The Children’s Religious Education program exists to provide sacramental preparation for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation as well as ongoing faith formation for children of St. Matthew’s parishioners ages 6-18 who have received these sacraments. In support of parents who are the first teachers of their children, the program strives to communicate the person and message of Jesus Christ in the context of the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The program presents the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – Faith, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer – in such a way that the children of our parish begin to understand how these pillars apply to their lives.
The two major components of the Children’s Religious Education program are active, regular participation in weekly classes and at weekly Sunday Mass. It is expected that parents will attend a special class for them at the same time as their children and that families will worship together at Mass following class.
Classes: Classes for both children and parents meet weekly (with a few exceptions) on Sundays from 9:45am to 11am in the St. Matthew’s Education Center located at 1726 N Street NW (behind the Cathedral). Families are expected to worship at the 11:30am Mass following class. The year begins in mid-September and ends in late May/early June.
Registration: Registration for the upcoming year begins in late spring and continues through the summer. Registration closes two weeks after the first day of classes. The registration fee is $50.00 per family. Tuition assistance and a payment plan are available for consideration upon request.
Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist occurs for children in first or second grade, depending on their age. Confirmation preparation in the Archdiocese of Washington is a two-year process that typically occurs in seventh and eighth grade.
Children eight years or older who are unbaptized or are baptized but have had no formal religious education are viable candidates for the children’s catechumenate process. Families interested in discussing this possibility should contact Heather Kinney, Director of Faith Formation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The success of the Children’s Religious Education program is a result of the commitment of adult parishioners who generously give of their time and talent to help the children and youth of our parish grow in their faith. Teachers are expected to work toward certification through the Hearts Aflame catechist formation program of the Archdiocese of Washington.
St. Matthew’s Cathedral is dedicated to promoting and ensuring the protection of all children and youth. We work closely with the Archdiocese of Washington to ensure that adults who have regular contact with children and youth are vetted and approved for their roles and trained in maintaining a safe environment within our parish. In line with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in 2005, all parish employees and volunteers having regular, ongoing interaction with minors are required to attend a VIRTUS seminar (“Protecting God’s Children”) and have a background check. The USCCB Charter also directs all dioceses and parishes to implement safe environment programs to be presented to all children and youth enrolled in a parish religious education program or school. Further information about these efforts is made available to families at the beginning of each year.
The website for the Archdiocese of Washington Office of Child Protection Services is http://www.adw.org/youth/protect_index.asp. To report an allegation of abuse, please contact Marcia Zvara, MSW, Director of Child Protection Services, at 301-853-5328.
Heather Kinney, Director of Faith Formation (email@example.com)