With 60 new parishes this year!
Click on the map link on the sidebar to find yours.
It’s the beginning of the year, and in the interest of introducing all our old friends (and familiar elements), I’d like you to meet the W.O.G. He’s our Family Formation mascot and it’s his job to encourage kids to read the Word Of God. (Get it?) You’ll see him greeting families at all our monthly meeting times and in a variety of other places. His image has been on stickers, tattoos, and buttons in the past and you’ll see him printed in your home lessons in places where we want to remind you to open your Bibles.
Maybe most important is his work with the W.O.G. Logs. Each month, we encourage kids to keep track of days they’ve remembered to read God’s Word. At the Church of Saint Paul program, kids can bring their completed W.O.G. Log page back to the next Family Formation meeting to be entered in a drawing for some kind of prize. (In October, 4 lucky kids won Dairy Queen gift cards!)
Of course, we hope kids will do a little Bible reading each day, but even if they only read one day in a particular month, we encourage them to bring the W.O.G. Log back to church for the next Family Formation classroom time. God is glad for this beginning step and can use it to work in their lives!
There is a little change in procedure this year: instead of dropping off your W.O.G. Log at class with your catechist, we want you to put it in the appropriate box by the holy water font when you walk it. We’ll still do prizes the same way – it’s just the drop off place that has changed a bit.
So next time you come for class, be sure to say hi to the W.O.G! He loves handshakes, hugs, and high-fives and is even glad to give just a little wave to shy kids who are peeking at him from behind a parent. Most of all, he loves kids who spend time reading God’s Word!
Family Formation seems to be in a bit of a growth spurt lately with lots of new parishes either committed to joining the fun or expressing serious interest in starting this fall. While you are welcome to come on board at any time, there are definitely optimal times to do so, and these are tied to our printing and shipping schedules.
This is just a gentle reminder that your registration will trigger a chain of events which all need to happen before your materials arrive in your mailbox, so the earlier you register, the better.
We offer three options (besides moving to Ham Lake and just joining our program J ), and each has it’s own deadlines:
For Individual Families: July 25 is the deadline to register to receive the entire year’s worth of lessons beginning with the September Home Lesson. Please register here.
For Parishes planning to register for the Template-Only option for 2014-15, there is no registration deadline, however, it is to your advantage to register early to allow ample time to prepare the lesson materials. You may register any time here (choose Option 2). Links to the September lesson materials will be distributed mid-July. Knowing the number of families participating is not required to register. That information will be collected from you in December.
For Parishes planning to register for the Ready-to-Use option: July 25 is the deadline to register to receive the entire year’s worth of lessons beginning with the September Home Lesson. You need to register only once each year. Please do so here (choose Option 1).
As always, start at our website with your basic questions, but then feel free to call or email any time you need help.
We’re always glad to hear ideas from Family Formation DREs and families! This one comes from a veteran DRE who has found an easy way to help her program’s parents build community and get more out of the monthly talks.
I believe Family Formation is firmly rooted in the minds and hearts of our families. We continue to make small changes with the hopes of improving the program each year. One of the bigger changes in the past couple of years is to break off into small group after the adult sharing with questions about what they just heard from the presenter. This has been a challenge for many because sharing about faith matters is difficult. The more we do it the better it becomes. We feel it is creating an environment for our parents to get to know each other a bit more outside of the Sunday liturgy with the hopes of building community within the church and most importantly to help people talk about their faith so it becomes easier for them. Hearing what others do in their homes to grow in their faith also gives them encouragement and sometimes the push they need to do the same. Changes takes time…..just plain hard for most!
This one has all sorts of fun possibilities!
Our evaluations last spring had the request that we do activities where the people get to know other people at the sessions. Another request was that we cover a little bit on the Mass each month since the Mass is central to our faith.
I took those two requests and combined them into one activity. Each month we now begin with “A Minute to Win It“. Everyone gets a partner (not a family member and someone they have not partnered with on previous months). They learn each other’s name.
Then we do some activity for one minute — first one partner and then the other. The activity is then connected to a part of the Mass and that part of the Mass is explained. The Minute to Win It activity is then repeated.
A couple of the Minute to Win It activities we have done:
- How many drops of water can you get on a penny without the water running off (the priest pouring a small amount of water into the wine)
- Sucking up on a straw, how many bean could they move from a plate to a sheet of paper with the outline of a “3″. (What does the priest do with his mouth 3 times at Mass? kiss the altar (twice) and kiss the Book of the Gospels)
Minute to Win It has become a fun way to meet other people and to learn about the Mass.
NOTE: If you’d like a little more Minute to Win It inspiration, just google “Minute to Win It games” for lots of great ideas.
Some creative ideas from one of Family Formation’s distance parishes.
I decided to do a couple of new things this year and they are working really well.
Our families were not doing the memory verses. I’m not for sure why. I believe it is important for us to memorize parts of our faith so I came up with another option for the families. Each month they can do the memory verse OR learn a new prayer. Learning a new prayer has been a hit!
I printed each prayer on 1/4 sheet of colored cardstock (the bright colors) (English on one side and Spanish on the other). Each prayer card has two holes punched in it so it can become part of a prayer ring.
At our first session for the year, each child picked up the cards that had the prayers they already knew on them AND one prayer to learn. These prayer cards were put together with covers using one inch metal book rings. Each month that the child learns his/her prayer, he/she can pick a new prayer to learn.
The kids like being able to pick a new prayer to learn. One boy has an extra prayer ring that they keep in the vehicle they drive to meet the bus. Each morning they pray on the way to the bus stop and he works on learning his prayer.
A Hispanic mother was very excited last month because she and her son had both learned the “Our Father” in English. She told me that she goes to the English Mass but always prays the “Our Father” in Spanish. She was obviously excited that she could now pray it in English.
Thanks, Anne, for sharing these great ideas!
We love hearing your creative ideas for making Family Formation work better! Feel free to email them to us or just comment on the blog.
Lisa, a DRE in New York, shared two great ideas that she used to engage the parents at their October meeting:
They loved the bingo game! After the power point presentation , I handed out the bingo cards and we answered the questions together. I asked the parents to take a shot at answering the questions out loud… assuring them that there are no wrong answers and that we are learning together. They were really getting into it! A few parents wanted bingo sheets that they could take home with them for their homeschooling time. We gave holy card prizes to those who said bingo.
Also , we asked for 3 volunteers to come up and recite the 7 sacraments ( memory verse) not letting them know at the time that there was a prize involved. The 3 volunteers answered and won $5 gift cards to Tim Hortons. Each time we gather we will ask for 3 volunteers to recite memory verse to encourage them to learn along with their children.
And remember, parents, catechists, and DRE’s – we LOVE to hear ideas that worked well with your students! If you have something you would like to share, no matter how simple, we know others are encouraged by hearing it as well. Simply email someone in the Family Formation office with the details, and let us know if we have permission to blog it!