Section 1 - Espiritu Santo Catholic Church



Section 1 - Espiritu Santo Catholic Church
Espiritu Santo Catholic Church
Religious Education Handbook
"Encountering the Living Christ
2405 Phillippe Parkway
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Religious Education Office: (727) 812-4656
P a r i s h O f fi c e : ( 7 2 7 ) 7 2 6 - 8 4 7 7
Ellen Jones, Coordinator of Religious Education
Pat Roane, Administrative Assistant
Schedule for Mass Times:
Monday-Friday 8:30 am
Sunday Vigil 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Sunday: 7:00 am, 8:30 am (family liturgy), 10:15 am, and
12 noon, 6:00 pm Life Teen
Sacrament of Reconciliation: Saturday, 8:30 am and 3:00 pm
See parish website at for additional information
The Aim of Catechesis
uAt the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth,
the only Son from the Father... full of grace and truth' (1 John 1:3), who suffered and
died for us now after rising, is living with us forever."
"The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not in touch,
but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of
the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity."
—Catechesi Tradendae, no. 5
Since the aim of catechesis is to "Encounter the Living Christ", our goal is first and foremost
to be Christ to our students, encouraging them to be Christ to one another. As St.
Francis of Assisi is known to have said, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use
words." Our actions must proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ.
Knowledge of a person is essential in order to love. After all, we cannot love those we do
not know. Even the greatest biographies, however, fall short of fully explaining who
someone is. By encountering someone in person and mamtaining a relationship with
them, we are able to begin to comprehend who they are on a deeper level. Thus, it is
highly important we not only teach the rich content of the Catholic faith to our students,
but also allow them to encounter the living Christ through the Church's ritual activity.
How then, do we take students to that deeper level of understanding and knowing
Christ? As mentioned above, we must be Christ to our students in our own behavior and
encourage similar behavior towards one another from them. We also, however, must
emphasize in the classroom the role of prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, and an active
living out of our faith in experiencing our God.
The experience of prayer is an experience with God. Instruction in various forms of
prayer and experiencing those forms firsthand allows students to receive the tools
needed to develop their own personal prayer lives, as well as, becoming comfortable
praying with others.
Liturgical experiences within the classroom allow for children to experience God
through worship. Informational explanations of liturgy and of the Mass are more easily
understood by students when catechists are able to relate them to concrete experiences
of worship and prayer they have shared. This is an integral part of our faith that can only
be fully taught through the experience of it.
As Catholics, our sacramental outlook on life allows for the Divine to permeate the
physical world around us. This understanding of God allows us to experience our Lord
through His creation and through one another. Catechesis should help students
understand that the presence of God is truly in our midst continually and that the
sacraments of the Church, especially the Eucharist, bring us into direct contact with our
Lord A sacramental outlook also helps students to see Christ in others and understand
the importance of being Christ to others themselves. ^J1
Encouraging an active living of the faith to students must be done with more than words.
Consider how the various ways your class can assist others in love. Creating seasonal
cards to those in the hospital, holding a canned food drive, or taking a field trip one week
to a nursing home are valuable ways to engage the students in corporal works of mercy.
Catecnetical Roles
Catechists in the Religious Education program are called to herald the good news of our
Lord Jesus Christ through weekly instruction of a classroom of students. Using the
provided materials and resources to plan lessons in advance, catechists should form their
students in the Catholic tradition through its rich resources of doctrine, scripture,
liturgy, and prayer.
Assistant Catecnists
Assistants aid catechists in various ways. From taking attendance to setting up the
classroom, helping the teacher with group discussions, and aiding hands-on learning
activities assistants proclaim the gospel through their display of the divine virtue of
O f fi c e
Office clerks help out in the RE office during class time; from answering and making
telephone calls, to helping with various projects such as cutting, stapling, filing,
addressing envelopes, photocopying, etc.
Music \folunteers
Enthusiasm and willingness to lead the children in song at program Masses, including
preparation for First Holy Communion.
Babysitters will care for the volunteer's children.
Substitutes are, on occasion, called upon to fill in for catechists of specific or varying
grade levels.
Spiritual Formation for Catecnists
The following are suggestions to enliven the spiritual life, enabling a greater daily
dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ and lightening the labors of those who work in the
vineyard of the Lord.
• Regular Sunday Mass attendance, participation in the sacrament of
Reconciliation (when needed), and reception of the Eucharist as frequent as
possible helps keep all members of the faithful in right relationship with our Lord
and the local parish community of His Body, the Church.
• Observance of the Holy Days of Obligation to increase understanding of tradition.
o Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1st)
o Ascension Thursday (forty days after Easter)
o Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th)
o Solemnity of All Saints (November 1st)
o Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8 )
o Christmas (December 25th)
• Observance of prescribed days of fasting and abstinence to increase knowledge of
our dependence on the Lord for our continual existence.
• Support of the local, diocesan, and universal Church through prayer and the
giving of time, talent, and treasure.
• Setting aside time for personal prayer and/or reflection.
• Making sure one's own needs are not lost in the work of serving others.
Practical Guidelines
For Catechists:
1. Attend the weekly gathering sessions held in the Dining Room prior to class.
2. Plan the upcoming lesson at home prior to class.
3. Integrate, on a weekly basis, experiences of prayer, liturgy, sacramental reflection,
and acts of social justice with the content of the particular topical message of our
Catholic faith.
4. Find ways to gauge student's comprehension of the faith (testing, asking
questions through casual dialogue, group skits or presentations, art activities,
etc.). Faith is not a pass or fail subject, it is a gradual revelation of God that
should not be discouraged by a low grade. Grades are not to be given to
5. Provide a classroom setting that allows students to "Encounter the Living Christ".
6. End each class with a closing prayer said by yourself or your assistant catechist.
For Assistant Catechists:
1. Prayer Lines
a. Every grade will have a designated area in the gym to wait in until classes
begin. For dismissal, students wait in the designated area until picked up.
b. The assistant catechists and volunteer parents will supervise this period
>^/ c. At 6:15 the bell will sound and assistant catechists will lead their group of
students to their classroom after announcements and dismissaL
2. Classroom Time
a. Take attendance.
b. Watch for students who may need assistance with a given task.
c. Intervene in situations where students are misbehaving (see Disciplinary
Guidelines, p. _ ).
d. In agreement with the catechist, plan one supportive/enriching activity
! for the next week's lesson from the following:
i. A story
ii. An optional activity from the catechist's text
iii. A prayer experience
iv. A worship experience appropriate to the liturgical year.
e. In agreement with the catechist, deliver one aspect of the lesson to the
f. If class is divided into group activities, walk around the room showing
interest in and engaging each group.
g. Substitute for the catechist when needed.
3. Dismissal
a. Lead the students in a closing prayer if agreed upon with the catechist.
b. Help the students put away books, supplies, etc.
c. Help the students return the room to its original state.
d. With the catechist, lead the students back to the gym for dismissal.
Class Format
Times in parenthesis are for Sunday morning classes
> ^ j / '
5:45 pm Catechists Arrive
(9:40 am) A. Check in Dining Room to:
1. Get material for evening from file folder
2. Pick up requested photocopies
B. Pick out supplies and resources from RE Resource Closet
C Hand in next week's photocopying request forms. NOTE; Whenever
possible, please place a photocopying request the week beforeyou need the
copies. It can be very hectic in the office before class, and this makes it difficult
to make copies at the last minute. Request forms are located in Pat's office.
D. Catechists set up classrooms (Sunday morning may arrive at 8:00 am)
6:00 pm Assistants & all Volunteer's Children Report to Gym / Students Admitted to Gym
(9:40 am) A. Assistants watch over all children as they arrive and wait for dismissal to
B. Students drop off food donations
C. Students wait in their assigned class section
Catechists Return to Dining Room for prayer (Sunday morning go directly to gym)
6:13 pm Catechists Report to Gym
6:15 pm Bell Sounds and Classes are Dismissed by Grade N<
6:20 pm Class Begins
(9:50 am) A. Opening Prayer
B. Attendance taken
(1055 am) A. Finish Lesson (children should wait until catechist has concluded)
B. Closing Prayer
C. Students: Stack chairs and pick-up room
7:30 pm Final Bell
(11:00 am) Once class has been returned to the state it was found, catechists and volunteers
are to make sure the students walk back to the gym for dismissal.
Catechists are to return attendance folder to box in gym.
Use the telephone in your room to communicate with the RE Office (812-4656) or other classrooms
Never leave your class unsupervised, or dismiss your class early.
Also, never send a student to the RE Officealone.
Religions Education Policy
Mutual Respect
All volunteers are to respect the person, privacy, and good name of each student and adult.
Problems and difficulties amongst catecnists, students, and parents are to be discussed only
with the parties involved and, when deemed necessary, the coordinator.
Supervision of Students
Under no circumstances should a student ever be left unsupervised by an adult Students
are not permitted to remain in a classroom alone, nor are they to be found standing in the
Under no circumstances should you find yourself alone with a student.
Interaction with Students
Maintain an appropriate barrier between you and your students. You are the adult, the
catechist, a leader within the Church; act appropriately.
Catechists are encouraged to have the students call them by: Ms., Mrs., or Mr. and not by
their first names alone.
Volunteers Dress Code
Please do not wear outfits that are very tight, short, low cut, or suggestive in any way.
Catechists are role models dud should exhibit appropriate modesty in their wardrobe.
If you are going to be absent, please call the RE Office as soon as possible, so that if needed,
we can get a substitute. Also, it is a good idea to call your catechist or assistant to let them
know you will be out. If you know ahead of time that you will not be here, please fill out a
ABSENCENOT1FICA 77CWslip and leave it in the RE office.
Kindergarten^ Grade
The students' textbooks are theirs to keep and should be written in. Students' books
should go home each week with the students. Be sure to remind them to bring their books
back each week. If a student forgets their book, they can share with another student The
Family Faith pages should be torn out and sent home on a weekly basis with the Religious
Education Parent Newsletter.
These books are for the RE program to have class sets of the middle school texts. They are
to be kept in the RE cabinet of the classroom and are neither permitted to be taken home,
nor written in. The 6th & 7th grade texts do have tear out pages, but since these books will
be shared, they should not be torn out.
When a student returns after an absence, please notify the parents of the child that they ^JI
will need to make up the missed lesson and return any written work. When the student
returns the completed work, let the office know so that we can make a note of it.
All parents and adults, picking up a child early from class must go to the school front office
to request the dismissal of a student from a classroom. The office clerk will then call you on
the telephone to request that you send the student to the office.
Standard written tests are only to be used as a means for the catechist to understand
comprehension by the students of the content of the faith. Grades are neverto be given,
since faith is not a subject that can be determined by a child's performance on a
written test.
Every week, you will find handouts for the students in your folder. Please be sure to pass
them out before dismissal. Please provide a copy of any handouts that are not from the
textbook or provided by the RE staff, to the RE Office before sending them home with
the students.
Due to the large number of classes each session, it is extremely diiticult to make ^J
photocopies on the actual day you will need them. Please fill out a PHOTOCOPY
REQUEST form the week before and leave it in the RE office. The copies will be ready for
you the following week.
Videos are available to catechists for use in the classroom. If you would like to reserve a
video fill out a VIDEO RESERVATION form the week before or call the office during the
week This is merely to insure your use of a particular video, otherwise it will be a first
come, first serve basis. Please do not use videos as a convenient way to avoid teaching, but
as a complement to that night's lesson.
TV/VCR Remotes
There are two remotes—the large one is for the TV and the smaller one is for the VCR. The
TV must be set to channel 3 in order to show a video. You need to enter the number tt03,t
with the number buttons. If you try to use the channel arrows, the TV will skip over
channel 3.
Store your personal items and your student textbooks on your assigned shelf in the RE
Closet in the classroom. Supplies that are shared by all the catechists are stored on the
designated shelves. Please be sure to return supplies to their designated area in your
Please do not allow the students to put their feet on top of the desks or tables, or to lean the
chairs back on two legs. Students are expected to respect the property of others and are not
to open the desktops, touch anything within, or touch any projects or displays left out in
the room.
No food, candy, or drinks of any kind are allowed in the gym. Ordinarily, only wrapped
candy and clean finger food is allowed in the classrooms. Special consideration will be
made for holiday parties. For special situations, please contact the RE Office before the
Weatke r
Should a tropical storm or hurricane be forecasted to hit our area, it may be necessary for
Religious Education classes to be canceled. We follow the decision of the Pinellas County
School System. If they close the Pinellas County Public Schools, we will cancel Religious
Education classes. When classes on one night are closed due to weather, the classes on the
other two nights will still be held, weather permitting.
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The dress and grooming of Pinellas County students shall be neat and clean, promoting a positive
educational environment. Apparel that disrupts educational activities and processes of the school
will result in the removal of the student from the regular school eavm^mnent untU acceptable
apparel can be secured for the student. The administration will be the final judge about whether a
student's clothing is appropriate for school or whemer it wm create an environmental chinate that
is distracting to learning. Principals, faculty, and staffmembers will enforce the dress code.
Individual schools may have additional requirements if supported by a majority of School
Advisory Council (SAC) members, and if they are placed in the school handbook or planner.
Requirements for student dress in all schools are listed below:
1. All shirts and blouses must cover midrifl; back, sides, and all undergarments including bra
straps at all times. All shirts, tops, and dresses shall have sleeves and cover the shoulders.
2. Shorts, skirts, divided skirts, dresses and culottes are allowed. They must be hemmed and be
mid-thigh length or longer.
3. All trousers, pants or shorts must totally cover undergarments, including boxer shorts.
4. All clothing, jewelry or tattoos shall be free of the following: profanity; violent images,
wording or suggestion; sexually suggestive phrases or images; gang related symbols; alcohol,
tobacco, drugs or advertisements for such products.
5. Safe and appropriate footwear must be worn. Inappropriate footwear includes, but is not
limited to, roller skates, skate shoes and bedroom slippers.
Further clarification/other requirements:
a. Form fitting leotard/spandex type clothing (including sport bras) is not allowed unless proper
outer garments cover it.
b. See through or mesh fabric doming may only be worn over clothing meeting requirements.
c. Clothing must be appropriate size, with the waist of the garment worn at the student's waist.
d. Clothing not properly buttoned, zipped, iastened, or with inappropriate holes or tears shall not
be worn.
e. Clothing and footwear traditionally designed as undergarments or sleepwear shall not be worn
as outer garments.
f. Sunglasses may not be worn inside unless a parent provides a doctor's note to the school.
g. Bandanas or sweatbands are not allowed to be visible on school grounds during the regular
school hours.
h. Hats or other head coverings may be worn during outside P.E. activities and may not be worn
during any portion of the regular school day without the expressed permission of the principal.
First Floor
(Padua Hall)
Dining Room
Second Floor
Tech Lab
(Padua Hall)
|i 221