HIGH SCHOOL + CONFIRMATION PAGE
First Class information
Thank you so much for your desire to sign your high school student(s) up for our program! We're so excited to begin this Formation Year very soon. First and foremost, our first class will be Sunday, September 11, from 9:15 to 10:45AM in the Parish Center. Parents of Confirmation students are required to attend that first class (at least one parent per Confirmation student) along with their students, and all parents of non-Confirmation students are encouraged to come! In that first class, we will go over the calendar for the year, review the new expectations, discuss the weekly class outline, and answer any questions you may have.
Our formation year will run from September through the middle of May with some breaks in between for different events.
Attached is the calendar for the 22-23 formation year. Please note that there are two calendars - one for non-Confirmation students and the other for Confirmation students. The two programs will be together for a majority of the year, but the Confirmation students will split off from the main group for an 8-week period beginning in March led by my soon-to-be wife, Rachel Mohr.
Please note that there are 2 retreats listed on the calendar. All students are required to take Fall retreat November 19 + 20 and the Holy Spirit retreat February 26 + 27. Both will be day-away retreats (not overnight) at a local place here in the greater Pilot Point area - more information to follow as they draw closer.
There is also a Confirmation-specific retreat day with sponsors that is mandatory for all 10th grade Confirmation students on Saturday, April 15. More details will be provided for that as we draw closer to it, but since it will be a requirement, please mark that day off on your calendars.
Bible Study Tuesdays, Youth Night Wednesdays
In addition to our Sunday formation program and our retreats, we will continue to offer a Bible Study on Tuesdays from 7-9PM with a separate group for both boys and girls, as well as Youth Nights on Wednesdays from 7-9PM. We will also have different events throughout the formation year, such as service project days or hangouts, and I will keep you all informed on those as we draw closer to them. Please involve your teens in either youth nights or Bible study in addition to formation, or, if they prefer, please bring them to all 3 opportunities. I cannot stress how important it is for your teens to attend both Sunday formation and either the Bible Study or Youth Nights! In Sunday Formation, we learn about the faith, but in the Bible Study and Youth Nights, we build a community of faith, which is equally as important as learning about the faith. I know it can be difficult to bring your child up each week, but please commit to doing so, as there is no activity more important for them than church activities.
Youth Masses the First Sunday of Each Month
This formation year, we are also implementing high school youth Masses on the first Sunday of each month at 11AM! We will have these Masses served by high school students through lectoring, altar serving, and ushering. We will have more information on this on the first day of formation, as well as a sign-up sheet for the teens to volunteer at the Masses (which is a wonderful way for Confirmation students to fulfill their service hours).
Also, we are continuing to implement adult formation classes while Faith Formation is occurring, and it will be required for parents to attend faith formation in a class along with their student each week. More information on the different classes offered to parents will be given in the near future.
This concludes the general information section. Please continue reading the section for the specific grade of your student(s)!
9TH GRADE FORMATION CHANGES
This year, we are re-implementing the two-year Confirmation program, which means that if you would like your student to receive Confirmation in 10th grade (the first year they are eligible for it), then you must enroll them in Faith Formation for 9th grade. You must attend 80% of classes or more plus the two mandatory retreats in order to be eligible for Confirmation next year. There are a total of 30 required classes, which means that you are only able to miss up to 6 weeks while still remaining eligible for Confirmation for 10th grade. If you have 6 absences and an emergency or illness comes up, that will of course be excused! But if you have more than 6 absences without reason then you will be asked to wait a year to start Confirmation prep, which means your student will not receive Confirmation until 11th grade.
While there are no requirements with youth nights or Bible studies for 9th grade students, I highly encourage you to involve your students as much as possible, as it will make the program much more enjoyable for them if they are a part of our consistent community, and they will be able to more easily grow closer to God with that consistency and community. I have personally witnessed much more spiritual growth from the teens who show up consistently versus the teens who show up sporadically, so please try and be diligent in bringing your student to our programs outside of Faith Formation!
10TH GRADE/CONFIRMATION PREP CHANGES
Although we are reimplementing the 2-year Confirmation program, all current 10th grade students will be eligible to still receive Confirmation at the end of this schoolyear. While their program is one year just like last year, we are adding more requirements for Confirmation prep, including:
10+ service hours: 5 of church service (Fall Festival, altar serving, lectoring, ushering, choir, cemetery maintenance, homebound ministry, gardening, etc.) and 5 of community service (visiting nursing homes, Shepherd's Storehouse, library, trash pickup, bake sale for a charity, animal shelter, prayer shawl, etc.)
90% attendance throughout the formation year (meaning you can miss up to 3 classes unexcused) and no unexcused absences during the 8-week Confirmation prep program beginning in March
At least once-a-month attendance of either Bible Study on Tuesdays from 7-9PM or Youth Night on Wednesdays from 7-9PM. Weekly attendance of one or both is highly encouraged.
Attendance at the Sponsor Day Retreat on Saturday, April 15 at St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as at the Confirmation Retreat on the Holy Spirit Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, February 27 (more details to follow on those - please mark those dates off on your calendar, though. No excused absence for these except sickness/family emergency).
In addition to these requirements, we require that each student have a sponsor chosen and have a sponsor eligibility form signed by December. We will hand out the sponsor eligibility form on the first day of class. Last, we will need a copy of your student's baptism certificate. Please scan them in and email them to me at email@example.com.
11TH + 12TH GRADE FORMATION CHANGES
All 11th and 12th grade students are encouraged to continue their involvement at St. Thomas Aquinas through weekly Sunday Faith Formation, Tuesday Bible Study, and Wednesday Youth Night, as well as through attending retreats and volunteering. We will have specific volunteer opportunities for 11th and 12th graders for retreats and programs, so if your student is looking to serve the younger students, there will be opportunities to do so. If you have a student who is especially desiring to serve the younger high school students, please send me their name and information, and I will add them to our leadership team.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for your desire to foster your student's relationship with Jesus Christ through our Formation Program. I know we covered a lot of information in this email, so please feel free to reply to me with any questions you may have. We will also be reviewing all this information and more on our first day of class on Sunday, September 11, so feel free to bring questions for our in-person session as well. God bless you all, and I'm so excited to begin this new formation year with you here soon!