The school year is coming to a close and many of our young people are graduating from high school, college, and even kindergarten! But, most of our young people will be simply moving to the next level in their educational journey. As a parent, the first priority for you is the faith-life and education of your child or children with whom God has entrusted to you. You might remember that you made this promise when you participated in the baptism of each of your children. So, in that context, I want to encourage you to give serious consideration to your child’s participation in and education in the Faith. We have many ways that you can consider to further that mission with which you’ve been entrusted.
The first is our grade school which brags of a full-day Pre-K and Kindergarden. St. Anne Catholic School has been accredited from our earliest grades all the way up to 8th grade. Our school has awesome teachers who know that the mission of faith comes first and foremost. Our school offers more hours of faith formation and education per week than any of our ministries. Our teachers are great at lifting up their students to excel in reading, mathematics, science, and the arts. The classrooms are welcoming and the student to teacher ratio allows for maximum potential for contact with each other. Our graduates have a wonderful track record of becoming leaders in the faith and the community. They are well prepared and often are well ahead of their fellow students when they reach high school. If you have children who are of age to attend our school, I want you to give serious prayer and thought to bringing your child or children to St. Anne Catholic School. Enrollment is now open, so don’t hesitate. Contact the school office and learn more about how the school may be a wonderful opportunity for your family.
Another way to fulfill that commitment of raising your children in the faith is enrolling them in our Faith Formation Program which also begins with the school year. We have dedicated catechists who spend hours preparing for lessons to reach the hearts of our young ones. The classes are placed between our Sunday Masses which allow you as their parents to also grow in your faith. As such, we will continue to offer an assortment of adult faith formation opportunities. This past year, we watched Robert Barron’s Catholicism DVD series. This coming year, we will continue to offer monthly opportunities for adult catechesis and Faith Formation. So, please don’t just drop your children off and pick them up later. Come and stay while they are going to Faith Formation classes. Learn about the faith yourself. Become a resource for your children when they ask those hard questions. This Summer, we will host our annual Vacation Bible School which will help our children learn about our Lord through compelling stories, music, and activities. Sign up now before it’s too late!
Lastly, if your child is in Middle School or High School, then be aware that we have a fantastic ministry to our teens. Our youth ministry program is based on Life Teen which is an internationally recognized program of resources, training, and methods all geared toward creating opportunities for the teens to encounter Christ, most specifically in the Eucharist which is our source and summit. We commit ourselves to tackling the hard topics that besiege our teens in our culture today. This past year, we spent five weeks learning about Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, arguably the most compelling teaching on sex and marriage ever articulated. This summer, our teens will participate in Joe’s Camp which will help them learn about the dignity of work and the needs of the less fortunate. The High School teens will have the opportunity to attend Steubenville NW Youth Conference with thousands of other teens and nationally recognized speakers who will challenge them to live their lives as committed disciples of the Lord.
Pope Benedict XVI called for a year of faith. That challenge is for all of us. What are you doing to increase your love and knowledge of the Catholic Faith in your life and the lives of all your family members? As your pastor, I want to encourage you to take the challenge seriously and consider all these options which I’ve describe here. If you do not have children or they are already grown, consider how you can support these endeavors while at the same time growing in your own faith walk.
Fr. William Holtzinger