Child & Youth Formation
Parents are the first teachers that children have in learning their faith. In addition to the guidance parents give their children, St. Mary and St. Anthony parishes provide religious education programs to help foster and form a child's spiritual life. For more information, please click on the button below that best describes your child's (s) faith formation needs.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Ages 3-12)
CGS is a Montessori-based Catholic faith formation program where children can joyfully fall ever more deeply in love with God through contemplation of Scripture and liturgy.
CGS is based on the belief that God and the child are already in a relationship. This relationship between the child and God is unique, particularly before the age of six, and is characterized by great joy. The growth of the relationship should be assisted by the adult, first and foremost by the parents, but is primarily directed by the Holy Spirit. Children greatly benefit from having their own space to foster the growth of their relationship with God.
The atrium, or CGS classroom, is a specially prepared space designed to lead the child to prayer. In the atrium, children listen to the voice of God and enjoy His many gifts. Through the child's work with the handmade materials, presentations by catechists, and communal celebrations, he or she deepens his/her understanding of Scripture and liturgy and is led to a fuller participation in the life of the church as well as to a hope born of a sure knowledge of God's plan and their place in His plan. Children gather in the atrium weekly for approximately two hours.
There are three distinct atrium environments that correspond to the developmental needs and capacities of children of different ages.
- Level 1 serves the children ages 3-6.
- Level 2 serves children ages 6-9.
- Level 3 serves the children ages 9-12.
Level 1 (ages 3-6)
Level 2 (ages 6-9)
Level 3 (ages 9-12)
Level 2/3 (Combined)
For more information or to schedule a tour of the atrium space, please contact:
First Reconciliation & First Communion
The Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life," (Lumen Gentium, 11) and is the primary way that the church teaches and forms us. The most important part of your child's preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion is your family's weekly attendance at Sunday mass.
Preparation for receiving First Reconciliation and First Communion occurs within the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. The preparation is a two-year process that culminates with a series of scriptural meditations and a retreat.
Preparation for receiving First Reconciliation and First Communion within St. Mary Parish School occurs in second grade. School children will also receive some Catechesis of the Good Shepherd-style presentations.
Because it is in the Sacrament of Holy Communion that our community becomes united as the body of Christ and true human community is created (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia), it is most appropriate that the entire community who is preparing for the first sacraments gather together for the final moments of preparation.
In the spring, children from both the Faith Formation program and St. Mary Parish School, together with their adults, receive a series of Lectio Divina-style meditations focused on entering more deeply into the mysteries of the sacraments that they are preparing to receive. There are five Scriptural Meditations focused on the True Vine (John 15:1-11), the Found Sheep and the Found Coin (Luke 15:4-10), the Loving Father (a.k.a. The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-24), and the Centurion's Servant (Matthew 8:8).
Saturday: Retreat and First Reconciliation
The retreat begins with families and children attending Mass together. Children remain at the church for their retreat, which is a quiet and joyful time of prayer, special activities, examination of conscience, and practice of receiving unconsecrated bread. In the afternoon, families rejoin their children to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Sunday: First Communion Mass and Retreat
After the First Communion Mass, children are invited to return on retreat for a brief time. This is a special opportunity for them to personally respond to the greatest of gifts that they have just received.
Confirmation (Grade 11)
For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (CCC 1285)
Confirmation for Students
Public School: Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is a 3-year program for students attending a public high school. Students wishing to be confirmed in their junior year must attend Faith Formation classes beginning in the fall of their freshmen year through the spring of their junior year. Confirmation will take place in May of their junior year.
Catholic School: Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is a one-year program for students attending a parochial school. Students wishing to be confirmed in their junior year must attend Confirmation classes beginning in the fall of their junior year through the spring of their junior year. Confirmation will take place in May of their junior year.