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CCD, Confirmation, Adult Faith Formation, RCIC, RCIA
Parent/Catechist Information

Children being educated at home are to be invited and strongly encouraged to participate in all liturgies for those preparing for sacraments since the liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life and the privileged place of catechesis. This invitation and encouragement should include other special events supporting sacramental preparation. Catechism of the Catholic Church , Parents of children being educated at home are to be notifed concerning special programs that the parish is sponsoring for parents of children preparing to receive these sacraments. Parents should be encouraged to have their children participate in these programs; however, children may not be denied the reception of these sacraments because of the failure of parents to participate in these programs.

Cases of doubt should always be resolved in favor of the right of the child to receive the sacrament. Whether their children attend a parish religious education program, a Catholic school, or are instructed at home, parents are required to participate actively in preparing their children to receive the sacraments, especially Eucharist, Reconciliation and Confirmation. This includes participation in the parish sacramental preparation programs and sacramental celebrations. In light of the entire process for catechesis to include the four components of knowledge, community, service and worship, home schooling alone cannot replace catechesis or sacramental preparation in the parish church.

When parents decide to be responsible for the total religious education of their child ren , they will meet the following criteria:. The preferred text will be the one used in the parish religious education program of the parish elementary school program. The pastor or parish life coordinator will approve the home program and text s.

A clearly defined policy should be in place at each local Catholic school to govern the acceptance of home schooled children. A diploma from a school indicates regular attendance at that school and successful completion of the accepted curriculum of the school. It is not properly issued to a home schooled student. Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA. Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities. Parents who wish to homeschool their children in religious education should schedule a meeting with a parish priest to discuss their plans for catechesis.

Parishes for their part should make available to homeschooling parents any resources such as textbooks and support materials that the parish uses in religious education.

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Homeschooling families can elect to use these materials or other suitable materials of their own choosing. Though homeschooled children are expected to meet the same standards as other students the published catechetical guidelines they are not required to attend CCD or other classes.

When service projects or other works are required, the parents may be entrusted to oversee the work. In preparation for the sacraments, however, the children should attend rehearsals and their parents should attend appropriate meetings for adults. All materials that parents choose for home catechesis should be sound in Catholic doctrine and in conformity with the published standards and teachings of the Church. Parents should review their educational materials with their pastor. It is the pastor whom the Church has called to work with parents to determine a child's readiness for reception of the sacraments.

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Both pastor and parents should be acquainted with the diocesan catechetical guidelines and the "Instrument for Evaluation of Catechetical Textbooks and Materials 'promulgated to ensure texts' conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Call Thus, parents are to help their children develop a life of prayer, a knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and his teachings, and a practical relationship with the local Church.

For children who are formally schooled at home as for any other child proximate preparation for the sacraments of penance and Eucharist begin to intensify when children approach the age of reason. Parents who homeschool their children should make an initial contact with their pastor at this time if they have not already. Parishes must provide the parents with a set of expectations for their child at this time. Those expectations must include conformity to the Sacraments of Initiation Policies of the Diocese of Pittsburgh as well as all other catechetical policies established or promulgated by the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

As immediate preparation for the sacrament approaches pastor and parents need to discuss:. In accord with parish policy the child may receive each sacrament individually with the family or within a group. Parishes encourage homeschooling parents and children to participate in parent meetings retreat service social activities and practices connected with the sacraments. Parish staff should include homeschooling families in any informational mailings from the parish dealing with the sacraments and surrounding events as well as pertinent information about gathering the child's baptismal certificate when necessary.

Six months prior to the scheduled sacraments, parents will need to arrange an interview between the pastor or his delegate and their child to determine the child's readiness and to allow time to make adjustments in any further preparation, if necessary.


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Interviews are to be based upon the requirements noted in the Sacrament Policies and information stated in the Catechetical Curriculum Guidelines, Diocese of Pittsburgh. The parents of all candidates should be reminded of their unique and God-given role in the Christian formation of their children. They should be given an opportunity to receive practical information concerning preparations for the first eucharistic Communion of their children, and for the celebration of the sacrament of penance during the time of formation.

In addition, they should have the opportunity for personal spiritual preparation for these celebrations. Parents who for the first time are leading a child to Eucharistic Communion are to be provided with catechesis to deepen their understanding , and appreciation of the Eucharist in the life of the Church and in their own lives.

They should also be helped to appreciate the relationship between such Communion and the call and dignity of baptism. Within this context, they are to be offered catechesis concerning the Church's ministry of reconciliation, celebrated in the sacrament of penance and fulfilled at the table of the Lord. Parents who have previously participated in such programs are to be welcomed to take part again. Parents and families with special needs e. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the latter occurs in the 8th- or 9th-grade year, depending upon the parish. The homeschooling parents and student should make initial contact with the pastor in the beginning of the 7th-grade year, or the time of proximate preparation.

Including the student in this initial interview will give the pastor a basic sense of the depth of the child's religious formation to this point. Parishes are to provide the parents with a set of expectations for their child. Those expectations include conformity to the above named Sacrament Policies , as well as information from the Catechetical Curriculum Guidelines, Diocese of Pittsburgh. Parishes encourage homeschooling parents and children to participate in parent meetings, retreat, service, social activities, and other practices connected with the sacrament of confirmation.

Parish staff should include homeschooling families in any informational mailings from the parish dealing with the sacraments and surrounding events, as well as pertinent information about gathering the child's baptismal certificate and sponsor certificates, when necessary. Six months following the initial meeting with the pastor, parents should arrange an additional interview between the pastor and their child to determine the child's readiness and to allow time to make adjustments in further preparation, if necessary.

The parents of all candidates are to be reminded of their unique and God-given role in the Christian formation of their children. They should be given an opportunity to receive practical information concerning preparations for confirmation. In addition, they should have the opportunity for personal spiritual preparation for the sacramental preparation. Parents who for the first time are leading a child to confirmation are to receive catechesis about the sacrament in order to deepen their understanding and appreciation of confirmation in the life of the Church and in their own lives.

Parents who have previously participated in such programs should be welcomed to take part again. Homeschooling parents who wish to read the Diocese of Pittsburgh's guidelines for catechesis or for sacramental preparation, or the instrument for evaluation of catechetical materials, may find copies at the Learning Media Center at St. Paul Seminary. Parents who wish to buy copies of these documents may do so by contacting the Secretariat for Education at Catholic home-based religious education is the way some parents are responding to a particular charge from the Church.

Throughout the 20th centruy, the Church has called parents to be the "primary educators" of their children.

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In his "Letter to Families," Pope John Paul II wrote: "Parents are the first and most important educators of thier own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents. The Second Vatican Council in its "Declaration on Christian Education" 5 also affirmed the "primary and inalienable right and duty" of parents to educate their children.

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Family Faith Formation - STJMOD

In the "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World" the council fathers go on to say: "By their very nature the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children Graced with the dignity and office of fatherhood and motherhood, parents will energetically acquit themselves of a duty which devolves primarily on them; namely, education and especially religious education.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children: "They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and The home is well suited for education in the virtues. Catholic home educators have taken these teachings literally and have taken them to heart.

They have responded with their time, attention, and love, giving their days over to the personal care and tutoring of their children. Yet they do not labor alone. Catechesis is the work of the whole Church, and the members have different responsibilities cf.


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Parents are their children's primary educators, but not their only educators. The Church calls herself mother and teacher. As teacher, the Church is the guarantor of the soundness of Christian doctrine whenever that doctrine is conveyed. Pope John Paul II urged bishops to "let the concern to foster active and effective catechesis yield to no other care whatever in any way "Catechesi Tradendae" He directed bishops to take on the "chief" management of catechesis," while at the same time surrounding themselves with competent and trustworthy assistants.

A bishop serves all catechists, whether in the school, the parish, or the home , by offering them clear Catholic doctrine and ensuring the soundness of their teaching. In this service, pastors , according to Pope John Paul II, are the "immediate assistants" of their bishops and are urged to "neglect nothing with a view to a well-organized and well-oriented catechetical effort" Ibid, Because of this charge, pastors have the chief responsibility for fostering, guiding, and coordinating catechesis. Canon clearly states:. Therefore, all engaged in the catechetical ministry are obligated to fulfill their duties in cooperation with the bishop and pastor in this single commission to educate in Christ's name Canon , Strikethroughs as seen below example: this is a strikethrough were also on the original draft.

The catechetical leader should provide parents with the diocesan Religion Course of Study and encourage them to follow it. The catechetical leader should provide [offer] parents with training in the use of the catechetical materials they have chosen. The catechetical leader should invite the parents to attend any parent meetings scheduled throughout the year. The catechetical leader should maintan regular contact with the parents.

The pastor and catechetical leader will collaborate with the parents who present their children for the reception of the sacraments in order to ensure that the children are properly prepared. This summer I was preparing for the upcoming year and one thing that I really wanted to do is to provide a series of helpful presentations for parents during this Year of Faith.

Last month I provided a presentation on what the Year of Faith is and how families can make it a special year. Although I had a low turnout, I felt that those who attended enjoyed the presentation. Below is a copy of my powerpoint if you want to see the 7 points I came up with. I want to thank Lisa Mladinich and Marc Cardaronella for giving me some input as I was putting this presentation together. Let us pray for parents this year that the Holy Spirit will lead, guide and strengthen them to be salt and light to their children and to those around them.

This program originated at a parish in Ham Lake, Minnesota and is now in over 80 parishes throughout the United States. The pastor at Church of St. We Celebrate Reconciliation is a series based on Scripture and Tradition: This series is Scripture based and includes:.