FAITH FORMATION

Faith Formation

The Faith Formation Office 

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. - Matthew 28:19-20  

The Faith Formation programs at St. Mary of the Lake Church foster a personal relationship with God. These programs foster a true growth in faith for all parishioners through an understanding and experience of the Catholic faith and moral life, and living out of the sacramental and apostolic life of the church and inviting all to deepen their experience of prayer and worship in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Our Goals 

• To offer opportunities to have parishioners get to know one another and to make the church a center of family life through family and topic-centered activities.

• To enable everyone to nourish his/her own personal relationship with God through prayer, study, sacred scripture, and frequent participation in the sacraments of Eucharist and reconciliation.

• To offer opportunities for all parishioners to recognize that the Eucharistic and its liturgy is the center, source, summit of who we are as Catholic Christians.
• To encourage parishioners of all ages, to grow toward full and active participation in the life and mission of the Church. The Faith Formation is a lifelong process.

• To offer opportunities of formation to instruct and renew all parishioners in the fundamental values and doctrines of our faith.

• To help each person develop through prayer, study, and participation in the liturgical and active life of the Church, a response to their baptismal call to make the kingdom of God present here and now in the world.

• All children and youth of St. Mary of the Lake Church can be involved in Faith Formation. We support the parents, godparents, and/or grandparents who see that our young parishioners are formed in the faith and assist them in their faith journey. We are here to stand beside you and offer to you and your family our help as you continue in your faith.
The Faith Formation program runs from September through April. 
Volunteer catechists teach classes on our parish campus.

Service Requirements: In order to foster the desire to live in imitation of our Savior, who came to serve, not to be served, there are program-wide service requirements. All students must complete their grade level service requirements on an annual basis. Additional information about the service program may be found on the church website.

Sacramental Preparation: In accordance with the Diocese of Buffalo guidelines, the sacrament of reconciliation is conferred in grade 2 and the Eucharist is conferred in grade 3. Students may enter the confirmation preparation program in grade 9 and the sacrament of confirmation is conferred once the candidate completes the requirements of the confirmation program. Each sacramental candidate must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of our faith before beginning these programs.

Grade 2 Sacramental Requirements: In order to be eligible to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, all candidates must:
• Complete a grade 1 religious education curriculum prior to entrance into the sacramental program, either through a parish program or a Catholic school.
• Attend all scheduled sacramental preparation classes.
• Complete a grade 2 religious education curriculum, either through a parish program or a Catholic school.

Grade 3 Sacramental Requirements: In order to be eligible to receive the sacrament of communion, all candidates must:
• Complete a grades 1-2 religious education curriculum prior to entrance into the sacramental program, either through a parish program or a Catholic school.
• Attend all scheduled sacramental preparation classes, and retreats.
• Complete a grade 3 religious education curriculum, either through a parish program or a Catholic school.
• Complete the annual service requirements.

Confirmation Requirements: In order to be eligible to receive the sacrament of confirmation, all candidates must:
• Attend all classes.
• Attend the confirmation retreat.
• Complete the annual service requirements.
• Submit all required documents by the specified dates.

Catholic School Students: Children who attend a Catholic school are encouraged to participate in the parish’s sacramental preparation programs. All children wishing to receive the sacraments of reconciliation, the Eucharist (first communion) and confirmation should register in the fall.

Although parochial school students do not receive a majority of their direct religious education through the parish, they are an integral part of the overall parish family. In order to foster a sense of Christian community, which is so important to our faith, parochial school students are expected to attend all appropriate grade level events.

Absences/Requirements For Promotion: Education in our faith is a cumulative process, which requires attendance at all classes. Children must contact their teacher and complete work for any missed classes. Children with more than 2 absences during the course of the year must demonstrate their knowledge of the course material by completing a written exam and being assessed for readiness to progress to the next grade level by the Religious Education office. Children enrolled in sacramental programs must attend all classes.

The sacraments of reconciliation, the Eucharist, and confirmation will only be conferred once all requirements have been completed. 

Late Enrollments: Individual programs of study will be necessary for any child who (1) initially began a course of religious education, but has not attended for several years (2) did not receive one or more sacraments or (3) who has never been catechized.

Grade Level Retreats: Children in all grades are required to attend an annual grade level retreat. These retreats allow the children to explore certain areas of our faith in greater detail. All parents will receive a retreat schedule at the beginning of each school year.

Program Events: In addition to grade level retreats, there are program-wide events that families are expected to attend. All families will receive a calendar of program events at the beginning of each school year.

Behavior: Children are expected to behave appropriately when in class or at grade level events. In the event that your child’s behavior becomes a problem, a conference with the parents will be initiated by the appropriate grade level coordinator. 

Children With Special Needs: In order to best serve the needs of every child, parents are asked to notify the Religious Education office of any physical, educational, or behavioral needs that need to be accommodated. If a child requires a one-to-one aide at school, the parents may have to provide one for him/her to receive religious education in a class setting. One-to-one aides must be approved by the Faith Formation Office.

Mass Attendance: The ultimate goal of the program is help all students grow to be holy men and women who live their lives in accordance with the teachings of Christ and his church. Faithful mass attendance and reception of the Eucharist is a fundamental and essential component of Catholic life. As such, all families are expected to be committed to attending mass on a regular basis.

Registration Procedures: All families must complete a registration form, forms will be mailed in late July. They are available at www.smolparish.org or by calling the Parish Faith Formation office at (716) 627-7700. A baptismal certificate is required for all new students.
The education of our children in our faith is an essential mission of our parish. No child will be denied access to the parish’s program due to financial concerns. Contact the coordinator or pastor to arrange for a financial plan that meets your family’s needs.

Parish Faith Formation Forms: All forms that are required for Faith Formation can be found on this page. Adobe Reader is required to view. If you do not have one installed, go to the "Get Adobe Reader" icon and follow the instructions for download and install.

Faith Formation Director Needed
 
St. Mary of the Lake is looking for a dynamic person to lead our children as they journey within their Catholic faith. Throughout the years we have been Blessed to have talented teachers who guide our youth with passion and love.  
Are you the person that God is calling to spearhead our program? Maybe you are a retired teacher, or have been looking for a new job? There is no set criteria to be placed in the position; it is vacancy that is a vocation.  
We have exciting plans for the school year ! Our children are the Catholic Church’s future. They need our prayers, as well as our life experiences.  
Perhaps you did not know that the Director of Faith Formation (Full-time) position was open in our parish; maybe you know someone that would be a perfect fit! Please contact the Parish Offices at 627-3123 with ANY questions about this opening.
 

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