400 - Program Structures

The Value sought - Good order, the foundation of discipline, is the foundation of the spiritual life

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401.00 Parishes will provide religious education programming for all the Christian faithful. (Canon 217) 
Introduction to program structures
Keys to a successful program
Religious Education Boards explained

 401.10: Parishes will have a religious education program for every child/youth beginning in Preschool and ending in the Twelfth grade.

Registration Form sample
8 key program details (esp. for new leaders)
Legal issues to consider
Understanding the legal term: negligence
Understanding copyright responsibilities

401.11: Religious education program models may vary based on local need and the age of the children and youth being served. 401.12: If local needs require the combining of grades, the religious education program will have a written plan which demonstrates how the curriculum is covered. 401.20: All children/youth will have a minimum of 42 hours of religious education per year including instructional time, liturgical celebrations (excluding Sunday Worship unless it is a specific class responsibility), community building activities and service activities.

Developing an Annual Calendar
Number of hours required in an RE program

401.21: Each child’s progress through the religious education program will be tracked through the maintenance of permanent records. This can be done through the PDS Formation computer program or the use of cards from the diocese.

Contact Religious Education for copies

402.00: Religious education programs will serve the special education needs of children/youth in their parish through a determined effort at total inclusion using Individualized Education Plans for each child/youth.

Resources for ministry with persons with disabilities

402.10: Religious education programs will serve the special education needs of adults in their parish through a determined effort at total inclusion. 403.00: Each parish will have a written plan for children who come to the program in need of remedial preparation for one or more sacraments.(refer to policy #640.00) 404.00: Parents are to be actively involved in the religious education of their children. They will be invited, consulted and informed of all major activities involving their children.

10 Basics for reaching out to families

404.10 Parents will be informed anytime a child is to be taken off church property for activities such as retreats, service projects or community building activities. A signed Youth Confidential Release Form must be obtained for every trip off church property.

Youth Confidential Release Form
Trips off church property: things to consider
Act 175 - Taking kids out of public school for religious events
Act 175: sample letters

404.11 A record of every trip made off church property is to be kept. This record must clearly demonstrate that the Youth Confidential Release Form was received for each activity. These records should be kept on file at the parish for one year

Off-Site Trip Record Form
Volunteer Driver Information Form

404.12 Each religious education program will adhere to the current Guidelines for Use of Photographic Images of Children and Youth with an authorized permission form obtained from parents/guardians.
Guidelines for Use of Photographic Images w/ Children & Youth

405.00 Parishes will actively engage adult parishioners in continuing education concerning the relationship of faith and life and have a written plan for accomplishing this responsibility.

Adult Religious Education: an introduction
Adult Learning Characteristics (Think - parent meetings)
Adult Religious Education: how to
Small Christian Communities
Adult Religious Education Checklist

410.00: Religious education programs will have handbooks which follow Diocesan Guidelines for Parish Religious Education Handbooks.

Parish Handbooks: an introduction

411.00: Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be given a copy of the Parish Religious Education Handbook.

Parent / Student Handbook sample Click the link and choose "SAVE" to save the document to your computer. Then make any necessary changes.

412.00: Catechists will have a Catechist’s Handbook which explains their rights and responsibilities in accordance with diocesan guidelines and parish procedures.

Catechist Handbook sample Click the link and choose "SAVE" to save the document to your computer. Then make any necessary changes.

420.00: When, due to a diminishing population1, a religious education program finds it difficult to maintain a traditional schooling model program the following must be observed: The program must be combined with a neighboring parish religious education program2 or an alternative model3 must be initiated in the parish. If the program is to be transferred to another parish, policies 421-423 must be followed.

1. Policy 420.00 is activated when the following standard is not met: there must be six (6) or more students in at least nine (9) of the grades to continue using the school model program in the parish. This standard is applied to students in grades 1 through 11 only.

2. If it is not possible to merge with a neighboring religious education program because of prohibitive distance or geographical obstacle, an alternative model must be used in the parish.

3. Homeschooling is not an appropriate alternative model.
(Amended by Bishop Lawrence T. Persico, August 8, 2014.)

Combining RE programs: the policy and its rationale

421.00: Prior to the discontinuation or transfer of the program approval of the regional Episcopal Vicar is required. When deemed appropriate by the Vicar, the Diocesan Religious Education Department will be consulted in an effort to maintain the children’s/youth’s identification with the local parish.

422.00: On the determination that a local religious education program or part of a program must be closed, the parish will consult with area parishes to determine where the children/youth should attend and make equitable financial arrangements for their religious education. The details of these arrangements will be in writing and signed by the appropriate persons.

423.00: The parish which is closing its religious education program or part of a program, will also have a written plan that outlines how the parish will maintain contact with the affected children/youth.

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