week of each month and you will still be given an assignment to implement on that 3rd week. It will be turned in on the 4th week of the month when you return to class.
For those families who are single parenting or are without child care and have both a sacramental child and non-sacramental siblings, the non-sacramental siblings will be welcomed the 3rd week of the month. They will receive formation in a separate classroom while the parent works with the children preparing for the sacraments. If the non-sacramental sibling attends this week they do not need to do the at-home assignment.
What if I have multiple children who are in sacramental years?
You will share your time with both children preparing for their sacrament on the 3rd week of the month.
We will put you with other families who are also teaching more than one sacrament (if we get enough volunteer leaders).
We will support you to be able to prepare both children at the same session on the 3rd week of each month.
Do we have to do monthly assessments?
No! We will no longer have monthly assessments. We will expect each family to attend regularly and miss NO MORE THAN 4 CLASSES throughout the year.
All families that have perfect attendance each month will be entered into a raffle for a special gift for their family. Raffles will be done at the end of each month!
If a family misses more than 4 classes during the year for any reason, then the year will not count as a completed year of faith formation. It is important to communicate with your group leaders if you will have an extended absence.
Children in the 2nd year of formation for the sacraments (typically 2nd graders and 8th graders) will have sacrament related testing during the year.
How will I know what sacramental work I need to turn in?
The family faith formation main page contains links to all the requirements needed for each sacramental year, including a spreadsheet where you can track your progress.
What if I am not keeping up with the sacramental work or attending meetings regularly?
If it looks like you are falling behind, we will be making quarterly check-ins to see how you are doing and what we can do to help. It is important that you don’t fall behind and that you don’t miss more than 4 classes for the entire year!
If at the midterm point of the year you are still behind, we will recommend postponing your participation this year until next year when you are able to fully commit to the meetings and complete the sacramental work.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
There is a lot of support from the catechism of the Church and Sacred Scripture for this way of teaching the faith. This method of family-style formation is also being used in other parishes in our diocese and around the country. If you still have concerns after reading the Program Expectations, please take some time to read this document. Also, please reach out so we can personally address your concerns.