Faith Formation 2020-2021: “COVID Catechesis”
September 28, 2020
Dear Parents of St. John’s Faith Formation,
The COVID-19 Pandemic has become a long season that has affected every aspect of our lives, including work, school, and church. All of us have been affected by this reality, and in recent weeks, we have been listening to your struggles in adapting to the new school year. We have heard the exhaustion and frustration that many of you are experiencing right now, as you are making heroic efforts to homeschool your kids, lead them in cyber-school, or juggle your child’s hybrid school schedule with your own work schedule.
We have intentionally delayed the start of our program until October, so as to give you space to adapt and to find a “rhythm” for this year. Our Staff Leadership wants to create as positive an experience as possible for you this year, which will accomplish the following goals:
It will not at all be an extra burden for you, but will add value to your life. We care about your kids! We desire that they continue to be formed in faith, and we care about you as parents as well! Let’s encourage one another to find opportunities in the midst of the chaos. No church or school has ever experienced a pandemic before. From the church’s point of view, the opportunity is to actually grow in faith during this crisis, and we want to help you to do that.
It will build on our Vision of Kid’s Small Groups. Last year (Fall 2019 – doesn’t it seem like a lifetime ago?), as many of you know, we kicked off a new way of doing Faith Formation, which was based on the Sunday Readings heard at Mass and the “Message Series” that Father Reichlen is preaching in “big church,” but brought to the child or student’s level. Your kids are amazing, and in the Small Groups they grew each week to share their faith. We found that the Small Groups experience was a huge “win” for us. We are grateful for the parents who acted as “facilitators” for these groups, and we want to build on our success from last year.
So, after much discussion, feedback, and counsel, here’s our 2020-2021 Faith Formation Plan:
For children in grades 1 to 5, the Program will be “hybrid” in-person and/or virtual. By this we mean that you are free to choose to bring your child into the church, or stay at home. The class will be in one big group in the church. It will be 15 minutes long, with an opportunity for Small Group faith sharing afterwards. This 15 minute teaching will be Live Streamed via a private Zoom meeting, and parents may choose to keep their children at home. After the teaching, Small Group faith sharing will be done in one of two ways: (1) Parents lead their own children in a brief Faith Sharing; (2) children will be led in Small Groups inside the church for a brief period, no longer than 15 minutes.
Our Kick-Off for grades 1 to 5, is Sunday October 25. Children will be welcomed into the church and seated at 9:50 am, and the teaching will begin at 10 am. Children who are at home will connect to the Big Group via Zoom.
For grades 1 to 5, on the Last Sunday of the month starting in November, there will be a class Zoom Meeting at home at 10 am, and no in-person teaching. The meeting will break out into “rooms” for each class. This will be an opportunity for all students in each class to interact with one another. These Zoom meeting times and dates will be indicated in a separate schedule for grades 1-5.
For students in Middle School and High School RCIA, including Confirmation Prep, the Program will be entirely virtual for the Fall 2020. The videos and work for these students will be done at home, two sessions per month. Middle and High School Students will attend a Zoom meeting once per month, and connect and engage with a facilitator and fellow students. The dates and times for these monthly Zoom meetings will be announced on a separate schedule; we anticipate that they will be on Sundays at 12:30 pm. In the New Year 2021, we anticipate in-person meetings of Middle School/High School classes once per month.
ALL Registrations will be conducted online, beginning October 1, on our website: www.churchofstjohn.com. There is no cost for the program this year. We invite you to attend weekend Masses either Live Streamed online, or in-person with your family, every weekend. We ask that you please register your children for this year, whether you are new or not. If you are not a member of our parish, you can register your family on our website to join our parish family.
FOR ALL LEVELS, we will conduct an online Zoom Parents’ Orientation Meeting on Sunday October 18 at 10 am. Please email Analia at email@example.com to register for the Zoom meeting. If you can’t make it, we will have the recording of the meeting available afterwards on our website, Facebook, and YouTube.
As the year progresses, we will continuously evaluate the program if we need to change or adapt. St. John’s Church is OPEN for daily and weekend Masses, except for the Saturday 4 pm Mass, which is Live Streamed and not open to the public. Also, you may choose to follow our Masses at home and receive Holy Communion in the parish parking lot, on Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 12 noon. All Live Streamed offerings, including Weekend Masses, can be found on the parish website.
We are in this together! May God bless you all! We love you and we miss you!
Fr. Reichlen, Pastor
Analia Kolakowski, Director of Faith Formation
To all Faith Formation families:
(Families who are currently enrolled in our religious education program)
I started a private Facebook group. We will communicate in this group.
I ask that all parents join the group for announcements, questions, concerns, class materials, etc.
Please read the letter from Fr. Reichlen concerning Faith Formation Classes and fill out the form for registration.
God Bless You All!