Grades 1-12 Education
Classes from 1st grade through ninth grade Confirmation preparation are held in Aquinas Hall adjacent to the Church on Monday afternoons during the academic year. High School seminar classes are on Sunday mornings in Siena Hall. Registration forms and grade 1-9 calendars are available online or in the parish office. High School calendars and semester outlines are distributed by the teacher; classes are on a three year teaching cycle.
Our curriculum corresponds to the four pillars of THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: 1) Profession of Faith (Creed); 2) Sacraments of Faith (Liturgy and Sacraments); 3) Path of Faith (Moral Life and Commandments); and 4) Life of Faith (Prayer and Scripture.) Our primary text is FAITH AND LIFE, a series from Ignatius Press centered on these principal components: Creed; Commandments; Sacraments/Liturgy; and Prayer/Scripture. Teachers in the primary program also use THE NEW ST. JOSEPH FIRST COMMUNION CATECHISM; A PICTURE BOOK OF THE MASS.
THE ST. JOSEPH BALTIMORE CATECHISM and THE NEW AMERICAN CATECHISM supplement classroom texts. In September of 2017, we are introducing a parish handbook of traditional questions and answers for students in grades one through eight. This format, well-suited for memorization, has been a tried and true method of catechesis for generations.
The High School Confirmation class uses THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH as its primary text, while the post-Confirmation Sunday Seminar syllabus changes on a three-year cycle.
Brief Overview, 1-8
Grade One: Our Heavenly Father
This class is interactive, introducing key elements in the life of Jesus, the Trinity, Sacred Scripture and our part in God’s plan of Salvation. Simple prayers and stories from the Old and New Testaments emphasize the centrality of knowing, loving, and trusting God. This year is an important period of early preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, which parish children will receive in the spring of second grade.
Grade Two: Jesus Our Life
Lessons include the Ten Commandments; God's mercy; our response to God’s gifts; creation; and preparation for Confession in early February followed by reception of First Holy Communion in May. Memory work is introduced, with flash cards and/or prayer sheets provided to encourage parental involvement. Children must be seven years old by September 10. All children who wish to be part of the group First Communion Mass in May must register for parish instruction.
Grade Three: Our Life with Jesus
Third grade introduces Biblical themes from Creation to Incarnation that reveal God’s plan as it is plays out in our redemption: the birth of the Church at Pentecost; life in the Church; Confession and Communion; and the foundations for Mass and the Eucharist. Children learn about the Creed, the liturgical year and the lives of the Saints. Material introduced in second grade is reviewed and expanded. Any third grader who has not made his/her First Holy Communions should enroll in this class.
Grade Four: Jesus Our Guide
Children at this developmental stage are ready for increased familiarity with Old and New Testaments. In addition to “Bible facts,” the curriculum encourages love for God’s Word, his Law and his Church, and a deeper understanding of Jesus as our guide in this life to life eternal; it is helpful if children have access to a bible at home. Since it has been two years since most made their First Confessions, time is spent reviewing the Commandments and introducing the Beatitudes. A closer look at the miracles and parables help children discover that it is not only in the teachings of Jesus but the person of Christ that the sure and steady “rock” of Catholic life is grounded.
Grade Five: Credo: I Believe
As the articles of the Creed are the basic belief of our faith, fifth grade students should begin to demonstrate fuller comprehension of what they proclaim, a deeper understanding of the centrality of the New Testament, and a good grasp on key concepts in the Gospels. This year is an important opportunity to review material covered the previous two years and is a good opportunity to review basic concepts and introduce new memorization in preparation for increased expectations in grade six.
Grade Six: Following Christ
Our theme is love: for neighbor, for the law of God, and for the presence of Christ in the Holy Mass. Central to this year’s study is a closer examination of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the source and summit of our faith. It is important that parents keep abreast of memory work assigned and encourage the child at home. The completion of sixth grade marks an important transition from elementary to middle school. An assessment at the close of the year assists the 7th and 8th grade teachers; quizzes and tests are given on a regular basis to reinforce learning and increase understanding of the material presented in class.
Grade Seven: The Life of Grace
Lessons concentrate on the transmission of grace through the Sacramental system. Students will be able to articulate a more mature understanding of revelation, the Incarnation, and the Church. In addition to the Commandments as a basic guide for the examination of conscience, introduced in the earlier grades, the role of grace in developing the virtues is presented as a further foundation of moral life. This year introduces reason and faith, decisions, and the meaning and importance of informed conscience as middle school is an important period of transition in the life of Catholic teens and pre-teens.
Grade Eight: Our Life in the Church
This pre-Confirmation year centers on the Church’s founding by Christ and its birth in the Holy Spirit as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Students learn about the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; the Communion of Saints; the role of the religious and laity; the hierarchical structure, and the Magisterium. By the completion of Grade 8, teens should be familiar with basic prayers and church teaching. A benchmark quiz at the end of the year is given not primarily for a “grade” but as a useful assessment tool for the Confirmation teacher next fall. As this is considered a pre-Confirmation year; all students are encouraged to register.
The text for Confirmation is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Although primarily designed for students entering their freshman year, incoming sophomores and juniors who have not yet been confirmed are also welcome. This class, previously offered on Sunday mornings, is now part of our regularly scheduled CCD program on Monday afternoons. The Rite of Confirmation is scheduled for September of the following year.
Post-Confirmation Sunday Seminar
Confirmed teens are invited to a 10 am Sunday Seminar series in Siena Hall. This class follows a three-year cycle, addressing new challenges faced by high school students and the importance of solid apologetics and a strong moral compass informed by faith in facing those challenges. The schedule for these classes, currently bi-weekly, is set by the instructor.
REGISTRATION BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER, WITH CLASSES RUNNING FROM LATE SEPTEMBER THROUGH MAY.
Registration materials can be found online.