Parish School of Religion – Family Catechism Program
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” – Mt 19:14
Our Family Catechesis program is designed with the understanding that parents are rightfully the primary educators of their children. At the end of the day, parents are ultimately responsible for the catechesis of their children. That said, we can help! The goal of our program is to assist and supplement parents in teaching their children to know, love and serve God and the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church. We do this by engaging the family in the reading of Scripture and the Catechism, in prayer and in the community life of the Church. The motivation behind this program is the salvation of all souls, and we believe this is best accomplished by helping families actively catechize their children and authentically live the Catholic faith.
We currently plan to offer the following classes for children aged 3 and up.
- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for 3-6 year olds.
- Class on Penance: Required for families seeking 1st Confession/Reconciliation for their children.
- Class on the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Required for families seeking 1st Holy Communion for their children.
- Ongoing Catechesis through a study of the Baltimore Catechism: Open to all families.
- Class on Confirmation: Required for families seeking Confirmation for their children. The Ongoing Catechesis class (#4) is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for this class if the child is not yet sufficiently prepared to start this class.
Class availability is subject to enrollment volumes and catechist availability. If we do not have a critical mass of enrolled families in a given class or a dedicated catechist by September, we will drop the class. For Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, we require at least 5 enrolled families before offering the class.
Class Curriculum and Structure
Our curriculum fosters the truth, goodness and beauty of the Catholic faith. Children are educated in the four sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed (what we believe), Sacraments (how we worship), Morality (how we live), and Prayer. Our classes include Scripture reading, discussion and hands-on activities (such as writing and artwork).
With the exception of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, all classes generally adhere to the following weekly class structure:
- Pre-class work: Families are required to complete weekly assigned readings from the Baltimore Catechism and the Holy Bible prior to class.
- Class session: The catechist provides a lesson on the assigned readings and facilitates group discussion and activities. Each class begins and ends with a prayer, such as a decade of the Rosary.
- Post-class work: Any homework assigned by the catechist.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach that engages children in the essential elements of the faith through materials they can work with and experience with their five senses. Unlike our other classes, the CGS class is designed for the children only; parents and other siblings do not normally participate in our lessons. We offer Level I CGS for children aged 3-6 years old. More information about CGS can be found here: https://www.cgsusa.org/discover/cgs-approach/.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd requires a fair bit of mental focus and listening ability from children. Younger children who are not yet of age to mentally engage with the materials should defer enrollment. Older children who already have achieved a high level of reading comprehension for their age should consider enrolling in the Class on Penance. If you have any questions about your child’s eligibility, please contact Clarisse Siu at email@example.com.
We are using The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 1 for younger children preparing for First Confession and First Holy Communion and The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2 for older children preparing for Confirmation and for the ongoing catechesis class. If we have a class with older teenagers or children with advanced reading comprehension, we will use the Catechism of St. Pope Pius X. For the Bible, we are using the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSV-2CE). Texts are included as part of the registration fee.
Class Calendar and Locations
Class meets on a weekly basis for ~60-75 minutes. Our academic year starts after Labor Day in September and runs through the first week of May. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd meets on Sundays after the 9:30am Mass from 10:30-11:30am. The exact days and times for all other classes will be determined once we have a better sense of our class and catechist roster.
Class locations are as follows:
- CGS classes take place in our Atrium located in the Star of the Sea Preschool.
- All other classes will meet either in person at Star of the Sea or via video conference.
- Note: The exact locations will be determined once we have a better sense of our class and catechist roster. We will use video conference software such as Zoom to best accommodate families and catechists who aren’t local to San Francisco or whose schedules make it difficult to meet in person at the required time.
Our knowledge and practice of the faith is deepened in community life outside of the classroom. Approximately 2-3 times per year, we will organize family socials, service events and activities around the liturgical calendar (for example, Advent wreath making in November).
Expectations inside the classroom
We expect at least one parent (ideally both) to participate in class with their enrolled children. We expect class participants to do the required readings before every class, to actively participate during class and to complete the assigned homework after class.
We expect participants to be on time for class. Children with more than 3 unexcused absences will not be eligible to receive their sacraments. Catechists have the right to remove participants from the class roster if they are disruptive or are frequently absent from class.
Expectations outside the classroom
We expect families enrolled in our program to actively live and model the Catholic faith. We ask families to enter a covenant commitment with our parish where parents agree to the following:
- To attend Mass, at Star of the Sea if possible, every Sunday and on all Holy Days of Obligation with their children.
- To bring their children to confession and to also confess their sins at least once a month or more frequently in the event of mortal sin.
- To pray daily with their children and to pray the Rosary together as a family at least once a week.
- To support our parish with sacrificial gifts of time, talent and treasure.
Fr. Illo or the program coordinator Clarisse Siu will meet with all registering families prior to formal enrollment to discuss expectations as outlined in the covenant commitment. We ask all families to sign the covenant commitment as a prerequisite to enrolling in our program.
Eligibility to receive the Sacraments
In addition to having fewer than 3 unexcused absences, children in the sacramental preparation classes will be required to pass an exit interview at the end of the school year in order to be eligible to receive the Sacrament. This includes First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Fr. Illo will conduct the exit interviews with the children and their parents.
All families are invited to register their children, even if you do not currently attend our parish. Please submit your registration online at www.starparish.com/psr-registration/ or contact Clarisse Siu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuition is $100 for your first child, an additional $50 for your second child and an additional $25 for each subsequent child. Please pay in cash or write checks to “Star of the Sea Church” with “PSR” in the memo line. Your tuition will pay for the required texts. No child will be turned away because of financial need. We are pleased to offer scholarships and financial aid. Please contact Clarisse Siu at email@example.com for details; she will be happy to assist you.
“Si necesita información en español acerca de nuestro programa de catecismo para niños (preparación para los sacramentos de comunión y confirmación) por favor llame a nuestra oficina teléfono (415) 751-0450 y pregunte por Mariella Zevallos.” Gracias!