2023-2024 Religious Education Programs
Religious Education Classes begin on September 10th after the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. John Kanty Church.
We will meet regularly on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. noon central time.
Religious Education Class online registration is now closed. If you still need to register your children for classes, please contact Angela Ruiz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Ages 3-12)
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, our faith formation program for children 3 years old to 6th grade, is a distinct approach to Catechesis, through which the children develop deep, personal, lifelong relationships with Christ and His Church.
Originating in Rome in the 1950s, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori approach to the religious education of children 3 – 6 years old (Level I), 6 – 9 years old (Level II) and 9 – 12 years old (Level III). A child will ideally spend 3 years in each level with each year/level progressively building on the last. This progressive building of knowledge is greatly impacted by consistent attendance and participation.
The program is rich in education around Liturgy and the Bible and offers children a hands-on approach to learning more about their faith, inviting them into deeper relationship with God. Gathering in an “atrium”, a room specially prepared for them, the children receive presentations rooted in the Bible and the Liturgy on a variety of topics such as liturgical colors, the parables, biblical geography, articles of the altar, prayers and gestures of the Mass, and much more. Each presentation includes simple yet beautiful materials with which the child is invited to work during the time that is available to them during each session.
You may be wondering how these materials help the religious life of children. If an adult hears a beautiful passage from the Bible, the adult might take a Bible, find the passage, and read it slowly again and again. He or she may think deeply about the words and perhaps speak to God in a thankful or hopeful prayer. A little child, too young to read, needs another way to ponder God’s words.
In an atrium the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer from the liturgy by taking the material for that text and working with it – placing wood figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table, or preparing a small altar with the furnishings used for the Eucharist. Older children who do read often copy parables from the Bible, lay in order written prayers from the Rite of Baptism, or label a long timeline showing the history of the kingdom of God. These materials provide an avenue for the child to think more deeply, to contemplate the great truths of our faith.
More information can be found on the national website: www.cgsusa.org
The 3-6-year-old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith—the announcement of God’s love especially experienced through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen. Materials on the life of Jesus Christ and his teachings help to make the mystery of God concrete for the child. The heart of the catechesis for children under six revolves around the Parable of the Good Shepherd. Jesus announces that He is the Good Shepherd who calls each one by name. The sheep listen to the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him.
The 3-6 year old child enters the mystery of the Eucharist by first learning the names of the articles used on the altar and then through the most important gestures including the preparation of the chalice, the epiclesis and offering, and the sign of peace. Through the experience of seeing these gestures, presented one by one, the Mass emerges as the Sacrament of the Gift. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His Resurrection.
Your child will, ideally, spend 3 years within the level 1 atrium. Although the atrium is designed for 3 year-olds, you should evaluate if your child is ready to be separated from you while they attend the atrium. A child might be able to better ponder the materials presented if they enter the atrium at 4 years old.
Other details to consider: If you child is not able to use the bathroom on their own, a parent must remain in the basement area in order to assist them should the need arise. The Catechist or assistants are not able to accompany the child into the restroom. A parent should also remain in the basement if their child is not able to remain in the atrium for the full session length. If a child needs time to regroup, the parent will be asked to sit with them outside of the atrium until they are able to return.
The elementary age child (6-9 years old) is captured by the image of the True Vine. “I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” The proclamation responds to the deep need of these children to better know his or her relationship with God, family, friends, and the larger community. Moral parables offer a model for comparing their behavior with that of the Pharisee, the Tax Collector, or the Good Samaritan. The elementary children see the parts of the Mass—the Liturgy of the Word, the Preparation of the Gifts, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the Communion—as one unified prayer made of many smaller prayers. Children prepare for the celebration of First Communion through a series of communion meditations focusing on their relationship with Jesus. Preparation of personal missals filled with illustrations and prayers is also part of this formation which helps to deepen their love and understanding of the Eucharist.
The 6-9 year old child has raised their view from a personal relationship with the Good Shepherd and are now looking to see how they fit on the True Vine. This greater awareness awakens in them a desire to view their place in time, and their specific role in the Kingdom of God. They can contemplate greater works such as the Bible, Creation and the Sacraments. Moral formation is introduced though Maxims, the teachings of Jesus and through specific parables.
Although Sacramental preparation actually begins in Level 1 with an awareness of the articles and gestures of the Mass, specific meditations designed for this purpose are given during the second year of Level 2. This can be thought of as the final polish given to a years-long project. The Sacrament of Confession and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist are received during March and May respectively.
When considering placement for a 6-year old child between Level 1 and Level 2, it is always encouraged for a child to receive at least one year in the Level 1. However, reading ability and outward focus can be helpful indicators if the child has developmentally moved past the Level 1. The Level 2 child is given opportunity to read much of the material on their own so emerging readers are able to access the materials more readily. The children are given the opportunity to read aloud but are not required to do so. They also have the opportunity to choose copy work. The Level 2 child also tends toward social activities so there are opportunities for small groups to work together.
The history of salvation (focusing on the plan of God as a plan of communion which links all people together through God’s love) delights the older child. The emphasis is on our response to this unfolding generosity of God and recognition of the responsibilities that come with receiving God’s great gifts and seeing oneself as a collaborator with God. “What is the kingdom of God and my place in it?” is a cosmic query which lays the foundations for a lifelong commitment in relationship with God. Materials on the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Gifts of God, the Miracles of Jesus, and expanded presentations on Liturgy and Scripture can be found in the Level III Atrium.
Level 3 children, ages 9-12, are ready to contemplate much deeper and broader messages. They look closely at certain themes in the Bible using the method of typology: studying an Old Testament event, seeing it fulfilled or reflected in the New Testament and then looking to see how it pertains to us today. These themes are Creation, Sin, the Flood, Abraham and Moses. The children look closely at the history of the chosen people of Israel and see how it is a shared history with the Catholic Church. They learn how the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and also the Liturgy of the Word, find their roots in Jewish events but are perfected by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. The children are ready to find connections within the materials they have pondered since their early days in Level 1. Moral formation is expanded to include additional Maxims as well as a study on Virtues.
The children expand their study of the Sacraments and look closely at the Rites of the sacraments. This is also a launching of the child into their preparations for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Middle School (7th and 8th grade)
Saint John Kanty and Saint Anthony of Padua’s Middle School CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) Program is taught in a two-year cycle program using Grade 7 and Grade 8 texts from the Image of God Series. Our Middle School Program is designed to have students complete both years prior to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. In addition to the two-year cycle of the Image of God Series, the students also are to complete material in additional courses (dates and times TBD) during the actual school year when Confirmation will occur. The material presented in the additional courses is from the Dynamic Catholic Decision Point Confirmation Program. Finally, all Confirmation preparation students are responsible to attend a mandatory day long retreat (date and time TBD). The Retreat theme is Theology of the Body.
The Image of God religion series is an exciting and comprehensive Catholic program that has as its foundation the creation of human beings in God’s own likeness. The greatest confirmation of man’s unique dignity is the Incarnation of Christ, the God-man who is the perfect image of the Father and who reveals God as Love, especially by the Cross and Resurrection. In revealing God, Christ showed us who we are and how to act. This emphasis on the dignity of the individual child as the foundation of this series is taken from Scripture, the documents of Vatican II, and the writing of John Paul II. It presents the Catholic Faith in a stimulating and easy to read format that is being praised by teachers, pastors, and bishops.
Reviews the creation of the world and persons. Emphasizes the dignity of each human being as an image of God. Has students explore the possible vocations. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is reviewed through an analysis of the four gospels. The development of a well-formed conscience. Morality is rooted in God and proper moral behavior is an imitation of God.
- 1-4: Trinity; Creation; Original sin.
- 5-7: Human dignity; Family; Work.
- 8-11: Vocations; Life of the saints.
- 12-13: Life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
- 16-20: Morality; Conscience formation; Beatitudes; Commandments.
To recognize the dignity of all persons and to treat all persons according to that dignity. To explore the various vocations and be open to God’s call. To better understand who Jesus is and the need for Jesus in our lives. To understand that Christ is with us through His Church. To develop a well-formed conscience.
Part A: Lord, Give Me Eternal Life
Emphasizes the sacraments as personal meetings with Jesus. The grace that comes to us through the sacraments gives us the power to live as images of God here on earth and someday in heaven.
- 1-3: The Sacraments are personal encounter with Jesus.
- 4-5: Sacraments of Initiation
- 6-9: Baptism, the first of the Sacraments, member of the Church
- 10-12: Confirmation, the Holy Spirit and our responsibilities.
- 13-17: Origins of the Eucharist, Sacrifice, Communion, Presence
- 18-21: Reconciliation, sacrament, sin
- 22-25: Anointing of the Sick, history, Jesus, grace
- 26-29: Matrimony, Saving grace, celebration
- 30-32: Holy Orders, deacons, priests and bishops role
- 33-36: Our need of grace, original sin and virtue
- 37-40: Effects, types and source of grace
- 41-44: Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit
To teach the students that we truly encounter the person of Jesus in the sacraments and that Jesus transforms us for the better through the grace of the sacraments.
Part B: Christ with Us Now and Always
Emphasizes Christ’s living and active presence in the Church throughout it’s history. The lives of saints and other persons of importance serve as focal points for the history of the Church.
- 1-3: Pentecost and early beginnings of the Church
- 4-6: The infant church.
- 7-8: Stephen, Peter and Paul
- 9-10: Church: Mystical Person of Christ
- 11-12: The Persecution of the Church
- 13-15: The legalization of Christianity.
- 16-18: Heresy and Truth
- 19-21: Church State and feudalism
- 22-24: The Church in the Middle Ages
- 25-27: The Church in need of renewal.
- 28-30: Time of the Reformation, the Council of Trent.
- 31-33: the Church in the Modern Era
To develop the idea of the Church as Christ’s mystical body. To introduce the students to the history of the Church.
High School: Didache Series
Written in the first century, the Didache [DID-uh-kay] is the first known Christian catechesis and the earliest known Christian writing outside of Scripture. The name of the work, Didache, is appropriate for such a catechesis because it comes from the Greek word for “teaching” and indicates that this writing contains the teaching of the Apostles and, as such, it is the teaching of the Church.
Today, the most comprehensive catechesis is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Didache Series presents the life and doctrine of the Catholic Church in the context of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Vatican II as witnessed by the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The series also draws from Sacred Scripture, the lives of the Saints, and the Doctors and Fathers of the Church.
The Didache Series has been published since 2003 at the invitation of Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who requested a series of “texts that would set out clearly and adequately the teaching of the Catholic Church.” Each textbook of the Didache Series has been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the USCCB.
For Fall 2022, Student will analyze “Sacraments: parish edition.” Students will review one chapter per week on average and discuss each of the seven Sacraments. Then at the end, the class will address common objections to the Church’s teachings on Sacraments. For Spring 2023, students will review Our Moral Life: parish edition. Students will be presented the Church’s teachings on morality (age appropriate) and be given the opportunity for rich discussion.