June 10, 2018
Last week Bob Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Faith Formation, and Father Peter meet with Mary Beth Coates, a staff member of our Diocesan Office of Life Long Faith Formation. Mary Beth offered her assistance, her expertise and her experience to help us strengthen the Religious Education Program for the youth of our parish. While praising all we are doing, Mary Beth encouraged us to involve even more fully parents in the religious formation of their children, to encouraged the families of our Religious Formation Program to become more involved in the life of St. Al’s, and to identify and reach out to those families not participating in any Faith Formation Program at all. Above all she said we must look for new and better ways to connect our Religious Education Program with attendance at the Sunday Liturgy. Quite a challenging agenda! Bob, our Catechists and Father Peter will meet during the summer months to see what we can do to meet Mary Beth’s expectations and hopes. If any parishioners/parents want to be a part of this discussion, just call Bob Rybarczyk or Father Peter. It is very clear that parents are “the first teachers of their children in the ways of Faith.” We need to challenge parents to re-assume this responsibility and to assure parents of our willingness as a parish and as Catechists to help them form their children in the Teachings of Christ and His Church. The key words are “parents”, “family”, “connection with parish”, “living the faith thru service”, “Sunday Mass”. We “owe” this to our children and to all our families to journey together to an even better and stronger Religious Education/Formation experience here at St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
January 14, 2018
Our Religious Formation Program has resumed following the Christmas/weather break. Bob Rybarczyk, our Parish Director of Faith Formation, says the time between now and May will be filled with many and varied activities. Our second graders will be prepared for their First Reconciliation and our third graders will be prepared for their First Holy Communion. Our high school students continue their preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our efforts to involve our parents more fully in the formation in faith of their children are moderately successful. Pope Saint John Paul II always reminded parents that they are the “first teachers” of their children in our Catholic Faith. Those parents who attend the discussions led by Bob Rybarczyk are growing right along with their children. It is such a joy to have these parents as partners/leaders in our common effort to help our children/youth grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. One area of concern continues to surface each year. Our young people are involved in so many after school programs that attendance at our Religious Education Program is not the priority it should be. This even overflows to attendance at Sunday Mass. This also is not the priority it should be in the life of a Catholic Family. There is no easy answer to these challenges but parents, students and parish must continue to work and pray together to make Faith Formation and Sunday Mass a priority in the life of every family of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish. And again we wish to invite any adults who wish to be prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or who are interested in joining the Catholic Church to become a part of our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Just speak with Bob or Father Peter or call the rectory for more information.
November 19, 2017
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM: Bob Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Religious Education, is pleased to share with the entire parish some of the highlights of our Religious Education Program in recent weeks:
-Kindergarten and First Grade students dressed up as their Patron Saints in honor of the Feast of All Saints. They then marched through the school building singing “When the saints come marching in.”
– Our Tenth Graders have begun their preparation for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation which will be celebrated in the spring.
– All students Third Grade thru Tenth Grade will have the opportunity to go to Confession between now and Christmas as a part of their spiritual preparation for the Birth of Christ.
– A significant number of parents are participating in the monthly Faith Formation Sessions for Parents. Bishop Malone has asked all parishes to involve parents more fully in the religious education and formation of their children. This is one way we here at St. Al’s are implementing the Bishop’s vision.
– Our Children’s Liturgy of the Word experience is growing. On some Sundays there are 15 to 20 students participating. Spread the word – invite others to join this excellent program.
If there are some young people who have not enrolled in any Religious Education Program, and you know they would grow in their Faith here at St. Al’s, new students are always welcome. Just call the rectory or stop by the Rel. Ed. Office in our school on a Tuesday evening before classes start at 6:15PM.
September 10, 2017
RELIGIOUS FORMATION PROGRAM: Our Religious Education Program, for Grades Kindergarten thru 11th, begins on Tuesday, September 19th. Parents and students will gather in Church at 6:15PM for an Opening Prayer Service. Students will then proceed with their Catechists to school, while parents will remain in church with Bob Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Faith Formation, and Father Peter. Parents will then rejoin their children in school to meet our Catechists.
Registration of new students in our Religious Formation Program is now taking place. Registration forms can be found at the main entrance to our Church or at the rectory. Our Catechists are most willing to work with students who may need assistance because they have missed their First Penance, First Eucharist or Confirmation.
This year, at the specific request of Bishop Richard Malone, effort will be made to involve parents much more fully in the faith formation of their children. Some of our initiatives to engage parents in the religious education and formation of their children will be explained following the Prayer Service next Tuesday.
Publicly we wish to thank our parishioners who have embraced the Ministry of Catechist. It is one of the most important ministries in any parish – for it is the handing on of our Catholic Faith to the next generation. Our Catechists are:
– Kathy O’Brien: Kindergarten and First Grade
– Jean Bloom and Kathleen Mychajliw: Second and Third
– Nancy and Hal Lane: First Penance and First Eucharist
– Patty Di Natale: Grades 4th-5th-6th – Lisa MacKay: 7th and 8th Grades
– John Fahey: 9th, 10th and 11th Grades
Robert Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Faith Formation, will once again coordinate the Program.
The theme of our Religious Education Program this year is “…some fell on good ground” taken from the Gospel Parable of the Sower and the Seed. Our goal is to make the minds and hearts of our parents and students “good ground” – fertile soil – where the Word of God and the Teachings of our Catholic Church can take root and grow, giving birth to active and full participation of all our families at Sunday Mass, in the service of the poor and needy, and in homes and families where the Gospel is lived and family prayer is embraced.
If you need further information or have any questions, call Bob Rybarczyk (688-1380), contact the rectory or speak with Father Peter. And let us all pray that the minds and hearts of all parishioners and all who pray with us will be “good soil” – fertile ground – where the Word of God takes root and grows thirty, sixty, a hundred fold into lives where Faith is practiced and Service of family and friends, the poor and needy is embraced.
September 3, 2017
CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD: Our Children’s Liturgy of the Word will resume at the 9AM Sunday Mass on September 17th. Following the Opening Prayer of Mass, our children will be called forth and taken over to the Rectory where they will hear a simplified/shorter version of the Sunday Scripture Readings. Then they will discuss what the Word of God means and how to put the Word of God into practice in their young lives. The children will then rejoin the rest of the Congregation for the remainder of the Mass. Our Catechists for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word are Nancy Lane and Sandy Sivick. About once a month – usually the first Sunday of each month – Father Peter gathers the children around the altar at homily time, leading the discussion on how our children can walk in the footsteps of Jesus in the new week. It is wonderful to see the Word of God come alive in the minds and hearts of the youngest members of our Parish Family. Let your family and neighbors know about the start of our Children’s Liturgy of the Word and that all children are invited to participate. This ministry fulfills the words of Jesus: “Let the children come to Me…”
August 20, 2017
Bob Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Faith Formation, our Catechists and Father Peter have begun meeting to plan our Religious Formation Program for our young people attending public schools, Grades Kindergarten thru 11th. Our Program will begin on Tuesday, September 19th, with a Prayer Service in the Church at 6:15PM. Classes will once again take place on Tuesday evenings, 6:15 to 7:15PM. Bishop Richard Malone has asked that all parishes embrace a broader “view” of Religious Education by involving parents and the entire family in the Faith-Formation Experience. Parents are the “first teachers” of their children in the ways of Faith. Parents need to assume greater responsibility for the faith-formation of their children. At the same time, parents need to be formed in the Catholic Faith. Many – if not most – parents are basically unprepared to hand on the Faith to their children because they themselves are very unclear about what the Church teaches and why, because parents themselves are not going to Mass and receiving the Sacraments. Our Most Rev. Bishop feels that the way we are going about Religious Education for our youth is just not working. Children make their First Communion but do not participate in Mass. Our teenagers are confirmed but we never see them again. We have to change our approach. What this means is that parents need to be formed in the Faith as well as their children. How we will work to achieve this goal here at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish is still being discussion. Any positive suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Just call the rectory or speak with Bob Rybarczyk or Father Peter. We all need to pray and work together to strengthen the Faith of our parents as well as our youth. Registration of NEW students for our Rel. Ed. Program is now taking place. To the best of our ability we will work with parents whose children have special needs – older children not yet baptized, youth who have not made First Penance or Eucharist, preparation for Confirmation. Please just let us know how we can assist parents as the first teachers of Faith for their children and, more than ever, we will let parents know of how they can help our Catechists educate and form our young people.
March 19, 2017
Two or three weeks ago, Bob Rybarczyk, Director of Religious Education, two of our Catechists – Nancy Lane and John Fahey, and Father Peter met with a representative from the Diocesan Office of Life-long Faith Formation, to discuss ways of strengthening the formation of our youth in our Catholic Faith and ways of improving our Religious Education Program here at St. Al’s. Bishop Malone wishes to change the focus of our Religious Formation Programs from being “child-centered” into becoming “family-centered”. In other words, if we are going to be more successful in handing on the Faith to the next generation, parents must become more involved in the religious education and formation of their children. Our Diocesan Leadership feels that what we are doing isn’t working and parish religious education programs have to take a new direction. How parents will become more involved will vary from parish to parish, but the more active participation of parents is a clear expectation. Parents and parishioners will be hearing much more about parental involvement.
As we enter Spring, our Religious Education Program is bursting with preparation for new life! Our children are being prepared for First Penance which will be celebrated on Saturday, May 6th. The Celebration of First Holy Communion will take place at the 11AM Liturgy on Sunday, May 7th. Our candidates for Confirmation – high school students and adults – will be confirmed on Saturday, May 20th, at the 5PM Liturgy. Bishop Edward Grosz will be Celebrant.
All of our students will have the opportunity to go to Confession during Lent – if schedules permit – to help prepare them spiritually for the Easter Celebration. Our children are being asked to make a Lenten Sacrifice from their own resources to assist the poor through Catholic Charities. Our Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays at the 9AM Mass is growing. It is wonderful to see the number of children participating continue to grow. By the Grace of God and the dedication of our Catechists, and with the greater involvement of all parents, together we will help assure that all of us, from the cradle to the grave, grow in wisdom, age and grace. Be bold! Be Catholic! Live truth! Live Catholic!
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM – WALKING WITH JESUS: The theme of our Religious Education Program this year is “walking with Jesus”. During the Opening Prayer Service, Parish Leadership, Parents and Catechists committed themselves to help the young people of our parish walk with Jesus by the example of their lives and their desire to see all our children and youth grow in their knowledge of our Catholic Faith and their relationship with Jesus Christ, However, it needs to be pointed out, that the entire parish shares in the responsibility and privilege of helping the young members of St. Al’s walk with Jesus. Bob Rybarczyk, Parish Director of Religious Education, reminds parents/guardians that new and returning students are still most welcomed to be part of the Tuesday evening Religious Education Program. In a special way, Bob wants parents to know of the willingness of our Catechists to work with parents to meet the special spiritual needs of our young people, for example, preparing an older student for First Penance or First Eucharist. This year we welcomed four or five new families into our Religious Education Program. For more information on our Religious Education Program or to register a new/returning young person, give the rectory a call or stop by the Religious Education Office (first floor of school building) around 6PM Tuesday evenings before classes begin. What a great responsibility and an awesome privilege we all share to help our young people – the future of the Church – walk with Jesus!
Our Catechists are as follows:
- Kathy O’Brien – Kindergarten and First Grade
- Hal and Nancy Lane – Second and Third Grades with Sacramental Preparation
- Patty DiNatale – Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grades
- Lisa MacKay – Seventh and Eighth Grades
- John Fahey – Ninth and Tenth Grades with Confirmation Preparation.
Parents, of course, are always the first teachers of their children in the ways of Faith. But our Catechists minister closely with parents to help our young people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, especially by fostering a love and understanding of Mass and of the Sacrament of Penance. Registration for NEW students, Grades Kindergarten thru 11th, is now taking place. Registration Forms are available at the main entrance to the Church and in the rectory. Our Catechists are most willing to work with our youth who have special needs – like older students who need help preparing them for First Penance or First Eucharist. For more information on our Religious Education Program, you may contact Bob Rybarczyk (688-1380) or speak with Father Peter.
Following is the schedule for our program this year:
The link to our 9th and 10th grade class Facebook Page is:
Please “like” this Page so you can find it easily each week. It will contain an outline of the upcoming class as well as announcements of any class business or communications.
RCIA AND ADULT CONFIRMATION:
Our Adult Faith Enrichment team is already making plans for this year’s Rite of Christian Initiation Program. Several adults have contacted the rectory to say they would like to begin the journey to become members of the Catholic Church. The RCIA is meant for adults (college age and older) who have never been baptized or who were baptized in another Christian Denomination and now wish to join the Catholic Community. It is also meant for adults who were baptized as Catholics and for whatever the reason may never have made their First Penance, First Eucharist and/or Confirmation. If you know anyone who may be interested in joining the Catholic Church, please let them know about our RCIA Program here at St. Al’s and assure them they would be most welcomed. Information on our RCIA, call Bob Rybarczyk (688-1380), or the Rectory.