Religious Education Handbook

2014-2015 Religious Education Handbook

Click HERE for a PDF of this handbook to download or print.
Click HERE for Religious Education Calendars

Dear Parents,

It’s a new school year, which brings with it countless new beginnings.  I’m excited to begin this new year of Religious Education with you.

Sometimes it’s helpful to step back and ask why we do what we do.  This helps us focus on what is truly valuable instead of getting caught up in nonessentials.  What, then, is the reason, or purpose of having a parish Religious Education program?  This program exists to assist you as parents in evangelizing and catechizing your children.  Evangelization is the proclamation of the Good News that Jesus Christ has died to free us from our sins and to bring us into a vital relationship with God our Father.  Catechesis is a systematic teaching of the doctrines of our faith revealed by Christ, entrusted to the apostles, and handed on in His Church. 

We evangelize and catechize, we proclaim and instruct, in order to form disciples.  A disciple is a person who, in every aspect of their lives, is fully committed to following Christ in a life-transforming way.  Our mission is the mission Christ gave the Church: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)

At the outset I want to stress the importance of faith formation.  It’s very easy for Religious Education to become a second tier activity, competing for a place in our children’s lives along with sports, homework, friends, family vacations, dentist appointments and a million other things.  The reality is that Religious Education should take a primary place in all our lives.  Our greatest enemy is, perhaps, busyness.  I urge you now as we begin to commit to this program as a priority for your entire family.

This means regular attendance at our weekly classes.  Over the weeks and years, the saving truth of the Gospel is systematically presented to your children.  This is to ensure that he or she has a firm grasp on what it means to be a Catholic.  And of course, Mass attendance is expected weekly, for to be a Catholic means at its core being a person of the Eucharist.

Being Catholic is a commitment to follow Christ in His Church.  One way that commitment is concretely seen is in commitment to faith formation.  Please discuss with your family your willingness to enter into this commitment as disciples of Christ.

Please read through all the enclosed information.  You are responsible for the content of this packet.  As the year progresses, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Praised be Jesus Christ!
Mike Brummond, 
Director of Religious Education

Twitter: @StJoeLockport

SESSION I for students in grades 1-8 meets from 4:30 PM until 6:00 PM on Tuesday afternoons.
SESSION II for students in grades 1-8 meets from 4:30 PM until 6:00 PM on Wednesday afternoons.     
Contact Us:
Mike Brummond, Director of Religious Education:
Kathy Gibbons, Religious Education Secretary
Fax:  815-838-4795


Monday & Thursday 9:00-4:00
Tuesday & Wednesday 9:00-6:00

TUITION:     One Child           $200
                     Two Children     $290
                     Three Children   $350
  • One payment plan due at August Parent Meeting.
  • Two Payment plan due Aug. & Nov. 1 with an additional $10 fee
  • Four Payment plan due Aug, Oct. 1st, Nov 1st and Feb. 1st with an additional $20 fee

In addition to tuition and sacrament fees, families in the Religious Education Program are encouraged to contribute a minimum of $350 per year (July–June) to the parish through Sunday giving.  Annually the Parish subsidizes the RE Program about $65,000.

SACRAMENT FEES:         First Penance:    $20.00 per student
First Eucharist:  $20.00 per student
Confirmation:    $85.00 per student (one time in 7th grade at Oct 22 parent meeting)

Students in grades 4-8 are required to have a copy of the New American Bible for class each week.  These can be purchased in the Religious Education Office for $12.00.

No child will be excluded from our program due to genuine financial difficulty.  Please contact Mike Brummond if you need assistance.  Discounts are also available for Catechists, Classroom Aides, Office Aides and Crossing Guards.

Pre-registration for families already in the Religious Education program begins in the spring of the current school year.  These forms must be completed and returned to the Religious Education office by the first of May.

Because of ever-increasing enrollment we cannot guarantee your choice of a particular session.  The following criteria will be used to determine a family’s choice of session until the last opening has been filled:
a.       Date of pre-registration and payment of $50.00 registration fee.
b.      All prior fees are paid in full. 

To help us project our needs for catechists, books, and supplies for the coming year, we ask that families NOT returning in the fall please inform us by returning their registration form with this information.

New family pre-registration begins the first week in May. 

In August there will be an INFORMATION AND FEES DAY at which time pre-registered families pay their fees.  No registrations or fees are accepted on the first day of classes.  Only the children of families who have completed all requirements for St. Joseph Religious Education Program will be admitted the first day of class.  This includes parent attendance at the Information and Fees Day.

An original baptismal certificate must be presented at the time of registration.  Certificates for First Confession and First Holy Communion are also required for children who have received these sacraments.  Proof of attendance at another Religious Education program or
Catholic school is required for students beyond first grade. 


Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For by flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-56)

To be Catholic is to be a person of the Eucharist.  A Catholic who absences him or herself from the Eucharist is a true contradiction in terms.  The Mass is the privileged place where catechesis happens, where we receive the flesh and blood of Christ, and where we enter into the mysteries of our Faith as active participants.  Weekly Mass attendance is the bare minimum that the Church asks of Catholics, not a high goal to strive for.  Therefore weekly Mass attendance is simply a given for those enrolled in this program.   

We will open and close our year of Religious Education with Masses for the students.  Parents are highly encouraged to join us.

Each week a reflection form will be sent home with each student to assist them in interiorizing the Mass.  The forms are from their text book series and are age appropriate.  If for a serious reason a student is unable to attend Mass, the student and parents should look up the Mass readings (found at and fill out the form.  Forms are to be turned in at each Tuesday/Wednesday Religious Education class for discussion.


“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”

There is perhaps no more powerful experience of the mercy of God than the Sacrament of Confession.  Students are encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Confession with their families on a regular basis.  During the year individual confessions will be scheduled for grades 2 through 8.


The primary means of communication between the Religious Education office and families will be regular emails.  If you provided an email at the time of registration, you should have already received emails from the Religious Education office.  If you did not supply an email address or if you have not received an email from us, please send your email address to

Updated information, calendars, and forms will be available at  Please check this site at least weekly.

Please read these emails and check the web site regularly to stay up to date and in touch.

To prevent a child from being injured by a moving vehicle, the entrance to the parking lot between Church and the Activity Center is closed during class time.  Catechists are asked to park in the spaces next to the Church or behind the rectory.

For safety reasons all students are required to enter the school building at the entrance facing the parking lot between the Church and Activity Center (Security Door). 

Doors to the building are opened 15 minutes before class time and are locked when the bell rings for classes to begin.  Entrance to the building may be gained while classes are in session by using the buzzer on the Security door at the JEFFERSON STREET entrance. Parents are asked to drop off and pick up their child/ren on 5th street driving east toward Madison.  5th Street will be a ONE WAY STREET at these times. 

Upon pickup, NO CHILD can walk across the street or down the block to meet parents.  Everyone must follow the directions of the Crossing Guard. No parent may pick up their child in the school hall.  Teachers will walk all children outside to meet their parent/guardian. 

Please do not disturb catechists while classes are in session.  If an emergency arises and a child needs to be taken from class please go to the Religious Education Office first and SIGN THEM OUT.  If a conference is necessary, please arrange to meet with the Catechist either before or after class by calling the office in advance.


Absence from class means an interruption in the systematic teaching of the Catholic Faith.  Class should only be missed for a very serious reason.  Excessive absences could result in failure to be promoted to the next level.  For this reason, each student is permitted only 3 absences for the year which do not have to be made up.  Make-up notices will be sent home for additional absences.  Make-up sessions will be arranged by the Religious Education Director.

In case of illness or another serious reason a parent MUST CALL or E-MAIL the Religious Education office to report an absence prior to or on the day of absence.  Messages may be left on the answering machine, which operates 24 hours a day.  This absence is considered an EXCUSED ABSENCE.

An UNEXCUSED ABSENCE is any absence for which no phone call or email has been made to the Religious Education office on or prior to the day of absence.  Any family who has failed to report an absence will be called at the beginning of the session.  If the family cannot be reached, students will not be admitted to class the following week until they first report to the Religious Education office accompanied by a parent.

Any student who has four (4) consecutive UNEXCUSED ABSENCES will be considered withdrawn from the Program.

Students MAY NOT attend another session to make up a class.

Awards will be presented to students who have perfect attendance. Any student who has not missed a full class and has not been tardy is eligible for a Perfect Attendance Award.

It is necessary that a student regularly attend classes and is equally important that a student be on time for class.  A student who is tardy must first go to the Religious Education office before being admitted to class so that they are not marked absent for the day.

Cancellation of classes and/or meetings will be made by email and will also be posted on the website and a recording left on the answering service.

Good conduct and courteous behavior are expected of each student.  Discourtesy to a Catechist or a fellow student will not be tolerated.  Parents will be notified if a serious disciplinary problem occurs.  A student who repeatedly disrupts class will be sent to the office for the remainder of the class.  He or she will be re-admitted to class only if a parent accompanies him/her to monitor his/her behavior.

NO CELL PHONES IN CLASS – Students should turn off their phones and leave them in their coats during class.  If you need to contact your student during class, call the RE office to leave a message for your child.

Gum chewing is not permitted in the school building.  For the health and safety of all students, no food is permitted in the classroom.

It is important in any educational program that students come prepared.  For Religious Education students this means not only having homework assignments for class but also remembering to bring textbooks.  A consistent lack of materials will necessitate the purchase of a second set to be kept in the Religious Education office.


Students receive evaluations twice during the school term.  Grades 1-3 will schedule parent/catechist conferences in January during class time.  Progress reports for all students in grades 4-8 will be sent home.  All final progress reports will be mailed to your home in June provided that all financial obligations for the year and required make-up sessions have been completed.


Following diocesan policy, two complete years of religious education are required prior to the reception of First Holy Communion.  First Holy Communion is usually celebrated in May of second grade.  Children will celebrate their First Confession prior to their First Communion.

Please note the following dates for required parent meetings.  Parent meetings will be part informational and part presentation.  Parent meetings are all 7:00-8:15 in the Church.

2nd grade parents only – “The Sacrament of Confession” – Wednesday, September 24th
1st and 2nd grade parents – “Real Presence and Sacrifice” – Wednesday, February 11th

Following diocesan policy, two complete years of religious education are required prior to the reception of Confirmation. Confirmation is normally in eighth grade.  Please refer to the Confirmation Family Handbook for full requirements.

Please note the following dates for required parent meetings.  Parent meetings will be part informational and part presentation.  Parent meetings are all 7:00-8:15 in the Church.

  •  7th and 8th grade parents – “Perpetuating Pentecost – The Sacrament of Confirmation” – Wednesday, October 22nd
  •  8th grade parents only – “The Catholic Tradition of Prayer” – Wednesday, January 14th

There will also be a Sponsor Workshop for Sponsors of eighth graders Wednesday, October 8th from 7:00-8:30pm in the School Hall.

Following the celebration of Confirmation there is a reception with the Bishop.  Seventh grade parents are asked to volunteer their time to set up, serve and clean-up for this event

All RE fees must be paid in full before the reception of Confirmation and/or First Communion.


You are also invited to join us for the following adult faith formation events.  All sessions will be held on the following Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30pm in the School Hall.
·         Oct 15:  “An Introduction to the Early Church Fathers”
·         Oct 29, Nov 5, 12, 19: “The Story of Salvation: Getting the ‘Big Picture’ of the Bible”
·         Dec 3: “May the Lord Accept the Sacrifice at your Hands: The Mass as a Sacrifice”
·         Dec 17:  “Meditation: It’s not just for Buddhists”
·         Jan 7: “Indulgences: A Forgotten Facet of our Faith”
·         Jan 21, 28, Feb 4: “Six Intriguing Aspects of the Liturgy”
·         Feb 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25:  “Bible Study: The Death of our Savior”


As mandated by the Diocese of Joliet, all Volunteers and Employees must undergo a background check and complete a 3- hour workshop sponsored by the diocese for VIRTUS© Protecting Gods Children.  Upon completion participants will receive a certificate.  A copy of this certificate must be on file in the St. Joseph Religious Education Office.  The workshop location/times can be found on the diocesan website at


On Information and Fees Day, families with students in grades 1-5 will receive a booklet containing the required prayers and practices for each year.  Parents are asked to help their child memorize and review these.  After each prayer or practice is learned or reviewed, the booklet is to be signed by the parent and returned to the catechist who will then listen to the child’s recitation, grade the assignment for the progress report and then return the booklet to the child’s parents.  Reviewed prayers and practices will be graded on the first semester progress report. The new prayers and practices for the current grade level will be graded on the second semester progress report.  A certificate will be given to each child who completes his/her booklet by the last day of classes.