Sharing our Faith in Jesus

07-08-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope you all enjoyed a great Fourth of July. I can’t tell you about mine, since I had to write this article a week before it happened! That happens when holidays fall in such a way that affects the Bulletin Company’s schedule!
For the past few weeks I’ve used the space in this column to discuss ways in which we share our Faith in Jesus. I began two weeks ago by writing about the need for families to have their children Baptized soon after birth. Last week I spoke about Vacation Bible School and the RCIA – a parish process for welcoming converts into our Catholic Faith.

Today I want to speak about the Religious Education of our parish children. Our parish offers several options for this. First and foremost is our parish school. In their daily Religion class, students in Saints Philip and James School not only learn about their faith, but also prepare for their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Concerning Confirmation, I have the distinct pleasure of teaching our 8th graders once a week to prepare them for that Sacrament – something I enjoy a great deal.

More than studying their religion, our school students experience many aspects of our Faith. They participate in both school-wide and class Masses throughout the year and have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament monthly. Monthly Confession, weekly Stations of the Cross during Lent, and regular Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament all help the students not only learn about, but truly practice their faith.
Our parish also offers two different CCD programs for students who attend public school. Traditional CCD is offered every Tuesday from 4-5 PM at our school from late September until early May. In addition to their weekly class, these students go to Confession in Advent and Lent. I teach fifth grade in this program – and have a great time doing so.

Because not everyone can make it on Tuesdays at 4, we also offer a Monthly Family CCD Program. This program meets one Monday evening a month from 6-7:45 PM. It is called a Family Program because at least one parent or guardian must attend along with their children. While the kids are in their respective grade level classes, the adults have a "grown up" lesson with me in the cafeteria. This year we will be reading and reflecting upon the Gospel of St. Matthew – which tells the basic story of Christ.

Children in all these programs are prepared for First Communion and Confirmation. Indeed, any parish children who attend public school must attend one of our CCD programs in order to receive these Sacraments in our parish. Making sure that your children (or grandchildren) attend CCD (or Catholic School) is one of the most important ways that we can share our Faith with them.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions about Religious Education in our parish. I take an active role in all of these programs, because they are very dear to my heart. I will be happy to help you get your children involved!

Please say a Hail Mary for me today, and every day. You are always in my daily prayers.

Have a great week!

Fr. John