Sacred Heart of Jesus
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Religious Ed. Parent Handbook
Welcome to the Religious Education Program for Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart Parishes! Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in helping your family grow in faith. We will strive to offer a quality religious education program that provides faith formation for your child as well as provides opportunities to pray together and form a community with other members of our program. We look forward to working with you to assure a great experience for your family!
This handbook is provided to help to inform families of the policies, procedures and guidelines we will be using. Please refer to it to answer the general questions, which arise during the year. If you have a specific question, do not hesitate to contact me at 978-632-0237 ext 413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maura L. Sweeney
Director of Religious Education
We recognize the responsibility of parents and guardians as the first and most important teachers of their children in matters of faith. Your example, prayer life, and participation in the weekly Sunday liturgy and other sacramental experiences speak volumes to your children. There are many ways to be involved in our religious education program as a volunteer; we invite you to find out how you can become a more actively involved.
Parents of students in Grades 1-6 can find online resources to help connect with what their child is learning at www.blestarewe.com
For families whose children attend the morning session we will offer Coffee and a place to gather in the School Gym during your child’s class. Parents will find a small library of books and articles which they may find helpful to supporting their child’s faith development. We hope you will feel free to stop by and hang out and share faith with other parents.
Additionally throughout the year we hold special prayers services, and family oriented gatherings. Please watch the calendar for these events and plan to join us with your family. Participation in these out of classroom events help your child understand how important faith is to you as well as showing them that faith is not limited to a classroom or the church.
Regular attendance at Saturday evening or Sunday Mass is expected of all families whose children are enrolled in our religious education program. Please make every effort to attend.
As a parent I fully understand that it can be difficult to add Mass to your already busy schedule however the celebration of the Eucharist is at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. Parents create for themselves and their children an awkward situation when they send their child to classes weekly where we teach them how important Mass is but then they don’t bring them to Mass where they encounter the God whom we are trying to help them come to know.
In order to provide a sense of community in the classroom and continuity in course content, consistent attendance is very important. While we realize that not everyone can be here every week, we expect families to give Religious Education the same importance that they would “school”. Please call the religious Education office in advance, if possible, if your child cannot attend class. Successive unexplained absences will be followed up by a call from the Religious Education office. If you know that your child will be unable to attend class for more than 1 week in a row you may make an arrangement to “home school” your child so they can keep up with the rest of their class.
Drop off and Pick up for Morning classes
All students are to gather in the Gym for an opening prayer before going to their classroom.
For the safety of our children in grades 1-6, they will not be released outside. Parents are asked to come into the gym to pick up their child and escort them out. If you are not able to pick up your child in person, please make sure to send a note to the catechist with your child so that they know who to release the child to.
All Students should be picked up within 5 minutes of the end of class. Picking up your child late causes him or her undue anxiety and is disrespectful to our volunteers who need to meet the needs of their own family in getting to Mass or other activities. If you have an emergency please contact me on my cell phone at 978-660-9789 so we can make arrangements to keep your child safe until you arrive.
Pick up after class for Evening Jr. & Sr. High Students
For the safety of the Jr. & Sr. High Students who meet in the evening pick up will be in the parking lot behind the Holy Rosary Church only. Students are not to use any doors other than the one marked “Religious Education Center” at the back of the convent.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to directly contact their child’s catechist if they have any concerns. Catechists are encouraged to call upon parents for assistance. Please be open to communications. I have found that direct communication is the best way to prevent small problems from becoming major crises. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you feel your concerns are not being addressed.
If your emergency contact information changes during the year please make every effort to let us know as soon as possible so they we can contact you when necessary.
I will make every effort to keep the parents updated about upcoming events through e-mail. If you do not have an e-mail account and prefer a different method of communication please let me know.
Cancellation of Classes
In the event of severe weather or other conditions requiring the cancellation of classes, we will attempt to notify you in advance of class via e-mail or phone. If you are in doubt about road conditions please use your own best judgment. I would rather have a family stay safely at home than face a tragedy.
Health and Wellness
In consideration for the health of our catechists and students please do not send a child you know to be sick to Religious Education classes. Children who are clearly sick will be sent home.
We do have a basic first aid kit on hand to treat minor injuries. If a child is seriously injured please know that our first call will be to 911 to make sure that he or she gets the care they need immediately.
If your child has any allergies or other health concerns we should know about please let me know as early as possible in the year, so catechists can be notified and help insure the health and safety of your child.
It is our goal to make our religious education classes a positive experience for all involved. Our policy is to use positive and preventive approaches to discipline. We are dedicated to working together with you to provide and environment of openness, tolerance and fairness to all.
If your child has specific behavioral issues we encourage you to discuss his or her needs and approaches you find helpful with their catechist.
At the beginning of the year each class will discuss classroom conduct expectations and boundaries. Unacceptable behavior includes but is not limited to: interrupting the teacher or other students while they are speaking, yelling, belittling or putting down other students, being disrespectful to the teacher or other students, teasing, hitting, biting, tripping, pinching, throwing anything in the classroom, defacing desks or books, being intentionally disruptive.
If a child remains disruptive in spite of a catechist’s positive interventions, he or she will be removed from the classroom for the rest of that class. Parents/guardians will be contacted and asked to come pick up their child immediately and an appointment will be set between the parents, teacher and DRE to discuss the problem that lead to the child’s removal from class. Older students will not be allowed to return to their class until they apologize to their teacher and if appropriate the person whom they hurt. If a child of any age has been removed from a class due to disrespectful or disruptive behavior more than once they may be asked to continue their studies at home for the remainder of the year.
We are committed to providing a safe environment for our students and adults alike. Physical, sexual, and verbal abuse in any form is not tolerated. The Religious Education Program, the parish and the Diocese of Worcester will take seriously all complaints of abuse or inappropriate behavior. If you have a question about the appropriateness of a teacher or fellow student’s actions please contact the Religious Education Office, or the pastor to discuss the situation in question immediately.
You should know that all of our catechists have had a CORI background check and are required to attend a Safe Environment Training session on recognizing and reporting abuse as mandated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catechists are responsible for reporting suspected abuse to a mandated reporter on the parish staff.
The Religious Education Office Hours
Monday ~ Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and during class time on Sundays.
Maura L. Sweeney, Director of Religious Education
Office Phone # 978-632-0237 ext. 413 or
Personal Cell phone 978-660-9789 may be used during class time or in case of emergency