Children`s Religious Education Programs

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St. Ann Catholic Parish
2014/15 Family Handbook
Children’s Religious Education Department
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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According to the U.S. Bishops, parents are the primary educators of the faith for their children.
Parents are the most important example of what it means to be a follower of Christ because parents are
a child’s tangible experience of God’s love. The Church is charged with helping parents in their most
important responsibility; helping their children form as Disciples of Christ. We in the Children’s
Religious Education Office take this call very seriously. Thank you for entrusting your children to us in
this most sacred task!
We Believe That:
* The home is the most influential
Our Aim in C.R.E. is to:
Enrich and supplement the home
factor in the life of a child.
Religious Education is a partner in
supporting Christian values and
attitudes that are formed
in the home.
Provide a faith-filled atmosphere
for children, to create a sense of
church community, and to help children
experience living their faith
Catechists are faith filled people
dedicated to spreading the message
of God’s love.
Cooperate with God through staff and
volunteers to help each child experience
the personal love of Jesus
The Goals of Our Program:
* To introduce the person of Jesus and to teach his message.
* To build up the community of Catholic believers.
* To develop authentic lives of prayer and worship.
* To foster a spirit of service to others within the Christian community and beyond.
Parents’ Responsibilities
* Model your faith daily.
* Share prayer at home and attend Mass each week with your child.
* Provide your child with opportunities to learn and practice their faith at home and within
our parish community.
Encourage regular and prompt attendance at all Religious Education classes & activities.
Support the procedures and policies explained in this handbook.
Be aware of the Children’s Religious Education calendar and class schedule.
Watch the weekly Sunday bulletin for C.R.E. news and announcements.
Monitor the email address that you gave on the C.R.E. registration form.
Check your child’s C.R.E. folder, and respond to all communication sent to you.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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Children’s Religious Education Programs
The St. Ann Children’s Religious Education programs include:
Sunday School classes for children ages 3, 4, and 5
Religious Education Classes at the parish for grades 1 – 5
Home Study Religious Education classes for grades 1-5
Bilingual Religious Education classes for grades 1-5 in Spanish and English
Sacramental Preparation for grades 1-5 in English and Spanish
Sacramental Preparation for grades 6-8 in Spanish
Special Needs classes
Children’s Liturgy of the Word in English and Spanish
Vacation Bible School
Family Bible Time
Children’s Journey to the Cross on Good Friday
Children’s Christmas Pageant
St. Ann Children’s Religious Education Staff
C.R.E. Director
Sunday School
Program Assistants
Bilingual C.R.E.
BRE Assistant
Debbie Kaluza
Tena Allain
ext. 1201
ext. 1203
Mary Leonard
Kim Cesario
Loreen Shillinglaw
Ruth Rivadeneyra
ext. 1202
ext. 1204
ext. 1203
ext. 1205
Yolanda Lua
ext. 1205
Office Phone
Formation & Education>Children (K-5)>Religious Education
C. R. E. Handbook
The Children’s Formation staff and volunteers are here to assist you in your role as primary educator of your
child. It is our intention that this handbook be a source of guidance on the policies and procedures for the
Children’s R. E. program, so that you may be well-informed and supportive in working together with us.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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Our volunteers give generously of their time, talent, and often treasure in helping form
your child’s faith life. Please take time to express your appreciation. Talk to your child
about what goes on in class; say thank you to the catechists; write a thank you note at
Christmas or the end of the year; and consider making a donation to the volunteer
appreciation party. A donation is included in the full cost of the C.R.E. program or you
may donate anytime during the year.
Children should arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before class (5-7 minutes before is
best). The catechists (teachers) use the 15 minutes before class to prepare the room and
supplies. Our classes are led by volunteers, who make their best effort to arrive early.
However, there are times that volunteers run late! For the safety of the children, parents
should walk their child to their classroom to make sure 2 cleared volunteers are present.
Good attendance is very important for your child’s faith formation. Parents are asked to
make a serious commitment to see that their child has good attendance. Good
attendance is defined as being present for the entire class, having no more than 5
absences in a program year, and missing no more than 3 classes in a row. If a child
accrues 5 absences they will need to come for an interview with the C.R.E. Director to
show that they have absorbed the important information from their missed classes.
In special circumstances, i.e. long term illness, a serious accident, or personal family
situation, communication with the C.R.E. Director (DCRE) is required to maintain
contact and relationship with the student.
-BBad Weather
Many of our families travel quite a distance to attend C.R.E. Weather and travel
conditions at home or work may be different than those at the parish. Should it be unsafe
for you to come to the parish for a C.R.E. event, please do not venture out. If you are a
catechist AND classes have not been cancelled at the parish AND you will not be able to
come, please be sure to contact the office.
If it is necessary to cancel classes due to bad weather, the parish will notify the major
news outlets. This information will be posted to the front page of the web site:
In general we follow the bad weather protocol of Coppell Independent School District,
cancelling events on the days that they cancel events. However, weather can change over
the course of the day. So, always check the web site for the latest information.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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If your child is not baptized and is enrolled in 1st – 5th grade, call the C.R.E. Office.
Kim Cesario, ext. 1204, can assist you in enrolling into the Baptism preparation process.
Christian behavior is expected at all times from all participants of Children’s Religious
Education. Children are expected to be on their best behavior. Good manners such as
“Please” and “Thank you” are especially appreciated.
As a young Christian, children should show respect to all catechists, volunteers, staff and
other students. Respect for all property and materials is expected. Students are required
to follow the class rules set by the catechists. Appropriate dress promotes good behavior.
Our curriculum is Our Sunday Visitor’s Alive in Christ.
Please have your child read the assigned chapter for the next week before coming to
class, so he/she will be ready to participate in class prayer and activities.
Be sure to pick up a Bulletin each week at Mass. This is our primary means of
communication with you (although we will always try to also send a memo home).
Bulletin Board
The bulletin board outside the C.R.E. Office is where information about the program, as
well as artwork from C.R.E. classes, is displayed.
We follow the Coppell Independent School District calendar. Therefore, our breaks for
holidays will follow the same schedule as CISD. You may view the C.R.E. calendar at
any time on the St. Ann website ( in the C.R.E. pages. Also, a
mini-calendar for up-coming events can be found in the bulletin. A monthly calendar
will be sent home with the students regularly.
A catechist answers a call from the Holy Spirit to ‘echo the Good News’. The ‘Good
News’ is the message of Jesus and the Catholic Church, prayer and worship, community
with each other and within the parish, and service to all peoples. Catechists help lead the
children to grow in their faith and relationship with Christ in the Church.
The children tend to address their catechist as ‘teacher’.
St. Ann Catholic Parish does not have an elementary school on site.
Information on Catholic Schools:
The nearest schools are:
Mary Immaculate in Farmers Branch;
Holy Family, St. Luke, Cistercian, St. Therese Academy and The Highlands in Irving.
Cell Phones
Cell phones and any other electronic equipment should be turned off and put away. Any
equipment being used during class time will be confiscated. Parents may pick it up from
the DCRE.
Each child is placed in the same level class as their academic grade.
This is the case whether or not the child is in sacramental preparation.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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Class Sizes
Every class will have at least 2 adult volunteers (preferably 3) in the room at all times.
There are usually 8-15 students in a class (unless there are special circumstances).
At St. Ann Catholic Parish the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred in the eighth
grade under the guidance of SAY (St. Ann Youth). Please contact the SAY Office at
ext. 1302.
St. Ann’s Children’s Religious Education Department presumes that both parents of a
child have equal access to that young person, even if the parents are separated or
divorced. Unless informed in writing, and with adequate documented evidence that a
parent is not permitted to have unqualified access to their child, the catechetical program
will permit either parent to have access to the young person while on site and will release
the child from this site to either parent.
The first approach to discipline in C.R.E. classes is positive reinforcement of desired
behaviors. If a child continually has difficulty being respectful and participating
appropriately in class, the catechist will correct the behavior with the child. Should the
child refuse this corrective action, the child will be escorted to discuss the behavior with
the DCRE. The catechist will inform the parent of the behavior, and ask for suggestions
on how to have success with the child in the future. If the disruptive behavior continues,
OR if a single situation is so extreme, the DCRE will contact the parent. A parent may
be asked to remain in the child’s class during instruction to help the child display
Christian virtues, good manners and mutual respect. Or, a parent may consider switching
to the Home Study option. Together we will determine what will be most beneficial for
the child.
A bell will ring for dismissal. Children will not be released before the bell unless there is
a special circumstance that is pre-arranged with the C.R.E. Office. The pick-up plan for
the children is determined by how parents fill out the permission slip given out on the
first day of class. The options include: hold for pick up by parents or another adult; hold
for pick up by sibling to go to a C.R.E. pick up zone; or release to one of the pick up
zones. Unless we have a signed note, children will be held for pick up by parent.
Please be vigilant with your children as you walk through the parking lot. If you stop to
chat with others, make sure that your children stay by your side. 
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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Drop Off
Please escort your children into the building no earlier than 10 minutes before class. Do
not leave your child unless two cleared volunteers are present in the room.
We have an active curriculum. Many of our classes involve field trips to various parts of
the parish. Children should ALWAYS come prepared to go outside. Shoes are a must.
If it becomes necessary to remove your child from class early, please:
Notify the office and/or catechist ahead of time.
Each family must have emergency release information on file with the program.
Please keep this information current.
In case your child should become ill or become injured, basic first aid will be
administered. If, in the opinion of the volunteer or staff, a greater level of care is
necessary, 911 will be called.
Every incident of first aid will be documented and a parent will be informed either in
person or by phone.
Tuition and fees, which are set by the parish finance council, DO NOT COVER the
entire cost of the C.R.E. program. The majority of the cost is underwritten by the
donations of generous parishioners. Please prayerfully consider pledging a consistent
donation to support this department as well as other work in the parish.
The cost of C.R.E. includes tuition, book fees, and a donation to the Volunteer
Appreciation Event. Fees may be paid in installments throughout the year.
$90 One child:
$50 tuition, $20 book fee, + $20 Volunteer Appreciation Donation/family
$140 Two children:
$80 tuition, $40 book fees + $20 Volunteer Appreciation/family
$170 Three or more children:
$90 tuition, $60 book fees + $20 Volunteer Appreciation/family
Tuition is waived for regularly attending volunteers. Book fees still apply.
Financial Aid
Partial and full scholarships are available.
Please ask for information from any C.R.E. staff person.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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First Communion is part of the regular second grade curriculum, but most of the
primary preparation is done in the homes with the family. However, in order for a child
to prepare for First Reconciliation and First Communion, the child must have
completed one year of religious education with faithful attendance in a parish or
Catholic school, (not missing more than 3 classes in a row or 5 total) and must be
currently participating in their second year.
Older children are also encouraged to prepare and participate in First Communion.
They enroll in their grade level and prepare additionally at home with their parents.
Parents of children who are baptized and are in their second year of Religious
Education must attend 2 workshops in the fall; one to prepare for First Reconciliation
(Confession), and one to prepare for First Communion. It is required that at least one
parent and the child receiving the Sacrament attend. These workshops will serve to
provide you and your child with essential information, but more importantly, they will
be an opportunity to prepare your hearts spiritually for this very special time in your
family’s life.
Your child will be provided with a pocket folder to hold handouts, art projects, and other
things from class. Some catechists (teachers) put stickers as rewards for good behavior
on the front of the folder. Be sure to praise your child when they receive stickers.
Please provide your child with a healthy snack before coming to class. Hungry children
have difficulty concentrating and following directions. PLEASE do not bring snacks into
the classroom, unless it is on one of the two party dates: Christmas and End of Year.
Important: If your child has food allergies, please note that on the registration form.
Gum is not permitted in the building. Nor should gum be chewed in the church.
It is extremely important that you READ any materials that are sent home with your
child. This is one of the ways we will keep you informed of any special events and
important information.
Home School
‘Home School’ refers to those families who have chosen to provide all of their children’s
school needs themselves. Families who have chosen this option should call the DCRE to
discuss the books/curriculum they are using. The USCCB has a list of authorized religion
texts. We can also make sure to record the completion of the C.R.E. years in each child’s
Home Study
Some families may find it difficult to come to the parish during the week or may not be
able to register for their desired C.R.E. class time or may prefer a more individualized
learning setting. For these families, we offer Home Study. With this option, a family
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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registers each child for Home Study. The child receives a workbook, along with a
curriculum calendar and specific instructions and requirements for earning Religious
Education credit for the year. Please come to the C.R.E. Office to inquire about this
The most important weekly homework is to participate in Mass on the weekend and
pray daily. In addition, children are to read the chapter for the upcoming week before
they come to class. Catechists may assign additional homework. Please be sure to check
your child’s bag each week to find this homework as well as other important notices.
Your child may receive an incentive for completing homework. Your child will never
be penalized if they do not complete the assigned homework.
Please be prompt in picking up your child. Any child that has NOT been picked up
within 10 minutes will be escorted to the C.R.E. office and signed into the late pick-up
log. We will:
1. Call both parents.
2. If there is no response or we have not previously heard from the parents that
they are running late, we will call the emergency contact person.
Please come to the office to sign out your child. We are often responsible for more than
one family’s children and we must supervise them all in addition to regular duties.
Our aim is to meet the learning needs of individual children wherever possible. Please
make sure to complete this portion of the registration form. Also, consider any
information that would be helpful to the volunteers working with your child.
Examples: extremely shy, needs lots of activity, ADD/HD and on medication, etc.
You may want to put in a note for us to contact you in the case of sensitive family
issues. HOWEVER, if there are custody issues or any court orders, you MUST make
us aware of these.
Lost and
First, check with your child’s catechist to see if the item has been put away in class.
Then check the Lost and Found which is located in the large blue box in the C.R.E.
Hall next to room 108. Occasionally, this box is cleaned out and the unclaimed items
are given to Catholic Charities. Announcements will be made in the bulletin prior to
this “clean out.”
Lost Books
First check with your child’s catechist to see if the book is in the classroom. If the book
is lost, it can be replaced at a fee of $20. This amount covers the full replacement cost
of the book.
Attending Mass regularly is one of the most important parts of a child’s faith
formation. It is only through experiencing the sacraments that children can learn to
participate and appreciate the gift of the sacraments. Catechists may ask the children
about things that happen in Mass.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances, which must be pre-approved by the DCRE,
volunteers and staff will NOT dispense any OTC or prescription medication.
**If your child has severe allergy or asthma problems to warrant carrying an emergency
inhaler or epi-pen—this must be noted on the registration form AND the parent should
speak to the catechist directly on the first day of class to inform them of the situation.**
-NName Badges
All volunteers will be wearing a name badge. The name badge will include a picture,
the name of the volunteer, as well as their Safe Environment clearance status. Do not
leave your child alone with a “Volunteer In-Training” because they have not fully
completed the Safe Environment screening process.
Your child’s teacher may periodically send home a newsletter to help keep you
informed about what is happening in C.R.E. class.
No money can be collected from the children for outside charities without prior
approval from the Director. The C.R.E. Office supports the food baskets at
Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Magi Tree during Advent, the CCA food bank with
various collections throughout the year, and the teen Mission trip during Lent.
We maintain an ‘Open Door’ policy. If you would like to attend one of your child’s
classes, we ask that you contact the catechist or the DCRE ahead of time.
In addition, each grade has a ‘Big Event’ during the year. We ask parents to volunteer
with us to make these a big success. We also need volunteers to teach class and to help
with other duties.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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Only children of registered parishioners may be registered in Religious Education.
Parish registration forms are available in the C.R.E. Office, as well as the narthex of the
church and the Parish Administrative office. Please make sure to inform both the
Administration and C.R.E. offices of any changes in contact information.
There are two official parties (with food and games) during the year, Christmas and
End-of-Year. Your child’s teacher will let you know at the beginning of the year if they
would like parental help with bringing food or if they would like you to make a
contribution towards the expense.
A bell will ring for dismissal. Children will not be released before the bell unless there is
a special circumstance that is pre-arranged with the C.R.E. Office. The pick-up plan for
the children is determined by how parents fill out the permission slip given out on the
first day of class. The options include: hold for pick up by parents or another adult;
release child to an older sibling for pick up at a designated pick up zone; or release to one
of the pick up zones. Unless we have a signed note, children will be held for pick up by
Please be vigilant with your children as you walk through the parking lot. If you stop to
chat with others, make sure that your children stay by your side.
If a child has NOT been picked up within 10 minutes of the end of class, they will be
escorted to the C.R.E. office. You may sign out your child from the office.
A family prayer life is one of the best predictors of a child continuing their faith as an
adult. Help your children learn their prayers by praying with them. Consider meal times
and daily prayers as well as blessings.
Most children prepare for the sacraments of Eucharist (First Communion)
and Reconciliation (Confession) during their 2nd – 5th grade years. To receive First
Communion the Bishop of Dallas requires that a child have at least 2 years of formal
religious education starting no earlier than first grade. A child may begin preparation
for First Communion in their second year of religious education. The Bishop also
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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requires that children prepare for their 1st Reconciliation prior to receiving First
At St. Ann the First Communion and First Reconciliation preparation happens mainly
at home with the parents. The C.R.E. Office will supply parents with all the materials
needed for that preparation, as well as host mandatory workshops for the parents.
First Communion and who has already completed at least one year of formal religious
education, you and your child must attend one Reconciliation Workshop, and one First
Communion Workshop held on Sundays in the Fall, in the Assembly Room. You must
also attend the First Communion Retreat which is held in April. Please check the
bulletin or the website to make sure you have these dates written on your calendar.
These are mandatory for all children wishing to receive their Sacraments in the Spring.
In 2015, First Reconciliation will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 4, at 6:15 p.m.
The required First Communion Retreat is on the morning of April 18, 8:00-12:00.
First Communion Masses in English are held the first Saturday of May.
St. Ann Catholic Parish places the safety and protection of our children as a top
priority. In obedience to the Diocese of Dallas, St. Ann Parish mandates that every
staff person and volunteer in any ministry with children or at-risk adults undergo both
a background check and annual training. A “Cleared adult” can be easily identified by
their badge. Two cleared adults are required in each class.
All children under 18 years of age are also required to have “safe environment” training
each year as part of their religious education. This education is given during a regular
C.R.E. class and is age appropriate. You will be notified in advance of the date of this
training. Parents may choose to have their children excused from this training but must
sign a form to indicate that they take responsibility for providing this information to
their children. Should you choose this option, we ask that you keep your child home
when this class is presented.
Partial and full scholarships are available.
Please ask for information in the C.R.E. Office.
Snacks are normally not provided during the religious education classes. A treat may
occasionally be given and there are two parties a year. Hungry children do not learn.
Please arrange a snack for your child prior to class if needed. Do not bring
outside food for your child to eat during class. It is very difficult for the other children
to concentrate when ONLY one child is enjoying a snack. Water bottles are allowed.
The hallways in the C.R.E./Admin building are monitored by video surveillance.
-TCreated: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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It is very disruptive to a C.R.E. class for a child to be tardy, especially on a regular basis.
A tardy is defined as missing at least 10 minutes of class (either by being late or by
leaving class early). If a child accrues 3 tardies, it will equal an absence. If a child misses
more than 30 minutes of class it will be considered an absence.
The mandatory Catechist (Teacher) In-Service nights planned for the
2014/15 C.R.E. year are October 28 (Advent Meeting) and February 17 (Lent
Meeting). There will be no C.R.E. classes during these weeks. The catechists are also
encouraged to attend other formation meetings throughout the year, as well as 2
additional mandatory in-services. The ongoing formation of the catechists increases
the quality of the C.R.E. classes.
To ensure the safety of ALL, we ask you to DRIVE SLOWLY, with ATTENTION
to the many children around, and to follow the ONE WAY flow during C.R.E. and
Angel Creek preschool hours. Traffic flows in one direction, in both lanes from the
administration office to the north driveway. Please see the map.
The ‘heart and soul’ of this ministry are the many volunteers who give of their time,
talent, and even treasure to share Jesus with your children. Please get to know their
names. Touch base with them before and after class. Have your children write thank
you notes. Let them know what your child is sharing with the family at home.
Right to amend
This handbook is meant to provide the parent/guardian with helpful information on how the parish staff
and volunteers intend to go about the work of parish religious education. It is not meant to cover every
situation that may occur. Any exceptions to the policies and procedures are at the discretion of the Director
or Pastor. St. Ann Catholic Parish reserves the right to amend this handbook as necessary. Parents will be
notified, in writing, if changes are made to any procedures contained in this handbook during the program
year it covers.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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A message from Pope Francis, World Youth Day
You too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of His love, courageous
witnesses of His Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of His light.
The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need,
those who have nothing apart from their poverty!
Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it.
“Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death
and I have come to give you hope, to give life” (John 3:16).
What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else
can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it
enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength
to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us.
The Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by His love.
Share this with your whole family! Each family member can be a joyful
witness of God’s love.
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014
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2014-2015 Parent/Guardian Covenant
Recognizing our most solemn obligation to educate our children in the ways of the faith, we hereby, enter
into this covenant with the Parish of St. Ann, to work cooperatively in providing for a quality program of
faith formation of our children.
I/We agree to:
Model our faith daily.
Share prayer at home and attend Mass each week with my child.
Provide opportunities to share in the sacramental life of the Church with my children.
Encourage regular and prompt attendance at all Religious Education classes & activities.
Review what my child(ren) learned each week in Religious Education.
Understand, accept and follow the policies and procedures set forth in this handbook.
Be on the lookout for and respond to all communication sent to me.
Parent’s/Guardian’s Signature:___________________________________________________________
Please keep this as a reminder of your commitment to educate your child(ren) in the ways of our
Catholic faith.
Thank you very much for your support!
Created: August, 2011
Updated: September, 2014