I know right now religious education may seem like the last thing you need to worry about when you’re trying to figure out what the school year will look like for your family; however, I think that now more than ever it is essential to instruct our children in the faith. In these times of great uncertainty wouldn’t it be a gift to teach our children to hold fast the the God who not only loves them but willed them into existence? Wouldn’t it be a comfort to you and to them to be able to rest in the knowledge that God is watching over them even in a time like this?
Our children are yearning for that trust in God. Our children are yearning for a space where they can feel safe. The Church needs to be there for her children, and so we at the Church of Saint Mary are going to be just that, whatever that looks like for your family.
This year in religious education we will be launching a new program. This program is already designed to be taught mostly at home, so it will be a great resource during the pandemic. We will be offering two options with this program. The first will be how the program is designed: every other week the children will meet at the parish and the other weeks will be taught at home. In this model, the parents will meet during the first class of the month to receive instruction on how to teach the at home lessons for the month. We don’t want parents to feel alone in this; I will be available any time during the month for questions and assistance with teaching the at home lessons. The second option is completely at home instruction. We want your family to feel safe, so if you feel that it is best to do all lessons at home yourself, then we will send you lesson plans electronically. I will either send you written or video instructions that will mimic the monthly parent meeting so that you will have the same assistance from the parish in instructing your children, just contact free.
For children who will be meeting in person, we will be following the social distancing guidelines of the state, the bishop, and the school of saint Mary. We will be meeting in classrooms with tables instead of desks, so that we won’t come into contact with any of the school students’ books and supplies to keep both groups safe. We will have any adult helping in the program wear a mask. Children will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask, but regardless will be socially distanced. If the bishop and the school ever require masks to be worn, then we will follow suit. We will sanitize the classrooms after every use just as the school will do Friday afternoon before we enter.
For youth ministry, we will be meeting in person. We know that this pandemic has been especially isolating for students in middle and high school, so if we can safely provide a space for students to come and feel safe and seen, then we feel it is our duty to do so. The Church must be here for her children, especially those who suffer the most in isolation. We have several large rooms booked so that no matter how many students show up, we will be able to socially distance without turning anyone away. Mask and cleaning policies will be the same as they are for RE. If your child wants to participate, but you do not wish to send him or her in person, we can send you resources from Life Teen, either recordings or transcripts of the talks, and we can arrange for a small group leader to contact your student virtually.
Registration is open and will be the same whether you participate virtually or in person. Please visit the website and leave an email address when you sign up. Now more than ever, virtual communication will be key to our programs’ success. Please contact me with any questions and know that we at the Church of Saint Mary are praying for you and your families.
Director of Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministry
Church of Saint Mary
918-749-2561 ext. 123