During the months of September through May, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish offers children and youth in Grades Kindergarten to Grade 10, the opportunity to learn about their Catholic faith. Classes are held on Monday evenings from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. The children are welcomed to Religious Education classes by catechists from the parish. Confirmation II Grade 10 students meet on Sunday evenings from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. Sister Mary Melanie Jaworski, a Franciscan Felician Sister, currently serves as the Catechetical Leader.
The goals of the Religious Education sessions are:
* To help each child develop a more personal relationship with Jesus through various forms of prayer, reading and reflexion on Scripture and Church Tradition, and sharing life experiences.
* To develop with children, an appreciation and love for the universal Church and their own parish community.
* To become a Catholic Christian whose lifemakes a difference in our world.
As part of a Diocesan directive, a lesson is presented at each level as part of the Diocesan Safe Environment Program, "Protecting God's Children".
Children are prepared to receive for the sacraments of Pennance (Reconciliation) and Eucharist in the second grade. This is a two year preparation program (Grades 1 and 2).
Arrangements are made for older children on an individual basis. The sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated in the spring of the 10th grade Confirmation II year. This is a two year program.
Sister Mary Melanie Jaworski, Catechetical Leader
Sacred Heart Convent,
308 Lakeview Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13204
FAX (315) 422-2344
FOCUS: GOD, OUR FATHER AND JESUS OUR FRIEND
During the year, the children come to know God as our wonderful Creator and loving Father. They learn about Jesus, who is their special Friend and who is with them all the time.
The children are introduced to the basic Catholic prayers: the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.
Each class involves a hands-on activity, story or video connected to the lesson and a simple snackis shared during their time together.
In Advent, the children make an Advent Wreath to use at home with their families.
FOCUS: GOD LOVES AND CARES FOR US
At times during the year, the children do a variety of arts and crafts as a project. The theme of the project coordinates with the religious objective being taught.
We praise God with songs and movements. Movement is encouraged during this part of our class. Each week we gather in a circle and sing a Thank You song that thanks God and welcomes each child by name to class. We also sing other traditional songs that incorporate hand movements and teach basic objectives of our faith.
Scripture Readings and a reflection each week are based on a simple Bible story. Children are strongly encouraged to share what they know and respond to new information being taught. Connections between Bible times and the challenges the children experience now are made.
Blessing and Snack
Before snack children say a blessing thanking God for the snack they are about to eat. They are encouraged to say a blessing at home as well before each meal.
Prayer and Special Intentions
At the end of each class the children move to the corner of the room called a Prayer Corner. The area is arranged in such a way to promote quiet prayer and reflection. Children are given the opportunity to request prayers said for special intentions (e.g. sick relatives, problem in school). It is this time we recite, as a group, the following prayers: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. By praying these same prayers every week and praying them at home the children begin to learn them by heart.
FOCUS: PENANCE AND EUCHARIST
In second grade, our focus is on preparing for the Sacraments of First Penance and First Eucharist. Through Bible readings, prayer and song, we learn about Jesus and how much He loves and cares for us.
In preparation for First Penance, we learn about how Jesus wants us to live. We make connections between the 'Ten Commandments' and our daily lives. We work hard to learn the 'Act of Contrition' and the format for confession. In February we have a Penance Service with our families in church, as we receive the sacrament for the first time.
Next we focus on the parts of the Mass. We learn prayers and songs associated with the Mass along with their meanings. In the spring, families participate in "Jesus Day". On this day, we focus on Jesus' gift of the Eucharist. We visit the church, complete a Communion craft project, and enjoy a Saturday morning filled with other activities.
The year culminates in the first weekend in May. On Saturday we meet for practice, receive a scapular, and go to Confession. On that Sunday, we have a traditional procession and Mass where our parish family celebrates First Communion with us. This is followed by a delicious breakfast prepared by the Christian Mothers and Women's Club in the parish.
One of the major topics we learn about is, "Marks of the Church". The children have an opportunity to truly understand that our Church is united as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. We examine each mark separately and complete the lesson with an activity to reinforce what was learned. The children are required to learn the Apostles Creed. We also learn about other types and ways to pray.
The class spends time learning about the importance of the Seven Sacraments and how they are grouped into three categories of Initiation, Healing, and Calling.
Mary, the Mother of God is an important part of our class. We learn about Mary and how to pray the Rosary.
At Thanksgiving the children make their own Cornucopias showing all the things for which they are thankful to God. The children use them at home as a centerpiece for their Thanksgiving table.
In Advent the children learn how to prepare for Jesus' Birth. The children make their own Advent wreath to take home.
At Christmas we focus on the Birth of Jesus and how Jesus is the most important person during Christmas.
In Lent we spend time learning about the importance of this season and what we as Catholics need to do during Lent. The children make their own cross and write on the cross exactly what they are going to do during Lent to become closer to Jesus.
The important part of third grade is that the children learn more when they are interacting and having fun. Our class is a very hands-on class with lots of activities to reinforce the curriculum of the class.
The concentration of study for the 4th grade is the study of Jesus' life and His miracles, God's laws (Ten Commandments), Precepts of the Church, and the Beatitudes, which are the way to peace that Jesus taught us.
Each week, the children are introduced to an influential saint who brought Jesus to others just as the children are called to do by their Baptism. Before Christmas, each child makes an Advent wreath and a stable. At Halloween, we learn about "All Hallows Eve", the evening before All Saints Day, and talk about the lives of some of the saints that we know. At Easter, we work on projects focusing on the Resurrection of Christ.
In the 5th grade, the children learn that the Church celebrates the presence and actions of Jesus in the Seven Sacraments. The sacraments are symbolic actions that make God's grace present to us.
We learn about the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love and review the basic prayers, The Apostles Creed and the Acts of Contrition.
Each week we learn about a saint whose feast day is colse to the date.
Throughout the year, we highlight the various seasons of the church year and discuss special Church events.
We make a special visit to the Basilica to become more familiar with the meaning and purpose of some of the special furnishings in God's house.
FOCUS: THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES
The theme of the 6th grade is the study of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures. The Bible is God's word to us in the words of its human authors. In the Old Testament, God reveals that He has always been present and active in the lives of His people. God has always acted to save His people and to invite them to freedom. Through prophets, like Moses, God spoke against injustice and suffering and offered guidance and direction. The prophets remind God's people of God's faithful love and of the Covenant.
The children also study the Stations of the Cross, review the Commandments and the Beatitudes. The last five minutes of class are often used to pray a decade of the Rosary mentioning special intentions the children may have. It is hoped the children will come to know and love God more and so desire ti serve Him with their whole being and witness to the world.
FOCUS: LIFE OF JESUS (NEW TESTAMENT)
The concentration of study for the 7th grade class is on the life and teaching of our Lord, Jesus Christ. By regular use of the Bible and classroom discussions about the text of the 4 Gospel writers, the children learn more about Jesus and how the Sacred Scriptures should be part of their daily life.
Through the use of audiovisuals, the children are able to visualize the text read in the New Testament.
Much time is spent during the year, reviewing core beliefs of our faith, and living out our faith in the context of today's issues. From marriage and purity, to abortion and the culture of death, we discuss the current wave of evil and long standing temptations facing society, and set out to develop a clear understanding of our responsibilities as Catholics in our society today.
FOCUS: CATHOLIC IDENTITY
At this time, the children learn about the Church of their faith. Time is spent studying the history of the Church and the liturgical calendar. The Acts of the Apostles, the Marks of the Church, the Holy Trinity, and Mary's role in the life of the Church are studied in depth. We also discuss the lives of some saints to learn how we can witness for Jesus today.
The mysteries of the Rosary are reviewed.
The children continue to review the Commandmments, Sacraments, basic prayers, and the Act of Contrition as fundamental parts of our Catholic Faith.
CONFIRMATION YEAR I
As a preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, our 9th graders spend the year taking an overall view of the basic truths of our Catholic faith. We consider Tradition, passed down from parent to child, Divine Revelation and Sacred Tradition.
We reflect on the Creeds, the seven Sacraments and why Jesus instituted them, the Commandments, types of sin, the importance of Christian prayer, morality, and our conscience.
The children get involved in service activities to use their gifts and talents in helping others in need. We visit with residents in local nursing homes and some candidates participate in the 'Living Stations" presentation on Good Friday in church.
FOCUS: CONFIRMATION YEAR II
The candidate concentrate specifically on the Sacrament of Confirmation, its symbols, effects and purpose in their lives.
The candidates select a sponsor to journey with them. They meet twice with their sponsor to discuss Scripture passages and reflect on how the Word pertains to them.
Also during the year they submit a listing of their service hours for their file.
A daylong retreat is planned for them as part of their spiritual preparation. The candidates write a personal letter to the Bishop explaining why they want to be confirmed and how they prepared themselves to receive the sacrament.