Middle School Religious Education Information
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Middle School Religious Education Program Description
Middle School Religious Education at St. Thomas consists of Religious Education classes, Teens with Character, and service project opportunities. Although the Religious Education experience can offer many opportunities for students to deepen their faith and share their faith journey with others, it cannot be stressed enough the importance of regular mass attendance in a studentís faith development.
The different facets of the Middle School Religious Education program are described below:
Religious Education Classes
Religious Education classes will meet approximately 20 times from September through April. Although most of these meetings are class sessions, special speakers, activities, and liturgical experiences are also incorporated into the curriculum. Each middle school grade level covers two units as described below:
• GOD, REVELATION, AND FAITH
This course will help young adolescents know and understand the Scriptures and Tradition as sources of Godís revelation. This unit helps young adolescents understand how God reveals himself to us. The core activities in these sessions will cover basic teachings about God, the Holy Trinity, and Godís plan for salvation.
• SACRAMENTS AND PRAYER
This course is designed to help young people better understand and more fully participate in the churchís sacraments and prayer life. The participants will begin with an overview of the Churchís seven sacraments and then explore each sacrament in more detail.
• JESUS THE CHRIST
Throughout these sessions the participants will come to know the many faces of Jesus and will be challenged to rely on Jesus as our Savior, a role model, a teacher, a caregiver, and a guide. The participants will have the opportunity to enter into a deeper understanding and relationship with our Lord, from Jesusí humble earthly beginnings to his glorious Resurrection, recognizing that their lives are centered in God.
• THE EUCHARIST
Each session of this course examines a part of aspects of the Eucharist. Because the entire act of ritual prayer is made up of symbols and symbolic language, the sessions help the participants uncover the deeper, hidden meanings that can be found in the symbols of the mass.
• THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH
Throughout these sessions, the participants will explore how the Holy Spirit moves the Godís people and will discover concrete ways that the Holy Spirit is present in the world today. They will examine how the gift of Godís grace is made possible by the Spirit and what it means to be invited to participate in Godís life.
• CHRISTIAN MORALITY AND JUSTICE
This course will help the participants to learn about the moral principles embodied in the Ten Commandments. Young people will have the opportunity to apply Christian moral principles to various real-life situations. They will also be encouraged to use these principles in their own daily lives as they examine their own experiences and consider many of the moral dilemmas young people face.
Teens with Character
Teens With Character (TWC) is a group of youth that primarily draws its participation from young adolescents in middle school (6th Ė 8th grade) and is centered around the challenge in Sacred Scripture found in the Letter to Timothy, ďDonít let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.Ē (1 Timothy 4:12).
It is our goal that the youth that participate in Teens With Character:
1. Experience an atmosphere in which youth are able to HAVE FUN!
2. Become involved in programs and activities that help BUILD CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, connecting them both with their peers, as well as the larger parish community.
3. Are encouraged to see the world outside themselves and have the opportunity to EXPERIENCE SERVICE within the local community and beyond.
4. Are inspired to GROW IN FAITH and see the link between service, their faith, and God's unique call for them.
5. Empower youth with the knowledge & skills necessary to BECOME CHRISTIAN LEADERS.
Teens meet at monthly Pillar Meetings to explore faith-related values and how to live those values in everyday life. Teens may also sign-up to participate in service projects that benefit the community and develop their self-esteem.
To perform acts of service is an important part of our call as baptized Christians. Many opportunities are provided for young people to grow in their understanding and experience of service. Although the service opportunities can vary from year to year, in the past young people have participated in Harvest Sunday, Sleep Out Saturday, Care Pantry Christmas, Feed My Starving Children, Grandparentís Day, DuPage River Cleanup, and Hesed House Eye Clinic. In addition to participation in service projects, opportunities will be provided for young people to understand the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and how their acts of service fit into Ďthe bigger pictureí.