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Religious Education Grades 1-5

Religious Education Grades 1– 5

2019 - 2020

Rev 072619

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Dramatic Changes for Elementary Religious Education

Revised Family Catechesis is on the way for 2019 - 2020.

Catechesis will be a blend of classroom and home catechesis. We will also focus on

 building a family faith centered community through whole family activities. 


After Mass July 20th and 21st, August 10th and 11th, and August 24th and 25th.

Elementary School Christian Formation rev080519

Grades 1-5

Dear Parents,

Through the parent survey and recognition of some of the challenges of the Family Catechesis program we attempted last year, we will be making some changes again this year.  We are still committed to Family Catechesis but recognize and are attempting some solutions for Grade 1 – 5 Religious Education.  Grades 1-5 will become a hybrid with classroom and at home family catechesis, focusing on creating a dynamic family community at St. John Neumann.

Pope Francis has directed that Catholics focus on Family Catechesis, including catechizing our children but also developing ongoing faith formation for parents. For a brief overview, read the FAQs below.  In our quest to develop a family community, elementary religious education; the middle school program; and NeuWaves will be coming together for community building activities. Working together, I believe we can create a dynamic, faith-filled family environment at St. John Neumann.

A major change this year is with our middle school aged children.  6th and 7th grade students will become our new middle school program.  They will follow an in-class schedule opposite that of Grade 1-5 religious education. 

May the Holy Spirit guide us in our journey towards Finding God.

Jeannie Kennedy

Catechesis will be a blend of classroom and at home catechesis.  We will also focus on building a family faith centered community through whole family activities.


Registration: After Mass July 20th and 21st, August 10th and 11th, and August 24th and 25th.



Jeannie Kennedy         Director of Religious Education         childrensministry@sjnpowhatan.org


Family Catechesis Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Family Catechesis?

Family Catechesis is a response to the call to a “new evangelization” and a reemergence of the importance of faith formation for the entire Catholic family. Contemporary society presents great challenges to parents in raising our children.  Family catechesis can help parents navigate these challenges through faith and learning opportunities that help each family grow into their own “domestic church.” 

As families struggle with the pressures of our contemporary society, the Church urges parish leaders to offer a variety of faith sharing / learning opportunities that will help families grow into the “domestic church” we need them to be.


What is Family Catechesis?

According to the National Directory for Catechesis, “Family-centered catechetical programs are opportunities for parents to catechize their children directly, for spouses to catechize each other and for children to catechize one another and their parents.” National Directory for Catechesis #61.2


What is the goal of Family Catechesis?

The basic goal of Family Catechesis is to help parents grow in their own faith, so they are better able to pass it on to their children. Through a variety of opportunities, family catechesis can:

·       help families learn how to pray and to discuss their faith together

·       help parents better understand their role as primary catechists

·       bring families together in order to share and deepen their Catholic faith

·       strengthen the relationship between the family and the Church

·       establish ongoing Catholic faith practices within the family life

·       integrate the family into the parish community

        To help families navigate an often-questionable contemporary society

        To help families learn to incorporate and value service to others in their daily lives

 I have more questions.

Get in touch with Jeannie Kennedy by calling SJN and leaving a voicemail if I am not there or emailing childrensministry@sjnpowhatan.org.   


When and Where?

Religious Education for Grades 1 -will be held at Saint John Neumann on designated Sundays between Masses. Our textbook, Finding God, is divided into five units with five chapters each.  We will alternate classroom time with at home time based on each unit.  Three units will be completed in the classroom and two units will be completed at home. 

Religious Education for Grades 6-7 will be held at Saint John Neumann on designated Sundays, opposite elementary aged religious education.  They will also use Finding God, based on a two-year rotation, beginning with the 7th Grade textbook.  Grades 6-7 will begin with at home sessions, alternating with classroom time based on each of the five units. 

We are not planning a Kindergarten class this year. 

 Why this Location and Time?

As parents, we have a dual obligation to attend Mass, “the source and summit” of Catholic life, with our children and provide religious education for our children.  This schedule allows families to attend Mass and religious education, providing the opportunity to discuss the readings, Gospel, homily, and class on the way home or at the family meal.   


What will the adults do?

On designated Sundays, parents will remain in FR Val Hall to learn about living the Catholic faith at home. 


There will be a volunteer requirement this year.  For several years, we have not had enough volunteers and we cannot continue to function without volunteers.  The parents will need to complete Diocesan safe environment training including VIRTUS and a background check. 

All families are asked to volunteer in some way. The Church teaches that parents are the primary teachers of their children. Volunteering to support the program is the least we can do for those giving their time and talent as catechists. Needs vary with different grades. Your child’s catechist will tell you the best way to help.

 Are we changing programs?

No. We will continue to use the Finding God series published by Loyola Press. For details on the program, please go to www.findinggod.org. Take a minute to register and you will be amazed at all the resources available to you in addition to an overview of the program.

There are many reasons for staying with Finding God: First, the lesson plans are complete and thorough allowing the catechists to focus on presenting the lesson rather than preparing the lesson. More importantly, the content is complete. Every lesson includes a theme, scripture references, catechism references, catholic social teaching themes, vocabulary, the story of a saint, and basic prayers.

In addition to Finding God, we will be using Pflaum Publishing’s Gospel Weeklies as a take home supplement. 

 Is there a Student Book?

Yes, there is a student book which will go home after the classroom units with the student and be used for the home sessions in conjunction with all the parent resources we will supply.

 Are there tests?

There is an online session review for the units completed at home which will be automatically emailed to SLN with a click of a button.

  What if I miss a class?

We realize that it may be necessary to miss a class for personal reasons, however, it is important to attend all sessions.  One of the reasons for changing the format to include more classroom sessions is because the lack of classroom sessions posed a problem for a variety of reasons.  We will be tracking attendance this year. 

 What if I will miss many classes?

If you have special circumstances where you will miss many of the classes, please reach out to Jeannie Kennedy and we can discuss options. 


What about Home School?

There is always a home school option. Registration in the program is required to receive credit for the year. For home school, it is highly recommended the parents purchase a Catechist Guide. Cost of the guide is $55.95 in addition to registration. The parents will be responsible to prepare and administer the assessments every five weeks. This will be difficult if not impossible without the guide. It will be the parents’ responsibility to give the completed assessments to Jeannie Kennedy. In accordance with diocesan directives, there is no Home School option for Sacramental Preparation.

 What about First Reconciliation/Eucharist and Confirmation?

These programs require completing the basic youth registration form in addition to other requirements. Check the link for Sacramental Preparation for additional details and separate documents on First Reconciliation/Eucharist and Confirmation.

 What next?

Make sure you are registered in the parish and that your children are registered in all appropriate programs.

  I have more questions.

Call SJN and ask for Jeannie Kennedy, leaving a voicemail message if I am not there, or emailing childrensministry@sjnpowhatan.org.