Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I pray this letter finds you and your family healthy and growing closer to God during this Easter season.
As we continue to navigate our way through the current global pandemic, we wanted to provide an update on upcoming retreats, the scheduled sacramental Masses as well as some innovative ways to continue your child’s faith formation while our religious education program is not in session.
We were just informed that both Steubenville San Diego and Steubenville Denver have been canceled by the organizers, Steubenville Conferences. Please know this decision was not made lightly and their main concern was the health of students, chaperones, and organizers. We will be issuing refund checks immediately for all deposits and payments made for both trips. Any money collected from fundraising efforts or donations will remain in both church’s youth accounts. This money will then be used to fund faith formation trips in 2021 for those students who had planned to attend the 2020 events.
Sacraments & The Religious Education Program
The Archdiocese of Denver has informed all parishes that all spring Sacramental Masses and accompanying retreats are postponed. This postponement affects First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation for the following classes: Family Ministry, 3rd Grade, and 2nd Grade. We understand this news is disappointing to our students and their families. We share in that disappointment.
However, we do have some good news to pass along. First, Archbishop Aquila has given special permission for me to celebrate all of our Sacramental Masses when the dates are rescheduled. Second, we spent the past few weeks working with our teachers to develop a plan on how our students can receive the additional catechesis necessary so we can move forward in the program. Here is our current plan and timeline:
Topic: Enrichment Materials
Timeline: April 2020 – August 2020
Materials: Teachers will provide enrichment materials available through numerous platforms including our website, Flocknote, and Facebook. If you do not have access to the internet and/or these platforms, please contact our church office and we will make hard copies of the material or alternative instruction available.
Additional Information: This material is supplemental to the faith formation you are providing at home. It is essential to keep in mind that the Church has always considered parents or guardians to be the primary educators in the formation of their child(ren)’s faith. In his 1994 Letter to Families, Pope John Paul II wrote: ”Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are the parents.” The role of the parents in their child(ren)’s spiritual formation is therefore critical. The work of the church’s religious education team is to assist you, not replace you.
Topic: RE Registration & Rescheduling of Sacramental Masses Timeline: June 2020
Materials: Religious Education Registration
- We anticipate opening registration in June for the 2020-2021 religious education program. Of course, this date may shift depending on the impact of COVID-19 and any guidelines from the Archdiocese.
- The Fall semester will be split into two sessions. The first session will run from August 9th until October 11th. The second half of the Fall semester will run from October 18th until December 20th.
- All Sacramental students who were in second grade, third grade, or the second year of Family Ministry during the first part of 2020, will be required to return in the Fall to complete their sacramental preparation and then receive their sacraments. The first day of class for these students will be August 9th.
- Our tentative plan is to hold First Reconciliation, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion during the first week in November. We will provide specific dates as soon as we receive additional guidance from the Archdiocese of Denver.
- These students will spend the first half of the year finishing their sacramental instruction, will receive their sacraments, and then will continue their faith formation in the next grade level for the rest of 2020-2021.
- Students who are currently (as of April 2020) in K/1st, Elementary Ministry, Middle School Ministry, High School Ministry, or Family Ministry (Year 1) will also start religious education on August 9th. These students will be placed in their appropriate grade (meaning all students will progress to the next grade level as normal). These students will finish their curriculum missed during the spring of this year. They will then start the new 2020-2021 curriculum on October 18th.
- Students who are new to the SJB program (including RCIA candidates) will start religious education on October 18th.
We realize there is a lot of information included in this update. As of right now, this is our plan moving forward. However, we will adjust schedules and dates as needed based on guidance from the Archdiocese of Denver and any regulations set forth by government leaders.
If you have additional questions, concerns, or suggestions on how to move our program forward, please let me know. Our hearts are open to help in any way we can.
Fr. Angel Pérez-Brown
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church