Religious Education

04-14-2013Pastor's LetterBridget Rincon

"Do you love me?" 
—Jn 19:14

In today's Gospel, we come in touch with Peter, who in all probability is dismayed at having denied Christ, not just once, but three times. Peter hadn't gotten over his sin and he didn't yet understand the Resurrection so he returned to his former way of life. How often do we do the same thing? We become disillusioned by our sin. We can't see the potential and purpose for which we were created. We don't see ourselves as God sees us!

It is at this moment that the Risen Lord goes to Peter where he is. Jesus instructs Peter so that he can recognize Him. And when He encounters Peter on the shore, Jesus does not chastise him. He does not preach or remind Pe‐ ter about all the miracles He performed in his presence. He simply asks, "Do you love me?" After Peter's eyes and heart are open, Jesus reveals to him the purpose of his life. He then makes one last request of Peter, "Follow me."

The good news is that Jesus does the exact same thing for you and for me.

The Office of Catechesis develops and delivers educational programs for children from K thru 8 so that when they encounter the Risen Christ, they can answer the same question Peter did and begin to follow Christ. All our curriculums are based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and help to teach children about the gift of Faith they received at Baptism and profess at every Mass, about Faith celebrated in the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, about how to live Faith, and how to deepen Faith through prayer. In addition, the 6th grade programs have added emphasis on Sacred Scripture so they may encounter Christ in His Word. Our children are taught in the Spiritual Formation Center with statues of some of the Church's greatest saints in each classroom. The walls are adorned with Sacred Art and the Evangelists welcome everyone who enters through the lower doors. These sacramentals help to point us to the reality that lies beyond what we see with our human eyes. Our 7th and 8th grade students gather in the sacred space of our Church each evening after class to hear a reflection on the readings for the coming Sunday Masses. And four times throughout the catechetical year they participate in Eucharistic Adoration.

All classroom catechesis is meant to complement and support parents' in their role as the primary educators of their children. Currently, we serve over 1100 students, of which 300 will be receiving Sacraments in a few short weeks. Our catechists, 143 parishioners, many whom do not have children in the program, have a desire to pass on the rich gift of our Catholic faith to others. Together, we strive to help our children develop a relationship with Jesus. It is in this light of His love, that they will begin to discover their purpose, just as Peter did. Saint Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church said, "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as the Acting Parish Catechetical Leader over this past year. It certainly would not have been possible without the prayers and support of so many, but most especially from my dear sister in Christ, Maggie Castles.

If you are interested in serving our program, but are not sure how or what might be involved, please contact Maggie or I and we'll be happy to let you know about the opportunities available. May you encounter the Risen Christ during this light‐filled Easter season and be transformed by His merciful love so that you can see yourself as God sees you!

Bridget Rincon

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