Parents are natural catechists because by word and example they are the first teachers of the faith to their children. When you brought your child to Christ and his Church for Baptism you promised to raise your child in the faith. We as a parish promised support so that you could fulfill that promise as well as deepen your own relationship with Christ. For some families the school model (PSR– wherein children are taught by a parish catechist in a classroom setting) is the best choice but for others GIFT, a parent-led formation, is more suitable.
GIFT: Growing in Faith Together situates faith formation in the home. It also allows parents to take advantage of “teachable moments” that occur every day at home and school. If your children see you praying the rosary or reading the Sunday readings before going to Church for Mass, they will sense that this is something important. Your willingness to forgive and/or ask for forgiveness will speak volumes with out being “preachy.” Faith in Christ and his teachings is much more meaningful when applied to real life experiences through caring conversations.
Your family’s ethnic or cultural rituals and traditions will take on new significance as will prayer and devotions. Both parents and children develop a deeper faith when they serve others together as a family. Practically speaking, GIFT offers flexibility for busy families. They can set aside time for weekly faith formation that works with their schedules.
How Does GIFT Work?
As the name implies growing in faith together as a family strives to put Christ at the center of family life. This is done by reflecting on every day life experiences in light of Christ’s teachings. An appropriate grade level textbook is provided as a source of student learning but there is an added emphasis on interactive learning via computer activities. There are unit assessments that are completed online to track student progress. Parents are given step-by-step instructions for using their children’s textbooks and offered on-line material to inspire and guide both parent and child faith formation.
Each family is assigned a “guide”, who is a trained volunteer, to support them in their ministry. All enrolled families attend an introductory large group meeting at the beginning of the program during which they receive a schedule of assignments and upcoming large group meetings.
For more information on G.I.F.T. contact:
Diane Maguire, Director of Faith Formation