Lifelong Faith Formation. Welcome to the online site for Faith Formation registration. The fees listed are there to support the ministry we provide. No one is ever denied a sacrament or access to our programs for financial reasons. We welcome students from all local churches seeking an encounter with Jesus Christ and who want to be change makers and disciples. Are you ready?
Welcome to another year of faith formation! Fifteen years ago, when I started in youth ministry, approximately 50% of students in the United States were leaving the Catholic Church after Confirmation. Today those numbers have inflated to 80%. This is a harsh reminder of the reality we face today. I have spent the past year working closely with our Diocese and many others in our field, conducting research on other diocesan programs, and sought out best practices to help us change this statistic and better plan to serve our families and engage our children. Not surprisingly, there is no simple fix for a problem that has been decades in the making. However, I believe we are at a point where we have the right people in the right positions to make lasting changes and I have worked diligently with our team to develop a program that is engaging for our young people and demonstrates to them that the beauty of our faith continues long after they graduate high school.
There is no perfect program. Our team can do amazing things, but programs are meaningless without active examples of faith in our young people's lives. The reality is that students need good mentors with whom they can develop trusting relationships. Many programs, mine included, spend time talking to students about their faith. We need strong role models living out the faith, providing opportunities for our young people to talk with and ask questions of them, which helps student develop a personal connection to and identity with their Catholic faith. Our program this year is centered around developing these types of mentor relationships during our sessions, which will harness small group discussions and opportunities for hands-on faith experiences. I encourage you to watch the videos on our website to see the changes we are implementing and view some strong programs already in practice. In addition, prayerfully consider the role models in your children’s lives to help live out at home the mission that we are developing here for your family.
Our K-5 model will remain on Tuesdays from 4:30-6pm with students attending bi-weekly meetings in the parish founder’s room and youth room. There will be a total of twelve sessions, and we are requesting that students attend a minimum of ten sessions to successfully complete the school year.
Our 6-12th grade program has received a significant amount of attention and overhauling of the curriculum. Middle school and high school students will meet bi-weekly on Thursday nights from 4:30-6:15pm in the parish center located next to the gym in the school building. There will be a total of ten sessions, and students are required to attend a minimum of eight sessions to successfully complete the school year. These ten sessions will be powerhouse packed with engaging topics, small group mentors to help lead student discussions/experiences, and conclude with a meal to build fellowship and a family dynamic among our young people.
In addition to the bi-weekly meetings, we will be providing family/service opportunities that are marked on your calendar. The most powerful thing to a young person’s faith development is seeing their parents actively participating, so I encourage you to attend as many of these family/service opportunities as possible.
Please make sure to attend our parish parent meeting on Tuesday, September 6 at 7pm in the church. We will dive more deeply into our plans for the year and be available to answer any questions you may have. I also encourage you to attend the Diocesan parent meeting on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:30pm in the church. This meeting is a Q&A session for parents throughout the Diocese with children in the program this year. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
I look forward to this year with our new pastor, Fr. Ross, and his vision for our parish community. On behalf of Sara Comi, our coordinator of faith formation, and Fr. Ross, I am excited to begin what I anticipate will be a meaningful year and an intentional step in the right direction as we strive to create disciples and equip them to go out into our hurting world and be a beacon of faith to all those they encounter.
We meet at St. Jude Church and our Parish Center.
Saint Jude the Apostle Address
2801 W. 6th Street, Erie, Pa 16505 USA