Family Faith Formation

Family Faith Formation 2024-2025

The goal of Family Faith Formation is that for each parent and child, there would be an understanding that he or she is a beloved child of God, a fruitful Sacramental life, frequent personal prayer, and confidence in sharing one’s own Catholic faith. None of these are accomplished through a program or meeting a list of requirements. They can only be accomplished by meeting a person – Jesus Christ. He brings us each to the love of the Father and imparts on us the Holy Spirit. In fact, this is already done in Baptism. For all those in Family Faith Formation, we desire a deepening of the grace and relationship that God has already established in you and your children.

The resources, programming, and tools we use are chosen only with the above goals. Both Church tradition and modern sociological research tells us the key factors in successfully passing on faith from a parent to a child are regular practice of faith, regular conversations about faith, and an openness to questions and investigation of faith. For Catholics, this is done in the context of frequent celebration of the Sacraments, family prayer, and faith formation. However, unless each of these introduce a child to the divine person of Jesus Christ, they are misdirected.

We invite you to complete the pre-registration form linked below so that we can assist you in beginning or continuing your marriage and/or Baptismal commitment to raising your children in the Catholic faith. After completing the form, please create a booking for a Visit with either Maggie Agra or Jacob Doran.

Pre-Registration Form (New Family or Returning Family) | Create a Booking

Visit

A Visit is a fifteen-to-thirty-minute conversation about your experience of faith, family faith formation (or other program), how you can help our team, how we can pray for you, and what pathway might be most fruitful for your family this coming year. At least one parent must attend, but you are welcome to bring the whole family. These are conducted either in person at the parish office, by phone, or through a Teams video call. After the Visit, we will give you a registration link. The Visit is a mandatory step of entering this year’s Family Faith Formation program. In order to best support you and your family as you grow in your faith, we need to have a relationship with you and get to know your walk with God. There is no judgment or test involved in the Visit. Our goal is to be able to accompany and support you. We cannot do that if your family is just names on a spreadsheet or in the parish database. Visits will be held during April through August.

Our Family Faith Formation Pathways

Seek & Root

This pathway is for families who have not been involved with a family-based program before. It is ideal for families beginning their faith formation journey, or for those who are returning parish life after an extended time away. This is a time of either inquiry or investigation into the essential teachings of the Church found in the Apostle’s Creed.

In this pathway, families will be introduced to the basic Gospel message through the Seek resources. In four at-church family sessions during September and October, we will start our faith journeys fresh and discuss what it means to be a child of God, to live in a world broken by sin, to accept the saving actions of Jesus Christ, and to be a member of the Catholic Church today.

During November through April, all families in this pathway will use the Root resource, which includes a monthly parent study, six at-church Family Sessions, and six at-home Family Meetings. Root will teach or remind you all about the Trinity, God as Father, Creation, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, and the Catholic Church.

At the end of this pathway, your family will have a shared vocabulary of faith and be ready to either continue your formation in the Catholic faith or begin preparing your child to celebrate the Sacraments.

At-Church sessions are scheduled for Monday evenings from 6:30pm-8pm. There are separate sessions for parents, junior high (6th-8th grades), and elementary students (K-5th grades). All promote a shared faith vocabulary and are meant to lead to conversations about faith between parents and children.

The Sunday Mass is our primary community gathering and means of parish support. In it we receive the sanctifying grace of the Eucharist, which is the Source and Summit of the Catholic Faith. Jesus Christ is truly present and in consuming his Body and Blood we are made more like him, which is the ultimate goal of our lives. It is likely that family faith formation will have no lasting effect on a child who does not attend Mass regularly with their family. You must make weekly Mass attendance your greatest priority. Our program assumes that this is already the case or that you are intentionally moving in that direction.

Continued Growth

This pathway is for families who are continuing on their formation journey, which the Church calls “mystagogy.” All families in Continued Growth should be familiar with a family-based program where teaching comes primarily from the parents and is supplemented with at-church Family Sessions.

The resource for the parish’s year of mission is called Mercy. In this resource, families will teach and learn about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These are traditional actions that are associated with how God commands us to love our neighbor.

Mercy contains fifteen at-home Family Meetings that will be completed between September and April. We will supplement your at-home experience with at-church Family Sessions four times through the year. I would like to perform some service projects as part of the at-church Family Sessions. Please let Maggie or me know if there are local projects or organizations you know of that could use our help. I will also reach out to our parish service ministries to see what their needs are. 

At-Church sessions are scheduled for Sunday morning after the 8:45 Mass until 11:15.

The Mass is our primary community gathering and means of parish support. In it we receive the sanctifying grace of the Eucharist, which is the Source and Summit of the Catholic Faith. Jesus Christ is truly present and in consuming his Body and Blood we are made more like him, which is the ultimate goal of our lives. It is likely that family faith formation will have no lasting effect on a child who does not attend Mass regularly with their family.

Sacrament Preparation

This pathway is for families with a child who is preparing to celebrate Reconciliation, Eucharist, or Confirmation. The Church calls this “Immediate preparation.” All students preparing to celebrate a Sacrament must have completed at least one year of religious education immediately prior.

The Church teaches that it is the parents who present a child for the sacraments, therefore we do not limit Sacrament Preparation to only children in second or eighth grades. This has recently been the case for siblings one or two years apart at St Brendan.

Families preparing a child or children for First Reconciliation will use the Mend resource. It contains eight at-home Family Meetings. As well, families will attend two at-church Family Sessions which will supplement the preparation process for the whole family. First Reconciliation will be held on the morning of Saturday, December 7th.

Families preparing a child or children for Eucharist will use the Nourish resource. It contains ten at-home Family Meetings. As well, families will attend three at-church Family Sessions which will supplement the preparation process for the whole family. First Eucharist will be celebrated at 5:30pm Saturday and 8:45am Sunday Masses during the first three weekends in May.

At-Church Family Sessions for Reconciliation and Eucharist will each take place on a Sunday morning after the 8:45 am Mass until 11:15.

Families with Confirmation candidates will use the Zeal resource. It contains seven at-home Family Meetings and one Sponsor meeting. As well, families will attend three at-church Family Sessions which will supplement the preparation process for the whole family. Confirmation will likely be on a Friday evening in early May but is determined by the Bishop’s office.

Each Confirmation At-Church Family Session will take place on a Sunday evening after the 5:30 pm Mass until 8pm.

All sessions are backed up to a Sunday Mass in order to encourage Mass attendance. The Mass is our primary community gathering and means of parish support. In it we receive the sanctifying grace of the Eucharist, which is the Source and Summit of the Catholic Faith. Jesus Christ is truly present and in consuming his Body and Blood we are made more like him, which is the ultimate goal of our lives. It is likely that family faith formation will have no lasting effect on a child who does not attend Mass regularly with their family.

Middle School Small Groups

Between ages 11-13, peer groups and dynamics greatly increase in their importance when it comes to practicing and growing in faith. For that reason, we require that all in grades 6-8 attend small discipleship groups throughout the year. These groups are each led by an adult mentor in faith who is your partner in passing on faith to your child. During these groups, there are snacks, a game, and time to learn and share about faith. They all occur on Sunday evenings from after the 5:30 Mass until 8pm. The adult mentors use YDisciple content to help the teens learn and grow in their faith. 

Family Faith Formation Calendar (tentative)

Cost

Our costs help to cover the cost of family faith formation programming at St. Brendan, which includes curriculum resources, at-church session materials, food, and more. Our department ministries also include middle and high school youth ministry, which are funded through the church’s offertory collection and individual donations. As a whole, we host an average of 220 individuals each week and are completely oriented to supporting families. In addition, we have a department staff of four, three of which are full-time. The Youth Evangelization and Catechesis Department relies largely on offertory to offset the full cost of programming, salaries, and benefits. Our income and expense numbers are always published as part of the financial snapshot in the bulletin.

We are committed to financially assisting any family that asks, and we also provide a subsidy each year to families that tithe electronically or by envelope to the parish offertory at or above a certain amount. Subsidy decisions are made by the pastor. If you do not receive a subsidy and feel you should, we are happy to appeal at your request.

Family with one child enrolled Family with two children enrolled Family with three or more children enrolled
Full Cost of program $450 $600 $750
Parishioner Rate $300 $425 $475
Non-Parishioner Rate $450 $600 $750

Family Faith Formation Team

We need a team to make Family Faith Formation work! This year we are asking that one parent from each family sign up for one of the roles below:

  • Lead Catechist (Family receives 100% fee discount)
    • Commits to lead elementary age groups during Sacrament Prep at-church sessions (morning or evening). Required to begin Diocesan certification through online workshops.
  • Aide (Family receives 50% fee discount)
    • Commits to help with elementary age groups during Sacrament Prep at-church sessions (morning or evening)
  • Middle school small group leader (Family receives 100% fee discount)
    • Commits to lead a group of middle school students (all one gender from the same grade) twelve Sunday evenings through the year.
  • Parent table leader (Family receives 50% fee discount)
    • Helps to lead the conversation during parent small groups and get everyone involved
  • Intercession/Prayer team
    • Commits to an adoration hour each week and will pray for the families at St. Brendan
  • Hospitality team
    • Assists with room set up or tear down including decor and snacks
  • Seek & Root Team
    • Assists with elementary or junior high groups
  • Middle School Youth Ministry
    • Assists with any of the following: set up, food ministry, student sign-in, tear down
  • High School Youth Ministry
    • Assists with any of the following: set up, food, tear down, hallway monitor
  • POD Nursery
    • Assists with littles in the POD nursery during at-church Family Sessions or Sunday morning Mass