It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I write to all of you this evening. After spending most of the day in conversation, reflection, and prayer and based on guidelines just released to us this morning by the Archdiocese and conversations with ]the parish pastor and SCS principal and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of not only the Religious Ed students and families but also the families and students of St. Catherine of Siena School, I have made the difficult decision to move ALL religious education programming (grades 1-10) to remote learning for the duration of the year (or until it is deemed safe for us to return to in person classes).
Please know this decision WAS NOT reached easily or without thoughtful consideration of every possible alternative. Ideally this decision could have been reached several weeks ago but unfortunately the guidelines change constantly and I am often at the mercy of the Archdiocese, the Department of Health’s guidelines, and keeping the students who attend school regularly at St. Catherine’s safe as well. I know that every single one of us is exhausted by remote learning. I know that we are all longing for a return to some sense of normalcy and life pre-pandemic. I am more than a little bit aware that doing this is putting one more thing onto your already overflowing plates.
What does this mean for your child?
Every single family, regardless of grade, was given a folder with information. That folder contains something called a “Scope and Sequence” which outlines what material is to be covered and when. Every family received a code that gives you access to the online student textbook. This code should be on a white label on the lower inside part of your child’s folder. Every family received a hard copy of the student book. Students in grades 3-8 received some additional resources (Tell Me About My Catholic Faith, My Adoration Journal, and Saint of the Month). Grades 1-8, Grade 9, and Grade 10 all have “websites” on a platform called “Padlet.” Padlet has a wealth of resources including the scope and sequence for each grade and additional resources. I will be hosting regular Facebook Live events including a Book of the Month, a Saint of the Month, a Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and other programming still TBD. All you need to do with your grade 1, 3-8, or grade 9 student is follow the scope and sequence to the best of your ability. Students in grades 1 and 9 WILL NOT need to repeat a year in order to make 1st Penance/1st Communion as second graders or Confirmation as 10th graders.
If you have a student in grade 2, you also have a scope and sequence to follow along with BUT I will also be working on putting together additional programming for your student to complete and turn in so that I can be certain they are progressing. Your student will still receive 1st Penance and 1st Communion as scheduled.
If you have a student in grade 10, you have a scope and sequence to follow along with BUT I will also be working on putting together additional programming for your student to complete and turn in so I can be certain they are progressing. Your student will still be Confirmed as scheduled.
Here is the fundamental truth about faith formation; it begins at home in the domestic church. Parents are meant to be the primary educators of their children in the faith. Religious education programs are meant to serve as a support and resource to the domestic church. My goal for the year is to do just that; assist your family in helping your child’s faith and relationship with God to grow.
While the program is fully remote, there WILL NOT be scheduled class times for Google Meets/Zoom for ANY grade level. You are welcome to begin following the course information as laid out in the Scope and Sequence at any time, following any schedule that works best for your student and family. Again, please note that there will be an additional component of work to complete and submit for students in grades 2 and 10 ONLY and that families with students in those grades will be contacted with those requirements separately.
Nothing in the nearly 28 years I have been doing ministry could have ever prepared me to do my job through email and social media. There was no class in graduate school on religious ed in a pandemic, no professional development on sacramental prep when you can’t be face to face, no way of knowing that even the most carefully crafted plans could go awry at the very last possible minute. Yet for all of these challenges, what is most distressing to me is knowing that I won’t have the chance to see and spend time with and learn from your children this year. Cultivating those relationships. seeing their smiling (sometimes still tired) faces as they arrive, watching them grow from first graders to middle schoolers and then high schoolers and young adults is one of the greatest joys of my job and it’s those things I will miss most this year.
Thank you for your continued patience as we make this new adjustment, for your prayers for me and the program as I begin to reformat my programming, and for your kind words and support. I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing community.
As I said, if you have a 2nd or 10th grader I will be in touch with more specific details about the program for your student. If you still need to pick up materials (books or folders) you will be able to do so NEXT Sunday, 10/4 or NEXT Tuesday, 10/6.
Wishing you all the best.
Please click here for the required form to register for classes for the 2020-2021 school year for grades 1-2.
Please click here for the required form to register for classes for the 2020-2021 school year for grades 3-8.
Our religious education program, in partnership with parents who are the first teachers of their child, shapes the essential ministry for instructing our children in the fundamentals of faith, revealed truths about God and the covenant God desires with the human family, doctrine, tradition, prayer and scripture. We endeavor to bring each child to a recognition of who Jesus is and to nurture this relationship with him. We are confident of the capability each child has, within their age level, of an understanding of the love and mercy God has for us. Our focus remains to foster a connection between faith and everyday life experience, through activities, involvement in service projects, spirituality, loving and unloving choices and personal safety.