The aim of religious formation is to promote communion with Jesus Christ. We use the term “Faith Formation” rather than “Religious Ed.”, because this more accurately speaks to our program goals. In partnership with the parents and guardians we can achieve our goals by nurturing the entire family’s faith in a way that is faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the tradition of the Catholic Church. The curriculum includes catechetical instruction, opportunities for service, sacramental preparation, and appreciation for public prayer and worship, fellowship, and spiritual renewal.
How Our Program Works
The Church has always taught, and we wholeheartedly believe that parents are the primary educators of their child. Parents have greatest influence on the religious, moral, and spiritual impact on their child. St Joseph Faith Formation program provides family-based catechesis. The materials used are Pflaum Gospel Weeklies, a liturgical catechetical program with the Sunday Gospel as the foundation and in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pflaum Gospel Weeklies editions are presented in age-appropriate levels which are done at home with a parent or guardian (generally 2 lessons a month). The lesson content addresses contemporary and cultural scenarios corresponding to Catholic Social Teachings, the Works of Mercy, and how the family can actively apply it to their everyday life.
Additionally, families attend 2 monthly sessions at the church. Your child will be placed with a group of children and be led by a catechist discussing the lesson for the week. Your child will not need to do the weekly Pflaum Gospel Weeklies booklet that week.
All families attend a monthly grade level Mass. Participation in Sunday Eucharist is the center of our Faith, the source from which we draw our strength.
Sacrament preparation (First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation) will be conducted in addition to these monthly sessions.
All of our staff and volunteer catechists are required by the Diocese to have ongoing Virtus “Protecting God’s Children” training, as well as criminal background checks and reference checks.
Sacrament preparation is a parish -based program. Children who are attending either a Catholic school OR the St Joseph Parish Faith Formation Program are eligible to enroll in this preparation process.
Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist
Preparation begins no earlier than the second year of regular grade level Faith Formation classes.
Sacrament of Confirmation
Students entering Grade 7 are eligible to enroll in the 2-year Confirmation Program. Students participate in final preparation activities and celebrate Confirmation in the spring of Grade 8.
Grades 8-12 students who have not attended the program and would like to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation are welcome to enroll in the program and receive instruction/formation with other high school students.
Children with Special Needs
It is our commitment to make our programs inclusive and accessible to children with special needs and disabilities. Parents are the most knowledgeable about their own children. Please inform us of any special circumstances your child or family may have so that we can make arrangements to meet their needs.
Become a Catechist
We have a continuous need for catechists (faith formation teachers) for our program to be sustained and grow. We invite and encourage parents, grandparents, and parishioners to consider joining our ministry. It is only with your help and participation that that we can accomplish the task of passing on our faith to the families. Catechists are responsible for planning and implementing the designated curriculum. We invite you to prayerfully consider joining this ministry.
What our catechists say…
“What I thought would be a giving thing, a few hours a week of my time, turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
“We plant seeds of faith in the children with God’s grace. Our efforts and our prayers will bear fruit at some stage in their life. We don’t always see immediate results but quite often a word, a story or even a picture triggers a child’s heart so they want to know more about the love that God has for us.”
“I guess that being a catechist is like being one of God’s instruments in bringing souls to know and love Him. The rewards of teaching far outweigh the effort!”
Mrs. Maryanne Trezza Faith Formation Director 45 Church Street, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 631-981-1805 firstname.lastname@example.org