What is the Parish School of Religion?
In our Parish School of Religion, we strive to proclaim the faith to the young people of the parish enrolled in public elementary school, and to lead these young people to a deeper understanding of, and encounter with, the Lord Jesus Christ. This ministry primarily consists of lay parishioners trained as catechists, who receive ongoing instruction in order to effectively pass on the faith to our children. The parents play an active role in the program as well.
The role of the Church, the People of God, in the area of religious education or catechesis was emphasized by Blessed John Paul II, in his letter entitled Catechesis in our Time. This letter was written to help us reflect on the role that each of us has in teaching the faith and witnessing its power to the next generation. He says that the role of teaching the Catholic faith and its traditions is one of our primary tasks. This task is fulfilled in a special way through the classes that meet together to receive instruction about our beliefs, as well as to discuss the impact of that faith on our lives.
Most importantly, our classes offer the children an opportunity to know Jesus better, to experience Him in a real and deeper way, both sacramentally and non-sacramentally.
This ministry is continued in every Catholic Church throughout the world. Blessed John Paul points to Jesus as the model teacher. The Gospels tell us that as He conducted His public ministry, “...Crowds gathered to Him again and again, and, as was His custom , He taught them; and they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who has authority.”
The role of the Catechist is to be the instrument of Jesus, as He speaks to the children. This is how Jesus continues His mission today, through you and me. We invite the children to return each year for religious instruction, because this is the mission given us by Jesus to “go out to all the world and proclaim the GOOD NEWS.”
As important as the role of Catechist is, the role of every parent in passing on the faith is primary. We can support one another, but without the participation of the parents, the GOOD NEWS will not be nurtured, nor will the children take their faith to heart.