Greetings. I hope you all are getting through these crazy times all right. Thank you for being patient as we put a Religious Ed plan together for this year that we hope will be address all the COVID-related obstacles we’re all facing. Things will look quite a bit different this year, but I’m convinced that this plan will benefit us all. I’m genuinely excited about this year.
We had many things to consider as we put a social-distancing plan together. First, we wanted to avoid having kids bussed to RE after school. We felt that putting the kids on the same bus would undercut any distancing effort we put in place once they’re at RE. This meant that we would be unable to offer an afternoon session right after school. We also want to avoid putting kids from different schools in the same classroom, thus negating the distancing efforts of those schools. Our elementary program has kids from Parkview, Southview, Halmstad, Hillcrest, and Jim Falls. We don’t want our program to be a hotbed of cross-contamination during a time when the schools are working so hard to avoid exactly that. We also wanted a plan that stood a chance of surviving a possible school closure. Should school close and classes go online, we all know what kind of a headache that will be. We don’t want to compound things by offering online RE, if we can help it. Our goal was to come up with a plan that makes it easier on both children and their parents. We think we have a solid one.
To reduce our numbers and allow for physical distancing, the junior and senior high program will no longer be a city-wide effort. Each parish will be running its own RE program for all grade levels. St. Charles and St. Peter will remain together. Grades 1-9 will be divided into three groups: grades 1-3, grades 4-6, and grades 7-9. These groups be on a three-week rotation. Because of holidays, teacher in-service, and other events for which school is regularly canceled, this works out to about once a month for each group.
On week 1 of the rotation, children and at least one parent or guardian will meet in the church at St. Charles from 6:30-7:30 PM. Grades 4-6 will meet with at least one parent or guardian on week 2 of the rotation. Children and parents of grades 7-9 will meet on week 3. All sessions will be on Wednesday evenings. We will distance by household. Children and parents will sit together. A lesson will be presented by either myself, Monsignor Gorman, or Father Hokamp, and possibly others. There will be time during the hour for parents and children to discuss the lesson and/or do provided activities related to the presentation. During the off-weeks, parents and children will be given activities to do together at home.
The curriculum we will be using is A Family of Faith, by Sophia Press. Of course, the model suggested by the books had to be adapted to work with the COVID guidelines. Our adapted model has been approved by the Chippewa County Department of Public Health. One way we are adapting the suggested model is by having fewer meetings. The model suggests having one meeting each month with just parents and a second with parents and children. We have removed the parent meeting. I realize that some of you have children in different age groups, possibly all three. We ask that you come to each respective session with your children. Classes begin on September 30.
You can see the schedule for the year here. Online registration is available here. I realize this is quite late to be making RE information and registration available, and I thank you for your patience. This is a moving target this year and we wanted to have as much figured out and locked in as possible before sending anything out.
I’m really excited for this coming year. I’m looking forward to seeing the kiddos again and getting to know many of you parents better. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me so we can address them.
Parents are the primary educators of their children, teaching by word and example. Therefore, the St. Charles/St. Peter Religious Education Program works as a partner with parents in the religious, moral, and spiritual formation of their children. Through cooperative efforts, the Religious Education program strives to form young people who have love for God, knowledge of their Catholic faith, and recognize their God given gifts and talents so they may share fully in the mission of Christ and His Church and be living examples of His love in word and in deed.