Faith Formation at Saints Peter and Paul’s Parish
As a member of the Faith Formation Committee and the mother of a fifteen year old daughter, Rebecca, I have seen Faith Formation in our parish at close range for many years. We joined the parish in 2003, when Rebecca was seven years old and ready to prepare for her First Communion. Her experience with the sacraments of First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation was extremely positive. It was gratifying to see the love and concern that went into the program. My daughter worked with Sr. Pat for three summers in the Faith Formation summer school, and this experience was a wonderful one for her. As a Eucharistic minister myself and a teacher (of English at Seton Hall University), I am very concerned about the combination of religion and education. How we teach about our faith is a crucial aspect of our Parish. Currently, Faith Formation is coordinated by Peter Denio and advised by our Committee, which consists of parents and educators. During the past year Faith Formation has continued to develop at the parish, as it changes to meet the growing needs of the community.
This past year Faith Formation consisted of a variety of meetings and activities: monthly meetings, including parents, as well as a variety of activities and resources to be used at home. The monthly meetings would each have a theme and, often, a guest speaker or special activity. In addition to the church meetings, families had available a parent newsletter, Catholic Quiz (an online Catholic trivia game), activities on the website, and – for First Eucharist families—a take-home book. A recently distributed survey indicates that families, in general, consider the Faith Formation experience to be a good one; the complete results of the survey will be available in the parish website. Interestingly, the survey shows that most families spend at least two hours on Faith Formation per week. Peter Denio, who leads the program and is the father of three children himself, is gratified with the result, but he desires to move ahead to make the program even more successful, as our committee has looked at the results and seeks to address issues or concerns parents raised. We also invite parents to speak to Peter Denio by phone or e-mail (email@example.com or 201.335.0315) if they have any concerns or questions about Faith Formation.
We would also like to encourage parents to get involved in parish ministry, especially but not limited to Faith Formation. Over 90% of the surveyed families contribute financially to the parish, and for this we are very grateful. However, only 12% of those surveyed are involved in any parish ministry. If all parents donated two hours a month to some type of ministry, it would be a wonderful way to encourage even more involvement from our young people, who may take their cues from what they see their parents doing. We would especially like to thank our volunteers: Alison and James Walsh, Jane Leonard, Jovan Chirichella, Joyce Flinn, Sr. Mirjam Hugens, Zulma Lyman, Carla and Michael D’Imperio, Carolyn Yuhas, and Jean O’Reilly.
Parents will find information regarding our new Faith Formation program in this bulletin and on the website next Sunday and throughout the rest of the summer. If you have not yet registered for Faith Formation as a family for the 2011-2012 academic year please download the Faith Formation registration forms from the website and submit them to the main office as soon as possible. Plans are being made now for the number of participants and we want to include all interested families in the program.
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly complicated and, in many ways, more secular. Though faith is still important to many people, as it clearly is in this parish, our children will and do face challenges to their faith all the time, in the media and elsewhere. Jesus loved children and emphasized their importance at a time when children were not considered important. Our parish’s service to the children is one of the most significant things we do; as Jesus said, “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:41-42)