St. John Neumann Catholic Church

Houston, Texas

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Faith Formation Handbook

 

Faith Formation Mission Statement 

The Faith Formation Office places particular emphasis on the spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, and cultural needs of our community.  The Lifelong Faith Formation ministry seeks to form our children, youth, and adults to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, who through active participation in our faith community, learn to value all people as children of God and to create a more loving and just society.

Its responsibilities include the formation of its staff & catechists; development of its catechetical program, resources and materials, and to assist the parish in catechetical related issuers.  This office prepares the sacramental guidelines for the parish in accordance with the archdiocesan guidelines.



Faith Formation Goals 

The goals of the Faith Formation Program are to:

  • Help Catechists realize more fully the continuing need to grow in faith and enrich their relationship with God.
  • Provide parents with necessary instruction and support in religious education and Sacramental preparation for their children.
  • Help young people realize the importance of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to develop their life of prayer.
  • Develop in young people the ability to understand Christian freedom and responsibility.
  • Develop in young people a sense of mission in the church, that is, a desire to share their vision of Christ with others as participants in the community of faith.    

 

The Role of the Family 

The family forms the basic unity in society from which cultures and societies develop.  From New Testament days, the Church holds the Christian family as the most basic unity of church life.  It “constitutes a specific revelation of and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2204).  In other words, the Christian family – in all its myriad forms – is the Church at home



Parents as Primary Educators 


As the Rite of Baptism indicates, children first experience God in the arms of their parents.  The home is where children first experience the sacred presence of God as either personal and intimate or impersonal and indifferent.  By watching and imitating their parents, children learn how to love and embrace, to listen and respond, to belong, to forgive, to pray, to reach out and to serve.  Where these are lacking in the home, they will be lacking in our children and in our Church.

Hence, we acknowledge parents as primary educators in faith (CCE 2223).  In their manner of child rearing, parents will either cultivate faith in their children or stifle it.  Ignoring our faith, taking it for granted or relinquishing the faith as the work of others, hurts us all, especially the children.  In forming faith in the domestic church, the essential elements of the church’s life provide a model of life and faith, which parents and children need to embody.  Pope Paul VI state, “There should be found in every family the various aspects of the entire church.”  Listed on the next few pages are ways families might integrate the various aspects of the entire Church into their family life.Welcome to my website, enjoy Your stay.

 

Faith of the Parents  

Parents hold a privileged role and responsibility in family life (CCE 2221-2230).  Before the Christian community, parents present and name their child and ask the Church for Baptism – the gift of faith and life of grace.  In doing so, they accept the responsibility of “training them in the practice of the faith, to bring them up to keep God’s commandments [and] to love God and our neighbor”.  Only after acknowledging this responsibility do parents sign their infant child with the cross of salvation, claiming the child for Christ.  Through this sacrament, parents ritually express their personal commitment to God, to the community of faith and to their child.  They can do so only because they first have faith.  It is the promise of this living tradition, of God present in the community of faith – as parish and as domestic church – that is the foundation of hope and our ability to transmit faith from generation to generation.

For our children to have faith, our parents must first have faith (General Directory for catechesis 226).  The adage, “faith is caught, not taught,” is true especially for the domestic church.  Simply put, parents teach most effectively by example.  They profoundly affect the faith of their children by attending first to their own faith and religiosity.  Each parent is obliged to live the baptismal vocation as priests, prophet and servant-ruler in the home, in the workplace and in the marketplace.



Modeling Faith

Your children will learn by following your example. Their commitment to faith will be strengthened by your lead in attending weekly Mass, by your stewardship (prayer, ministry, and finance), and by helping those in need. “Inspired by the example and family prayer of their parents, children, and in fact everyone living under the family roof, will more easily set out upon the path of a truly human training, of salvation and of holiness” (Vatican II).

 

Prayer

  • Pray together as a family, especially at mealtime and bedtime, and encourage individual prayer. 
  • Read and talk about the Sunday Gospel.
  • Celebrate sacraments and observe holy days and church seasons.
  • Pray memorized prayers and pray spontaneously.


 

Christian Conduct and Community Building


Each student should:

  • be in the classroom on time
  • bring all needed materials to class. 
  • refrain from eating, drinking, and gum chewing in classrooms unless organized by the catechist.
  • abstain from using gym between class sessions.
  • be respectful and cooperative.
  • abstain from going into restrooms, unless it is truly necessary.


One important purpose of the program is to build Christian community among its students and catechists. Children and youth are expected to conduct themselves in a Christian manner. Non-constructive behavior will be addressed immediately to preserve a Christian atmosphere in the classroom. Such behavior will be addressed in the following manner

  1. Catechist will warn child and take appropriate measures to correct the behavior;
  2.  If the child’s misbehavior continues, he or she will meet with the Director and the catechist. Parents may be contacted as necessary.
  3. The Director will meet with parents and students as necessary and appropriate. He will work with catechists, parents and students to make behavioral plans for students and to maintain a Christian atmosphere in classes. The Director reserves the right to dismiss students from the program for part or all of the school year if necessary.