Catholic educators recognize that parents are the primary educators of their children in the areas of faith and morality. Faith formation begins very early in a child’s life through the experiences and life lessons that are taught at home, as well as through the local parish faith community. As educators within Catholic schools, we have the privilege of supporting and complementing this formation through daily religious education classes designed to develop the child’s understanding of our Catholic faith and provide experiences of prayer and celebration which foster a growing awareness of God’s loving presence and action in our lives.
In an Apostolic Letter about Catechesis, Pope John Paul II expresses the essence of all religious instruction within our Catholic schools:
At the heart of our catechesis we find, in essence, a Person,
the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of the Father....
full of grace and truth", who suffered and died for us
and who now, after rising is living with us forever....
We must therefore say that in catechesis it is Christ,
the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught
- everything else is taught with reference to him
- and it is Christ alone who teaches...."
Catechesi Tradendae (5-6)
Pope John Paul II 1979
All of our religion programs, therefore, center ultimately, on the person of Jesus, who is for us, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14.6)
Grades One to Three ~ Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ
Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ is the Religious Education Program approved by the Catholic Bishops for Catholic Schools. The program provides students with a foundational knowledge of the faith and classroom experiences that help them grow in relationship with God.
The Grade 1 Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ program is organized into the following five units:
- Unit 1: I Am a Child of God is based in Ordinary Time and introduces students to God as Creator and Father. In the unit, they will learn about God’s covenant with Noah and Abraham and learn about the call of Moses and God’s love for His Chosen People
- Unit 2: The Road to Bethlehem presents the seasons of Advent and Christmas through story and Scripture. Students will learn that the story of the Nativity is God’s perfect gift to humankind.
- Unit 3: My Life in Jesus is based in Ordinary Time and focuses on Baptism as a call to life in the Church. Within the unit, students will also explore the lives of saints who tried to live their lives as Jesus taught.
- Unit 4: The Story of Lent and Easter roots the passion and death of Jesus in the liturgical celebrations of Lent and Easter. Grounded in Scripture, these lessons help students to begin to understand the story of our salvation.
- Unit 5: Jesus Is Always with Us, taught in Ordinary Time, focuses on the call to live our lives as Jesus taught. Through the stories of the risen Christ, students come to know that Jesus has promised to maintain and strengthen us through Eucharist and the Holy Spirit.
The Grade 2 Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ program is organized into the following five units:
- Unit 1: We Belong to God’s Family is based in Ordinary Time and introduces students to the Apostles’ Creed and the Beatitudes. Students will learn about the four parts of the Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Unit 2: The Road to Bethlehem presents the seasons of Advent and Christmas through story and Scripture. They will explore the meaning of Advent through revisiting the Annunciation. They will learn about the joy of the coming of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the promise of salvation through the birth of Jesus.
- Unit 3: Jesus Guides Us is based in Ordinary Time and focuses on the healing stories of Jesus. Students will learn that in the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ through the Holy Spirit. They will also be introduced to the Blessed Trinity, the central doctrine of the Catholic faith.
- Unit 4: The Story of Lent and Easter roots the passion and death of Jesus in the liturgical celebrations of Lent and Easter. Students will learn more about the connection between the Last Supper and the Eucharist. They will learn about the events of Holy Week and the saving story of the Resurrection.
- Unit 5: We Are Blessed in Faith, taught in Ordinary Time, focuses on the call to live our lives as Jesus taught. Through the story of the Road to Emmaus, students will learn that we are all sent to share the Good News. They will learn more about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and how she is our Mother too.
The Grade 3 Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ program is organized into the following five units:
- Unit 1: Our Catholic Community is based in Ordinary Time. Students will explore what the life of Jesus teaches us about community. By learning about Mary and the saints, they will learn how to live in and strengthen our faith community. They will be introduced to God’s gift of free will and how their own choices and actions affect their community.
- Unit 2: The Road to Bethlehem presents the seasons of Advent and Christmas through story and scripture. Students will explore the meaning of Advent and Christmas, the role of the prophets, and how they can share the Good News with others.
- Unit 3: Born of the Spirit is based in Ordinary Time. In this unit, students will learn that we are strengthened through the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit as members of the Body of Christ. They will learn how they can use the talents and gifts given to them to build up the Body of Christ in the world.
- Unit 4: Our Lenten Journey is based in the liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter. In this unit, students will learn that, as followers of Christ, we are called to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. This unit emphasizes God’s mercy by examining the stories of St. Peter the Apostle’s denial and parables about reconciliation. Students will learn that they can show mercy to others in their daily lives.
- Unit 5: The Promise of the Holy Spirit is based in Ordinary Time. In this unit, students will learn about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send an Advocate and, through an examination of scripture, they will learn about the events of Pentecost and the origins of the Church. This unit will emphasize participation in Christ’s mission through participation in the liturgies and outreach of the Church. Students will also explore devotions to Mary, and learn that as the first disciple she is honoured as the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church.
Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ for Grades 4-8 will be forthcoming. An anticipated timeline is as follows:
2017 – Grade 4
2018 – Grade 5 & 6
2019 – Grade 7 & 8