Parent Handbook

 Parent Handbook

Mission Statement:  The Purpose

The purpose of the Religious Education Program in our parish is to help participants deepen their Christian faith and identity through initiation rites, instruction and formation of conscience.  We are committed to proclaiming the mysteries of faith, fostering community, encouraging worship and prayer and motivating service to others.

 The goal of the program for children and youth is to support and enhance the efforts of parents and guardians who want to share their faith with their children.  This is done in the Roman Catholic tradition.

 Administration: Responsibilities

The pastor of the parish has the ultimate responsibility for all of the parishes Religious Education.  The Religious Formation Director oversees and directs the program, serves as a resource person, executes the sacramental preparation programs, supervises and supports teachers and Catechists and prepares parents’ meetings and communications.

Registration:  Published Information

Registration information is published in the Parish bulletin.  Please cooperate with all deadlines.  This helps in scheduling teachers and classes, in ordering textbooks and supplies and in program planning.

Sacramental Program:  Participation

A vital part of each student’s spiritual life and growth as a Catholic is regular participation in the sacraments of the Church.  All students are expected to attend Mass and participate in the liturgy each Sunday as well as on holy days of obligation.  Those who have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation are encouraged to continue to receive this sacrament regularly.

Baptism:  School Age

Un-baptized children of school age under the age of reason (7 yr. old); will have baptismal preparation with the help of their parents, guardians, sponsors and the Pastoral Associate.  They will also be encouraged to participate in a regular Religious Education class with their peers.  Un-baptized children over the age of seven must attend RCIC Classes with the Pastoral Associate.

First Eucharist & Reconciliation:  Preparation

Preparation for the first reception of Eucharist and Reconciliation are part of the scheduled Religious Education classes.  Students preparing for these sacraments must be baptized.  Parents or guardians will be asked to provide their child’s baptismal certificate (if not baptized at OLPH) before receiving First Holy Communion and Reconciliation.  Families are encouraged to participate in this preparation.

Confirmation:  The Process

The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the rites of initiation.  Our program follows the recommendations of the Bishops of the United States.  The process of preparation for Confirmation is separate from the scheduled classes in the Religious Education Program.

Sacramental Preparation for Older Children: School Age Children

Parents of children not baptized as infants, who have reached the age of reason, (over seven) or older children who have not received the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism/Eucharist/Confirmation) must make arrangements with the Pastoral Associate.  Preparation for these sacraments will be scheduled for a time other than regular class time.

Special Needs:  Homebound Assistance

Parents of children with special needs should contact the Religious Formation Director for assistance.  Religious Education is available for homebound and those with learning disabilities and physical handicaps.

Student Conduct: Expectations

Students are expected to make the time dedicated to Religious Education classes, activities, prayer, projects and field trips a positive experience for themselves and others.  We expect students to:

     Be punctual and prepared for class.

     Follow arrival and dismissal procedures given by the teacher/catechist.

     Show respect for themselves, teachers, catechists, other students and program personnel.

     Be courteous and considerate of others.

     Use language and actions expressive of Christian Behavior.

     Obey safety rules at all times.

     Be present only in areas of the building for which they have permission at a specific time.

     Be cooperative and participate in all sessions and activities to the best of their ability.

     Treat parish property and that of fellow students with respect.

     Help clean up their work area upon request.

     Avoid bringing gadgets, food, drink, gum or any illegal substances or items to class.

     Complete homework as assigned.

 Discipline: Misconduct

In case of unsatisfactory conduct, the teacher/catechist will speak with the student.  If misconduct continues, the matter will be submitted to the Religious Formation Director who shall contact the student’s parents or guardian.  If the misconduct is serious, it may be the basis for removal from the program.

Attendance: Excused absences

Regular attendance and promptness are required for the maximum benefit to the student.  Please contact the teacher if your child will be/is absent.  Habitual tardiness affects the student’s learning and participation and disrupts classes for the other students.  If a student has been absent without an excuse, or is habitually tardy, parents will be contacted.

Field Trips: Permissions

Students who participate in class field trips must have permission slips signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the teacher or catechist before the trip.

Health:  Special Needs, Allergies

Parents should inform the Religious Formation Director and the teacher about their children who have health problems.  Be sure to complete a medical form upon registering your child.  If a child has a food allergy, please inform the teacher.  Sometimes treats are given during class sessions.

Safety: Emergency Phone

Remind your child to cooperate with all safety rules and procedures.  Fire Drills are scheduled for the protection of all.  Be sure to keep the Director and teacher updated with the phone number of a person that can be reached in case of an emergency with your child and you cannot be reached at home or on your cell phone.

Safety: Dismissal

The safety of your child is of the utmost concern. It is mandatory for a parent, family member, or responsible older sibling to pick up the children in our Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grades at the classroom door.  If the teacher is not familiar with the person picking up your child, please contact us by note or by phone.

Legal Custody: In case of divorced and separated families

To avoid disputes about who may have access to a child, a copy of court documents must be kept on file in the parish office if a specific parent/adult is not allowed to pick up your child.  A dismissal form must be filed out as to who has permission to pick up your child.

Sexual Abuse Policy:  Diocesan mandated

All teachers/catechists must follow the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Policy.  VIRTUS Training is required of all teachers (3 hour sex abuse prevention course) as well as a background check must be performed on all teachers and parish staff.  West Virginia requires a teacher to immediately notify state authorities if child abuse and neglect are suspected.  Every classroom that has a door that can be closed (Kindergarten, 1st Grade) will have 2 adults in during every class.

Parish Staff Information: 

Parish Office 304-623-2334

Schedules:  Times

All classes begin at 11:15 am (immediately following the 10:00 am Mass), ending at 12:15 pm (unless noted below).  During a Confirmation year, class is from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Please be patient, there is so much information to provide and so little time to do it in, that classes may run a little late.  The Religious Ed teachers will dismiss children at the classroom door when the instructional period is over.

Cooperation:  Misc. Information

We ask our parents to accompany their children to class in case of any unforeseen scheduling changes that may occur.  This is especially important during the winter when classes could be canceled due to dangerous weather conditions.

We also need your cooperation with having your children use the rest rooms before class begins.  With the younger children, when one has to go, they all have to go, which really cuts into class time.  With the older children, so much is covered in each class that we don’t want any one missing out.

Again, because of the small amount of instructional time, please have children leave all toys, games, books, baby dolls and stuffed animals with you.

We will be using email as a way to communicate cancellations, special info, etc.