Welcome to Faith Formation K-6 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church. As the first Catechists in your child’s faith formation journey, our role is to support you in guiding your child’s faith development. With only 24 hours of in-class time, our program is designed to provide a good foundation in the faith, but building upon that foundation happens at home through family prayer time, Scripture reading and, most importantly, attending Mass.
All classes will typically have weekly homework assignments. This is a ready-made opportunity for you to engage with your child about their faith and reinforce what they learned in class.
Alive in Christ
We have a new curriculum this year, Alive in Christ! They have a wonderful feature which is an interactive website in which you can see what your child is learning. If you want more information for discussion at home, you can utilize this free resource by linking to aliveinchrist.osv.com/family.
We provide family events throughout the year to highlight liturgical seasons such as: Jesse Tree during Advent (November 19), Journey to the Manger for Christmas (December 10), Journey to the Cross for Easter (March 11), and Stations of the Cross (March 31) during Lent. These events were a huge success last year! They allow the family to engage in fun activities while learning and growing in faith together. Find the full list here. Please take advantage of these free events!
Please make prayer a priority every day. We expect kids to know basic prayers starting in Kindergarten, such as the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary. By second grade, they should be memorizing the Act of Contrition. By third grade, they should be memorizing the Mass responses and the Nicene Creed. By fourth grade, they need to work on the Apostle’s Creed and Glory Be and other prayers associated with the Rosary. We cannot teach these prayers through classroom practice alone; it will require you to pray with them every day, even for a few minutes, to get them in the habit of praying and learning these basic Catholic prayers. Have them practice reciting to you in the car, too.
After all this, the most important thing you can do for your children is for them to see you encountering Christ in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation. They are the foundation of our Sacramental life. They not only give your children grace, but they also build the habit of faith that will stay with them forever. Reconciliation can be scary, but the more they go, the more at ease they will be in the future. Our priests are wonderful and welcome all children in a positive, non-judgmental way. The kids will be high-fiving as they leave the confessional.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. As parents, we realize the struggle with getting to Mass with so many competing activities. We just ask that you make Mass a priority. It is important for kids to receive Communion; that they build the habit of following God’s commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. There are Masses all over the city so even if you can’t make it at Good Shepherd, visit www.masstimes.org to find a parish near your child’s soccer game or volleyball tournament. Instead of saying, “We have too much to fit Mass in this weekend,” you say, “When are we going to make it to Mass this weekend?” The kids will follow your example.
How many kids have said, “I’m bored at Mass.” The truth - Mass is not meant to entertain – it is time we take to honor God, pray, and encounter Jesus in each other and the Eucharist. This is hard to teach in our entertainment world with Ipads, televisions, and nonstop activities. It takes practice to learn to slow down and quiet the mind. We have recommendations on our website of books you can bring with you to Mass to help keep your kids engaged like a Bible, Magnifikid, Missal for Kids, and other activities. If they can’t pay attention, at least they are still feeding themselves spiritually.
Our program has over 500 children and only two part-time employees running the program. We rely on over 80 Catechists and dozens of parents to help with administrative projects, special events, and behind the scenes work. Please consider how you can help us out. We ask you to consider volunteering a minimum of 3-hours during the year. If you can do more, that is awesome! You can sign-up for various roles here. If you want to volunteer in a role such as hall monitor, substitute Catechist, or future Catechist, you will need to be Safe Environment compliant. Please email us for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Faith Formation for You
Finally, we want you to know we are here to support your faith journey as well. There are many resources to help parents answer those hard questions kids ask, but the two books every Catholic should possess is the Catechism and the Bible. Those will be the best resources to find the right answer or at least get you on the right track.
There are also many programs we offer through the Diocese and Good Shepherd to help you grow in your faith.
- Formed - Good Shepherd has just become FORMED! This is an on-line tool making top quality Catholic content available On Demand, on multiple devices, including many selections in Spanish, such as, movies, audio mp3, ebooks, and Bible studies – all free!
To start using FORMED:
- Go to www.formed.org
- Enter Parish Code - TWR8NG
- Complete your profile to receive ID and Password.
- Log In and begin enjoying the fabulous content!
- Start getting "Formed" today!
- Bible Study – Join us for one of our many Bible Studies at Good Shepherd. We have the Bible Timeline Monday evenings at 7pm starting October 24 and The Gospel of John started Tuesday morning, October 4, but it’s not too late to join! Check the AFF website for details on these and other upcoming studies.
- Catholic Distance University - Take advantage of Catholic Distance University's Independent Study and/or Seminar courses offered throughout the year. Everything is on-line where you can learn from the comfort of your home. Take classes such as The Gospel of St. Matthew, What Catholics Should Know about Islam, and The True Story of the Crusades. The University has a relationship with the Diocese of Arlington which brings the cost of one course to only $30! The promo code for the diocese is CDU15ARLINGTON. Please look into this opportunity because growing in your faith is a life long journey. Find out more information at their website.
- Advent Retreat – The Advent Retreat this year with Fr. Ramon Baez will be held Saturday, December 3. Check the website as the date comes closer for more information.
- Diocese of Arlington Retreats – If you are like me, it has been many years since I had time for a retreat. Consider one of the many retreats offered by the diocese. Take some time out for yourself this year and spend some time alone with God: https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/sandamiano/staff.aspx.
We are so happy you chose to join the Good Shepherd Faith Formation program. We look forward to walking on this journey with you and your family. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know!
Stacy and Christina