It struck me last night at our first classroom meeting of the year as we were going through a long to-do list of basics and extras and opportunities and stuff to pick up and stuff you could buy and stuff you needed to make sure your kids were bringing home and stuff to memorize and stuff to bring back next month and ways to sign up to help our program that it was probably ridiculously confusing for first-timers.
If that’s you, I’m guessing you weren’t alone. Every year we need to find the balance between giving enough information to new people, covering all the information we need to convey, and staying within our time limits, and we probably fail way more often than we realize. If you happen to be one of those whose head was spinning a little when you left, read on. This primer of the Church of Saint Paul’s October classroom meeting is for you!
First of all, this time and every time, the most important part of Family Formation is attending the monthly classroom session and doing the Home Lessons (preferably on the weeks indicated).
If you don’t do anything else, do these lessons. They are the core and the most valuable part of Family Formation!
Other stuff we talked about:
Memory verse (optional): Each month we encourage students to learn a memory verse to be recited for the classroom catechist the following month. You can find this verse on the front cover sidebar of each Home Lesson and on a separate sheet that was in your packet. There are almost always separate verses for younger and older students. Those who can successfully recite will receive a small prize – typically a Holy Trader Card.
W.O.G. logs (optional): W.O.G. Logs are a way to encourage kids to read the Word of God on a regular basis. Simply check the box for each day you read the Bible and bring that month’s log to the next meeting and put it into the correct box in the entry. Each month all the WOG Logs that are turned in are placed into a drawing and two students will win Dairy Queen gift cards. Numbers are tallied throughout the year, and in May the students with the highest number of days reading Scripture will be honored with a special prize. You can see the total number of days our Family Formation students have logged throughout the year on Family Formation’s bulletin board in the hallway near our office.
C.A.T. Stats for families (optional): The C.A.T. stands for Catholic Authority and Tradition and works along with the W.O.G. to teach us more about the Catholic Faith through the treasures of Sacred Tradition. This year we are encouraging families to learn together and we handed out a resource sheet with suggestions. Parents, turn in your family’s CAT Stat card each month to be entered into a drawing for a family prize!
All Saints’ Day Party (optional, but super fun!): Annual event for families celebrating the Feast of All Saints. The evening begins with Mass and then dinner, games and lots of fun. Kids (and adults) should come in costume, dressed as a Bible character, animal, or Saint. (No cartoon characters or scary costumes, please.) There will also be a separate teen room with games and snacks for kids in 7th grade and older. Please pre-register after Masses beginning this weekend.
Saints’ YES! (optional): This is a social group for 4-6th graders. They meet monthly for a wide variety of fun events. Register at the beginning of the year to participate. Their first meeting is Friday, October 24 and if you have a 4-6th grader, you’ll get a postcard advertising their event.
Handmaidens (optional): Handmaidens of the Lord is a group for girls, grades 4 through 6, with the aim of encouraging and teaching the young ladies to grow in holiness and providing opportunities to develop friendships. A typical meeting features study in virtue, a feminine art, tea time, and topic handouts for further study at home. Registrations are being taken now and the first meeting is on Thursday, October 23.
Soldiers of Christ (optional): This group, for 4-6th grade boys and their fathers, features lessons on virtue, scout skills, active games, and social time with other boys from the parish. Registrations are being taken now and the first meeting is on October 23.
Mass Challenge (optional): Each year Family Formation sponsors an additional challenge and this year we’ve given you resources to memorize the responses for the Mass. Students will recite the responses to their parents and turn in the certificate when they are memorized to the parent’s satisfaction. The prize is a special t-shirt. Family Formation and Little Lamb/Sunday Celebration students can earn their shirt for free and parents who have also complete the challenge can get a shirt for a small fee to cover the costs. NOTE: We do this challenge every 3 years, so if you aren’t ready to do it before May, it’ll be around again in 2017.
So to recap – this is an active and creative parish with lots of opportunities to grow in your faith, socialize, and serve others. Focus on the essentials for now and eventually add other stuff that will fit in with your family life. All of these things (and lots more that you’ll hear about throughout the year) are available each year and on an ongoing basis. We’ll see you when you’re ready!
Also, please, please, please, if you have a questions, ASK! That’s what we’re here for!