Over the past few weeks (as the new school year peaks over the horizon) I have been approached by some parents as well as our liturgists regarding our Faith Formation Program and the celebration of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation which have been put on hold last spring due to the restrictions put in place by Covid-19. Lisa Neu, our ACC Faith Formation Director, has recently returned to work after having most of the summer off with her 10 month contract. She is currently working very hard to coordinate with our First Communion and Confirmation parents and students to reschedule these celebrations which were missed.
At present our First Communion celebration will be a separate and special Mass by invitation only which is set for Saturday, October 24th at 4:30 pm at St. Paul's Church. Due to Covid-19 restrictions only our First Communion children, families, parents and/or significant others will be allowed to attend. Both Fr. Timothy and myself will preside at this service. Practice for this celebration will also be at St. Paul's at 6:15 pm on Wednesday, 10/21. There is an app called “Remind” which will send all information directly to parents’ phones. If parents haven't signed up for “Remind” they can do so by texting @taofc2020 to the number 81010.
With regard to the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are currently in conversation with the Bishop’s Office in hopes of rescheduling a date. The initial dates proposed for us will simply not work, so Lisa is continuing to work on this. Unfortunately this celebration may be as late as December this year or January of next year. Again, this Confirmation Mass will be by special invitation only. Confirmation families will receive more information via email and a reminder with details as soon as they are known. To get on the Confirmation 2020 “Remind” list, text @sppmjsas to 81010.
With regard to our regularly scheduled Faith Formation Classes and Program scheduled to begin sometime in September or October this Fall, Lisa (our FF Director) realizes each family will have different needs. For this reason she is currently having FF parents fill out a survey to help address those wants and needs. The survey for parents can be found at: https://taocatholic.com/2020surveys/ which will help her get a clearer picture of our resources and goals. Lisa will be developing a FF program that tries to address those needs of parents who wish to teach at home or those who wish to have their children in some classroom or tailoring some kind of hybrid. Specific program(s) are still in the works so we ask all parents and students to please be understanding and patient.
"At the end of the year, I want youth and families to be able to say 'the church was a support for me when I needed it, and helped show me where Christ was present in my life.' I'm convinced that if I give my time in this way, we'll retain students past this year, and that's also what I'm aiming for…” Lisa said.
As a pastor, I would like to say that Faith Formation and the continuing religious education of our children are just as important (if not more important) than any of the other schooling our children receive whether in the public or private education system. Our Catholic Faith is really what provides the foundation for living a fully mature and fully happy Christ-centered life. This said, let’s continue to pray for our FF families and for all our parish programs, that we will “keep the faith” and continue to grow in our Catholic Christian life!
Peace, Fr. LeRoy Scheierl