September 2015 Letter to RE Parents
St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church
2111 Millersville Pike
Lancaster, PA 17603
September 13, 2015
Dear Parents and Children and Youth:
Welcome to another year of Religious Education classes at St. Philip’s. We are happy to share with you in the important ministry of the spiritual formation of your children. In these next months, let us support and pray for one another. Meanwhile, please take time to get to know the catechists and assistants who have so graciously volunteered to serve in our RE Program. They are committed people who have a great love of God, the Church, and our parish. Do what you can to assist them as they teach your children. Encourage your children to be grateful to these men, women, and youth who are serving them so freely and lovingly.
A few very important things deserve mention as we begin our RE year. First of all, Mass is such a gift, and to miss it is missing something very special and dear: God- present with us, helping us, feeding us through Jesus, and leading us. Take your child to Mass before or after class or on Saturday night. Remember that you made a promise when your child was baptized to raise your child in the faith, and celebrating Mass is a huge part of that promise. This year, as in the past few years, Confirmation candidates are required to hand in bulletins as a sign that they have attended Mass. Youth should simply get a bulletin after Mass, write their name on it, and leave it in the bin outside the RE Office. Confirmation candidates and their families should make an effort to see Father Sherdel face to face, remind him of your name, and tell him how you are so he can get to know who you are. Parents of children preparing for First Eucharist also need to take special care to bring your children to Mass. Of course, it is crucial and mandatory that ALL children attend Mass, but even more so when they are preparing for the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Remember that our Mass times are Saturday at 5:00PM and Sunday at 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30AM.
As far as class attendance, please note St. Philip’s RE policy. All children who attend public or private non-Catholic schools must attend religious education classes from Grade 1 through Grade 8. Seeing that your child attends classes is also part of the baptismal promises you made. Regular attendance is expected and required. Sacramental preparation years are especially crucial. No child in Grades 1 and 7 should miss more than five morning classes. Those in Grade 7 who attend class on Sunday nights should not miss more than 3 evening classes. In Grades 2 and 8—years devoted to immediate preparation for sacraments—no child should miss more than 3 morning classes or 2 night classes (Grade 8). In the event of serious illness or other valid circumstances, multiple absences can be discussed but parents need to take the initiative to contact me about attendance issues. To ensure that parents of children and youth in Grades 1 and 2 and 7 and 8 understand the attendance requirements, please sign and return the form attached to this letter. If there are family illnesses, etc, that cause your family to be away more often on weekends we have class, be in touch so some accommodations can be made to make up missed classwork.
On Sunday mornings, all children in Grades 1 and up will be dismissed from the gym. DO NOT WAIT FOR THEM IN THE HALLWAYS OR LOBBY!!! These areas are already congested with those coming to and from Mass. Parents of children in our Pre/K class should pick up their children in the classroom. On Sunday nights, youth in Grades 7 and 8 will be dismissed from the building into the parking lot. Please be mindful of children exiting the building as you come to pick these older children up on Sunday evenings. Parents of children in Grades 4-6 must meet them in the lobby. Please do not speed through the parking lot! Also, let’s all remember to be respectful of the others in our church building. Whether you pick your child up in the gym (morning classes) or in the lobby or parking lot, please be conscious of others who may be in the building and parking lots. We need to watch out for one another. Lastly, although we dismiss children into a gym, on Sunday mornings, the gym does not serve as a gym. Please do not allow your children to run and play while waiting to leave. It is too dangerous to have children running around when there are others present, including senior citizens who may not do as well on their feet. We also do not want children bumping into one another and causing bruises, cuts, scrapes, or worse. Thanks for your help with this request.
Following are some additional short reminders. Be sure your child is prepared for class. Children and youth should use the restrooms before they come to their classrooms. Please be sure your child brings the textbook back to class if it does come home. A few of our teachers assign simple homework or ask parents to read the family pages in the book. Help with the homework and read the pages; you might learn something new about your faith. Next, some of our students have been bringing cell phones to class. While we understand the need to be able to communicate with your child in the event of some emergency, cell phones should not be brought to class on a regular basis. There are phones in the building if your child needs to call you or you need to call your child. Remember that pajama bottoms are not proper church or class attire, just in case your child tells you it is ok to wear pjs. (It isn’t).
Please remember to send in the RE tuition fee by next Sunday, September 20th. Checks may be made out to St. Philip the Apostle Church. Fees are as follows: $25.00 for one child; $40.00 for two; $55.00 for three; $60.00 for more than three. Although our tuition increased a few years ago, it is still far below what most other local parishes charge.
Thank you for all you do for your children and for our parish. May we all continue to grow in faith, hope, and love as we serve God and one another. God bless you and your families.
Christine M. Miller, DRE