Religious Education Mission
Welcome! We are pleased you have chosen St. Joan of Arc to help form your family in our Catholic faith. The Church tells us that before we are able to effectively share our faith in Jesus Christ—something each of us is called to do by virtue of our Baptism—we must first encounter Him in a significant way. In doing so we must begin to enter into His rhythms and observe his movements; not unlike how an apprentice might imitate a master craftsman.
This process of encounter is accomplished through evangelization: that first proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Now what this means for our children is that they must eventually come to recognize their faith as being essentially rooted in a person, the person of Jesus Christ, and not merely a series of memorized doctrines. Although, knowing what God has revealed and what the Church teaches (i.e. through doctrine) ultimately gives form to the Master’s rhythms and aids in our growing in love of Him. So for those who have been evangelized and have encountered Christ in their lives—principally within a familial structure—the process of catechesis (the transmission of doctrine) should be experienced as a blessed opportunity to grow in love of Our Lord.
In past years, we’ve noticed that many of our children have not yet encountered Christ in a meaningful way before starting their catechetical training. In response, we have extended the religious education process by one year, with the hope that more time will mean increased opportunities for evangelization. The first year will focus on the evangelization of entire families, helping parents and children, alike, begin (or continue, as the case may be) the process of cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The goal of the subsequent two years will be to prepare your child for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist respectively: essential steps in living out our Catholic faith.
The goal, once again, is for us all to become apprentices in the Master’s workshop, learning from Him and allowing ourselves to enter more deeply into relationship with Him. However, we cannot expect to do this work alone; it must be a cooperative venture between you, your child, your parish and God. Therefore, parents, we need your help in a special way. We need your participation in all aspects of your child’s religious education; from the moment they walk through the door at orientation, until the day arrives when they are free to decide for themselves what they will believe and whom they will follow: the gentle invitation of Jesus Christ or the subtle lures of the world. This choice of theirs, in large measure, depends upon you and the choices you make right now. In other words, is your Catholic faith evident to all, especially to your children? Do your actions and words reflect the Gospels or do they frequently contradict the good news Jesus came to share? Do you do everything possible to create a home environment that allows faith to flourish and grow? If you feel that you are ill equipped for this task, then join the ranks of generations and rejoice in the knowledge that not one of us is created divine, and that we will always do an imperfect job passing on the faith to our children, and will always have need of His abundant grace to see us through. As the old axiom goes: the Holy Spirit does not call the equipped, but equips the called. You are called, parents, and the more you cooperate with the Spirit and allow your parish to lead you in this important adventure, your family will inevitably draw closer to Christ and grow in faith through your time here at St. Joan of Arc.