On Wednesday, September 20, the Church of St. Matthew began its Faith Formation Program with students from Grades 1 to 8 under the direction of Janelle Rohr, our Coordinator of Faith Formation. As a volunteer for many years, Janelle has organized and directed the formation program that cultivates the faith our students who attend public schools and helps them to prepare for their First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Confirmation along with our students at Community of Saints Catholic Regional School. Responding to the needs of families, Janelle guides parents in having their child(ren) baptized so that each begins their initiation process into our Catholic faith. This year, eleven volunteer teachers join Janelle.
The faith formation program we are using is called the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. This program differs from other programs in a number of significant ways that make it an effective way to teach our children.
This is a method of instruction that integrates faith formation lessons with the life of the parish community experienced in the Sunday Eucharist. The content of the program flows from the Sunday Gospel and children learn their faith within the rhythms of the liturgical year– Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time.
The Sunday liturgy is the heart of the parish community. The weekly celebration is more meaningful to young people because they are familiar with the Gospel proclaimed each week. They have studied it in class and wrestled with its meaning. With this program all students and their families hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They learn the Gospel. They love the Gospel. They live the Gospel in their daily lives. They share the Gospel both in the community of faith and, by their witness and loving service of others, with every person they meet.
Your whole family can easily share in the learning because all children are studying lessons based on the same Gospel proclaimed in church on Sunday. You can gather all your children at one time to share what they have learned and to talk about it as a family.
Because Pflaum Gospel Weeklies do not use a textbook, they are very appealing to young people and easy to use in class and at home. Each child receives a “catechism handbook” called What the Church Believes and Teaches (or Mi fe católica, the bilingual version). This handbook contains all the doctrinal elements that are considered essential at each grade level. Each week your child will receive a new lesson dated for each Sunday of the liturgical year. These lessons are at the heart of the program and will be used in class and then brought home for you to see and talk about with your children.
The Weeklies follow the three cycles of Gospel readings in five editions used to cover all the grade levels: Seeds (Preschool), Promise (Kindergarten and Grade 1), Good News for Children (Grades 2 and 3), Venture (Grades 4-6), and Visions (Grades 7 and 8).
The free resources designed for families include The Gospel At Home, which is a weekly summary of the Sunday Gospel and suggestions for you to use at home. You can sign up to get an email reminder with a link to the resource. There are additional seasonal resources as well. All of these can be found at pflaumweeklies.com.
This Sunday’s Gospel: Matthew 20:1–16a
Jesus’ parable about the workers in the vineyard unsettles today’s audience just as it unsettled the priests and elders who first heard it. It is just not fair! Some get paid a full day’s wages for one hour of work while others who worked all day long receive the exact same pay. This story, after all, is not about fair wages. It is about God’s love, which abounds for all. The parable is a way to talk to young people who are ever troubled by unfairness about God’s generous love.
Fr. Bob Kelly