Bulletins and Fr. Bob’s Weekly Column
This Month’s Bulletins
Today is National Catechetical Sunday – the weekend each year when parishes in every diocese launch their faith formation and sacramental preparation programs. And happily we do so today!
When parents bring their children to be baptized, we remind them at the beginning of the ritual that it will be their “duty to bring [their children] up to keep God’s commandments as Christ has taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.” They act on that public promise, first of all, by creating a household of faith: witnessing to their own faith and values, attending Mass regularly, and beginning to teach the basics of prayer and Christian values to their pre-school children. When the children start school, it is also the time for the children to begin formal religious education programs, and follow through as children mature and become eligible for the sacraments.
The parish staff stands ready to help our parents and children, nurturing in every way we can vibrant Christian families and maturing individual Christians.
A variety of faith formation programs are beginning in the next few weeks. There is a classroom program for children K-5 on Sunday mornings in Blessed Sacrament school building at 9:00 AM, followed by Mass at Blessed Sacrament or Saint Mary’s. There is a family education model once month, beginning with the Saturday 4:00 PM Mass at Saint Mary’s, followed by a light supper and program for every member of the family. There is also a home-school option. And for our young friends in grades 6-12 there is a monthly program of study, prayer and service.
By diocesan policy, the sacrament of Penance is ordinarily celebrated in the fall of the second grade, and First Holy Communion is celebrated in the spring of the second grade. Penance ordinarily precedes First Communion. However, in order to be ready for these sacraments, children are required to complete (1) one year of faith formation classes (i.e., first grade) in either a Catholic school or one of the program options above, and (2) a specific parish-based preparation program with us for all candidates. Again by diocesan policy, there is a two-year preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation, which is ordinarily celebrated in the spring of the ninth grade.
With all the strength of my pastoral heart, I ask parents to make the ongoing faith formation and sacramental preparation of the children a top priority in your family’s schedules. Sister Kathleen and I recognize the many involvements children and teens have these days, but we also have the responsibility of making sure our children are well-formed in their faith. Please help us help you.
There are once-monthly preparation sessions for parents of newborns and toddlers who are seeking the sacrament of Baptism. For school-age children, teens and adults who have never been baptized, or were baptized and never went any further, or are seeking the full communion with the Catholic Church, the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults is for you. There are ongoing sessions for anyone in these preparation processed. Just be in touch with Sister Kathleen and she will get you on your way.
Faith formation is a life-long adventure for us all. Beside ongoing Bible study sessions (see the parish schedule elsewhere in this bulletin), our weekly bulletin column “Renewing and Refreshing Our Faith,” the contemplative prayer and Frassati faith reflection and prayer groups, the monthly Voices of Women presentation and discussion, and other occasional events, there will be special programs for a diocesan Year of the Eucharist, announced by Bishop Matano in June and continuing through the Diocese of Rochester’s sesquicentennial celebration this year (1868-2018). We will be finalizing these programs this week, but one exciting opportunity is discussion of Bishop Robert Barron’s book, Eucharist. It will be part of our family education program, and the encouragement to form book discussion groups.
Our Director of Faith Formation, Sister Kathleen Wayne, coordinates almost all of these programs, although Father Matthew coordinates Youth Ministry and Pastoral Associate Sue Howard oversees Bible study. Their emails and the parish telephone number are found elsewhere in this bulletin. Do not hesitate to contact them for information. Also check out our website, parish app, and Facebook page, and sign-up for our weekly email blast. And keep your faith growing until Christ comes to harvest you home!
Christ’s autumn peace to you,
Father Bob Kennedy