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. The middle school text used is entitled The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers.
The Catholic Connections program offers a comprehensive overview of the Catholic faith that is correlated with the four parts, or pillars, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These pillars are: (1) The Profession of Faith, (2) The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, (3) Life in Christ, and (4) Christian Prayer
The first pillar, the Profession of Faith, is explored through studying the following courses:
- GOD, REVELATION, AND FAITH
These sessions will help young adolescents know and understand the Scriptures and Tradition as sources of God’s revelation. Participants will begin to understand how God reveals God’s Self to us. The core activities in these sessions will cover basic teachings about God, the Holy Trinity, and God’s plan for salvation.
- JESUS CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
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 Jesus’ humble earthly beginnings to his glorious Resurrection, recognizing that their lives are centered in God. The final sessions will examine the Holy Spirit and the grace and gifts of the Spirit.
- THE CHURCH
Participants will explore how the Holy Spirit moves in God’s people and will discover concrete ways that the Holy Spirit is present in the Church today. The young people will look at how God’s Spirit was present in the lives of the Apostles, examine various models that help us to understand the meaning of Church, and look at how all the baptized participate in the mission of Christ to make disciples of all nations.
The second pillar, the Celebration of Christian Mystery, is explored through studying the course on Liturgy and Sacraments. These sessions are designed to help young people better understand and more fully participate in the Church’s life-giving liturgies (Mass and Sacraments). The sessions cover basic teachings about each of the seven Sacraments. The participants will begin with an overview of the Church’s seven Sacraments and then explore the Sacraments in more detail. The importance of the central place of the Eucharist in Catholic life will also be emphasized. Teaching on the Mass is supplemented with Altarations: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed.
The third pillar, Life in Christ, is explored through studying the course on 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.
And, the fourth pillar, Christian Prayer, is explored through studying models of prayer in The Bible, prayer as conversation with God, and The Lord’s Prayer.
During the three years of middle school religious education, the courses are covered in the following order:
- Grade 6 students cover courses on God, Revelation, and Faith and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
- Grade 7 students cover courses on The Church and Liturgy and Sacraments.
- Grade 8 students cover courses on Christian Morality and Justice and Prayer.
Teens with Character
Teens With Character (TWC) is a youth group that primarily draws its participation from young adolescents in middle school (6th – 8th grade) and is centered around the challenge in Sacred Scripture found in the Letter to Timothy, “Don’t 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.” (1 Timothy 4:12). It is our goal that the youth that participate in Teens With Character:
- Experience an atmosphere in which youth are able to HAVE FUN!
- Become involved in programs and activities that help BUILD CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, connecting them with peers, as well as the larger parish community.
- Are encouraged to see the world outside themselves and have the opportunity to EXPERIENCE SERVICE within the local community and beyond.
- Are inspired to GROW IN FAITH and see the link between service, their faith, and God’s unique call for them.
- Empower youth with the skills necessary to BECOME CHRISTIAN LEADERS.
Teens meet 4-5 times a year to explore how to live God’s unique call in their lives.
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, BINGO at St. Pat’s, DuPage River Cleanup, Just5Days summer mission trips, Snocones for Kyle, Kermes Fair at St. Nicholas, St. Vincent DePaul clothing drives, and summer Care Pantry food drives.