Updates and all other info for Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, Virginia
Family Faith Formation: Program Expectations
Catechesis at Holy Trinity going forward will require 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 2020-2021. 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?
Week 1 and Week 2: 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. If you have a non-sacramental child they do not need to attend Week 2 but will attend the other three weeks.
Week 3: The parent and children will be in the building, but separated for part of the time. The parents will go to a small group and have an opportunity to hear about and discuss topics that are relevant to raising a Catholic child in a post-Christian world. The children will be in the classrooms, separated by age groups participating in age appropriate faith formation lessons with a catechist. Then after 45 minutes, the families will reunite and the parents will take up the lesson that the children have been learning and we will guide the parents to complete that lesson with their children for the remainder of the class.
Week 4: All the classes that meet during your session time will participate in a fun, large group activity related to the liturgical year.
When are the sessions offered?
Sundays, 6:30pm-8:00pm (limited spaces)
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5:00pm-6:30pm OR 7:00pm-8:30pm each of those days
Families with a 6th, 7th or 8th grader are encouraged to sign up for one of the Wednesday sessions so their middle school child can participate once a month in the parish Youth Ministry program.
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.
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!
Families with toddlers and preschoolers can also “team teach” with another family who also has toddlers and preschoolers (form a partnership with another similar family). They can take turns coming in to be the “parent” of their family and their partner family while the other partner family watches all the younger children. Partnerships can only be formed with two families.
What about sacramental preparation?
Sacramental preparation will take place in the classrooms with a parent during Week 2 of each month.
For Week 2 of each month only the children in the 2nd year of First Holy Communion and the 1st year and 2nd year of Confirmation (typically 2nd, 7th, and 8th grade) will come to the church with their parent for formation.
The non-sacramental siblings will stay home on the 2nd 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.
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 2 of each month (September is an exception. All families must attend all 4 classes in September).
You will be given an assignment to implement during that 2nd week and it will be turned in on the 3rd 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 2nd week of each month and you will still be given an assignment to implement on that 2nd week and it will be turned in on the 3rd 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 2nd week of the month. They will receive formation in a separate classroom while the parent works with the children preparing for the sacraments.
What if I have multiple children who are in sacramental years? (2nd and 8th grader, 2nd and 7th grader, 7th and 8th grader)
You will work with both children together on the 2nd 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 2nd week of each month.
Do we have to do monthly assessments?
If a family has perfect attendance all 4 weeks of each month they will be exempt from monthly assessments. Your participation is all the accountability we need!
If a family misses any meeting of the month for any reason, then the child will have to do the monthly assessment for that particular month.
Children in the 2nd year of formation for the sacraments (typically 2nd graders and 8th graders) will have sacrament related testing 2 times during the year.
How will I know what sacramental work I need to turn in?
This web page will be updated soon with 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! 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 completing the sacramental work.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
We understand that this is completely different from how religious education has been taught at Holy Trinity, however, 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.