GENERATIONS OF FAITH. Families Growing in Faith Together

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1 GENERATIONS OF FAITH Families Growing in Faith Together

2 WHAT IS GENERATIONS OF FAITH? GOF is a monthly faith formation gathering for families with children in grades pre-k through 8 as well as for people of any age who wish to grow in faith Children attend with at least one adult family member who provides guidance and support for the child while nurturing their own faith Sessions are connected to upcoming feasts & seasons of the church year encouraging participation at Mass At home materials are provided to expand learning

3 WHAT WILL WE LEARN?

4 OUR OVERALL STRUCTURE In conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Generations of Faith is based on a six year cycle with a different catechetical theme for each of the six years. It does not matter when a family starts the program, as it will cycle around every six years

5 WHAT IS OUR 6 YEAR CYCLE OF THEMES? Bible Liturgy Prayer Sacraments Morality & Social Justice Creed We will begin with the Prayer theme in the Fall of 2014.

6 HOW WERE THE THEMES CHOSEN? These themes were chosen to include the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer We also incorporate the National Directory for Catechesis criteria to include Liturgy, Justice and Scripture study.

7 WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SUBJECTS COVERED IN THE 6 YEAR CYCLE? IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER Ten Commandments Beatitudes Corporal Works of Mercy Greatest Commandment Sacraments Love of God & Neighbor Stewardship Creation Symbols & Rituals Lives of the Saints Old & New Testament Forms of Prayer How to say Rosary The Creed Our Father Grace Mary, Mother of God Jesus Images of God Holy Spirit The Church Funeral symbols & rituals

8 SUBJECT MATTER (CONTINUED) Liturgical Year & Colors Ordinary Time Lent & Lenten Practices Advent Symbols & Meaning Holy Triduum Last Supper Easter Resurrection How to read the Bible Bible Stories Baptism of the Lord The Mass & Revised Missal Baptism & Confirmation Eucharist Reconciliation Anointing of the Sick Holy Orders & ordained priesthood Marriage & Family Life Key figures of the Bible: Moses, John the Baptist, Joseph, Zaccheus etc.

9 EVEN MORE SUBJECT MATTER Free will Compassion Conscience & decisionmaking Common priesthood Liturgical vestments Human Rights Sin & Temptation Social Justice Dignity /Respect life Chastity Honesty & Integrity Mercy & Forgiveness Gifts of the Holy Spirit Fruits of the Holy Spirit Images of the Holy Spirit Peace & nonviolence Mysteries of the Rosary Communion of Saints Solidarity & common good Vocations Jesus healing ministry Holy Family Presentation in the Temple

10 WHAT DO WE DO DURING THE FESTIVALS?

11 OUR FESTIVALS BEGIN IN OUR PARISH HALL, DECORATED ESPECIALLY FOR OUR TOPIC

12 SOMETIMES WE DRESS UP TO ADD TO THE FUN.

13 WE BEGIN BY BEING WELCOMED AND SIGN IN

14 WE SAY GRACE AND SHARE A MEAL:

15 THEN WE HAVE AN ICEBREAKER

16 AND NEXT, AN OPENING PRAYER

17 FOLLOWED BY A PRESENTATION FOR THE WHOLE GROUP TO INTRODUCE THE SESSION TOPIC

18 WE THEN BREAK INTO AGE APPROPRIATE BREAKOUT GROUPS FOR A MINUTE LESSON Children in grades pre-k through 5 stay with their parents, guardians or grandparents

19 IN THE FAMILY GROUP, WHILE THE CHILDREN LEARN A SONG OR DO ANOTHER SUPERVISED ACTIVITY.

20 PARENTS, GUARDIANS & GRANDPARENTS ATTEND A BRIEF MEETING

21 THEN WE WORK AS A FAMILY ON WORKSHEETS

22 OR DO CRAFTS

23 WE WATCH VIDEOS OF BIBLE STORIES

24 AND DISCUSS TOPICS AS A LARGE GROUP

25 MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS Join their peers and work with a trained adult who facilitates a lesson on the session topic Learn through discussions, crafts, skits, videos, worksheets, guided meditations, Bible readings Often present what they learned later to the whole group

26 PARENTS OF MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS & OTHER PARISH ADULTS Attend an adult group facilitated by a trained adult staff member or volunteer Study the session topic through presentations, discussions, video, worksheets, Bible readings, guided meditation, prayer

27 AFTER OUR BREAKOUT GROUPS, WE JOIN BACK TOGETHER FOR A CLOSING PRAYER

28 OFTEN WE DISPLAY OUR CRAFTS IN CHURCH

29 WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS APPROACH?

30 OUR OBSERVATIONS Children are engaged and actively participating in their learning Parents are engaged in their children s faith development as well as their own Children are learning/retaining material from session to session, year to year Parents are able to reinforce learning at home by participating with their children Some families are participating more in Mass, prayer and in faith discussions More opportunities exist for volunteerism, beyond teaching Better able to include those with special needs Improved discipline with parents being present

31 MORE OF OUR OBSERVATIONS Students are better prepared to participate in Sacramental celebrations (i.e. First Communion and Confirmation) Children look forward to their GOF sessions Attendance rates have improved More consistency for all participants regardless of session attended or facilitator, all participants are being exposed to same subject matter and methods. Wonderful opportunity for community-building Easier to recruit volunteers than in traditional model Opportunity for adult faith sharing & adult faith development (re-learning or learning anew)

32 IN THE WORDS OF OUR ADULT PARTICIPANTS. GOF helps reinforce and fill in the blanks in our own education. It keeps the whole family on the same lessons so that discussion is easier. Family involvement means that parents care kids pick up on this and also learn by example. For the kids there are so many ways that a subject is covered during a session it has impact. It has more opportunities for faith-sharing; modeling virtues or behaviors we would like our youth to adopt or continue. Also, those seem to be more readily assimilated when our kids see others share those same values or characteristics, so they don t just dismiss parents as not like REAL people. GOF encourages accountability within the whole family to actually live what we ve learned.

33 MORE FROM OUR ADULTS I enjoy the real world adaptation of the teachings. The focus is on living the values vs. simply learning them. Faith as a community is just as important as your personal faith. It s nice to be here with family & friends. Community building is a big strength. It s great to have an activity outside of school or the ball fields where people can meet friends and share their faith. Adults are able to share their knowledge with the kids. Kids can see the learning never stops. I believe it provides opportunities for families to grow together in faith discussing faith based issues and growing in Christ as a family.

34 FROM OUR YOUNGEST PARTICIPANTS GOF is fun & it teaches a lot. I like the crafts and activities. I like the video clips. I like getting together with other people. I like singing & learning new songs. I like learning about God and other awesome things with my family. I like learning about Jesus. I am learning more about my church. I like the icebreakers I like the presentations

35 FROM THE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS I like the group discussions I like the family experience I like getting to know other people in town. I m impressed with the kind people who work to make this work! At GOF you get to do fun projects and have good conversations. This is better because you get to work with family. It s more convenient and it s all at once so you get more out of it. It increased my learning ability. We gather together and discuss important topics. It s kind of more hands on. GOF is more proactive.

36 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

37 WHY DOES GENERATIONS OF FAITH HAVE EVENTS AS WELL AS FESTIVALS? Generations of Faith seeks to prepare all ages and generations for meaningful participation in the life of the Church. The festivals are what we call our learning sessions. Each festival assists participants in a greater understanding of an upcoming Mass or Liturgical season, which is what we call our event. Participants attend the festival in order to better participate in the event festival attendance in and of itself is not enough for faith development.

38 WHY IS EACH FESTIVAL 2 1/2 HOURS LONG? Generations of Faith is not based on a typical classroom-style setting. In order for us to incorporate a variety of activities and experiences as well as build community, we need to have an extended period of time. Don t worry it s not like spending a full 2 ½ hours sitting and listening to a lecture. There s ample opportunity to move around, talk, and do a variety of activities. The time also includes the meal. The best advice is to get engaged as much as possible and then the time flies by!

39 WHY DO CHILDREN NEED TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT FAMILY MEMBER? The Church has long taught that parents are the primary educators in the faith. Our role as a parish is to provide as much support as we can to assist parents in this important responsibility. With the Generations of Faith model, parents and children are provided an opportunity to learn and grow in faith together as a family.

40 HAVING ONLY ONE SESSION A MONTH, HOW WILL MY CHILDREN GET THE REINFORCEMENT THEY NEED TO LEARN ABOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH? We don t expect that Generations of Faith, once a month, is the only time families learn and practice their faith. For children to grow up knowing what it means to be Catholic, parents need to bring them to Mass so they can participate in the Eucharist and be part of the parish community. In order for children to learn to pray, parents need to pray with their children and need to make faith part of the family s daily lives. Unless parents make being Catholic a central part of family life then anything that is learned in GOF or in weekly classes lacks context in children s lives.

41 HOW WILL MY CHILD LEARN HIS/HER PRAYERS? The only way to learn prayers is through repeated practice. This can not be accomplished solely through monthly or even weekly religious education classes. To assist children with learning their prayers, join them in prayer each day or night, focusing on a particular prayer until they have mastered it. Prayers will be provided in the home kits to assist parents in helping their children learn their prayers. Bringing children to weekly Mass will help them learn their Sign of the Cross, Our Father & Creed.

42 WHAT HAPPENS IF WE CAN T MAKE OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED MONTHLY SESSION? Our attendance policy requires attendance at a minimum of 5 out of 6 sessions to complete the year. Since the same session is offered four different times each month, it is possible for families to request to attend a different session if they are unable to make their scheduled session. (In addition to 6 sessions in Middleboro and 2 in Rochester). Families will need to contact the coordinator prior to making the change to check on the availability and make arrangements to switch sessions.

43 WILL THERE BE LOTS OF OVERLAP IF MY CHILD SPENDS GRADE K 5 IN THE FAMILY GROUP? No, not at all. The lessons are different each year due to the different themes and subjects being studied. Since the program is based on a 6 year cycle, a child beginning in Kindergarten would experience a different theme all the way through the fifth grade. We are continually working to improve the lessons from year to year so even lessons from the same theme year are different than they were six years ago.

44 WHAT IF SOME OF THE MATERIAL IS TOO HARD FOR MY CHILD OR OVER HIS/HER HEAD? Don t be overly concerned. Children s ability to understand subjects vary greatly from child to child and age to age. No one knows your child better than you do, so feel free to help your child as much as he or she needs and to modify any activity to suit their needs and understanding. It s not necessary for the children to comprehend every detail. Your presence with them, sharing in the development of their faith, and carrying the principles into your home are the most important things they can learn.

45 IS THIS PROGRAM SUITABLE FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS? All children are different but our experience has been that many children with special needs have been able not only to participate but also thrive in this environment, especially with a parent close by to make any necessary modifications. We are committed to working with parents to provide any necessary accommodations and to include children of all abilities.

46 WHY DO THE MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH GO TO A SEPARATE BREAKOUT GROUP? Students in this early adolescent age group need the opportunity developmentally to discuss and share faith experiences with their peers. They do however still need to discuss matters of faith with their parents as well. By attending the breakout session on the same topic that their parent is studying either in the adult group or with a younger child in the family group, the adolescent and parent are provided an opportunity to continue the discussion at home.

47 DOES GOF PROVIDE THE NECESSARY PREPARATION FOR MY CHILD S FIRST COMMUNION? Yes and No. Generations of Faith provides a wonderful opportunity for first communicants to experience the community life of the Church and learn their theology. GOF does not however provide all the necessary specific instruction to prepare for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. To address this need, separate learning materials will be given to all level 2 students on First Reconciliation and on First Eucharist. Additional practices and learning sessions will also be offered throughout the year as needed.

48 WHAT IS A HOME-KIT? WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? The home-kit provides additional resources for participants to foster their festival learning at home as they prepare for the event. Kits include prayers, reminders, review sheets, service suggestions, adult faith material & child activities. Participants are urged to use whatever aspects of the home-kits meet their needs and share the other materials with relatives or friends.

49 WHY DO WE HAVE A MEAL? Many of our families come straight from school, work or activities, this gives them a chance to eat. More than providing nourishment, this gives us time to get to know other members of our parish as we break bread together.

50 WHY DO WE ALWAYS HAVE PIZZA & SALAD? It is very difficult to prepare a meal to serve 150+ people six times within one week. Pizza is easy to order and is inexpensive. In the past in Middleboro, when we used to offer a different meal each month, some participants did not always like what was served. Pizza was the most universally liked food.

51 IF I M NOT EATING THE MEAL, WHAT TIME DO I NEED TO ARRIVE? Even if you re not eating the meal, we encourage everyone to arrive at the scheduled start time so that all can join in this important community-building time. There are always table activities as well as conversation with other table members to occupy those who are not eating the meal.

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