Faith Formation

Faith Formation

Welcome to St. Mark Faith Elementary Formation!

The Christian family is ordinarily the first experience of the Christian community and the primary environment for growth in faith; it is the “church of the home”. In his 1994 Letter to Families, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents.” It is through the living witness of parents that children first experience the faith; faith-filled moments permeate all of family life. This experience is irreplaceable and lasts throughout life.

As parents you are blessed with the love and grace to foster your children’s spiritual growth. Indeed, as parents you are uniquely able to teach your children – first because you yourselves are persons of faith and second because you are parents. It is this religious formation that is the foundation of all other forms of religious education a person receives.

Parents will be actively involved in the sacramental preparation of their children for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. At St. Mark, there is something for everyone. St. Mark provides a parish subscription at no cost to you for FORMED, an exciting online platform, available to you with 24/7 access to a wide variety of Catholic programs, books, CDs, videos and movies, and Catholic Brain, which offers a variety of lessons, resources, activities, games, and puzzles for children and youth; both of these are available in English and Spanish. (Catholic Brain will be available in Spanish in 2021.)

Resources: Elementary Faith Formation

VIRTUS Program – Empowering God’s Children

To access the VIRTUS Program Resources, click the button below.

Para obtener acceso a el Programa VIRTUS, haga click en el botón a continuación.

Home Based Catechetical Model for Individual Families: PK4 – 6th grade

We encourage families to learn together and grow together in the faith as the “domestic church.” Materials and resources are available to assist parents in teaching their children the faith at home. The program allows all grade levels to be taught the teachings of The Catholic Church and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If the child is receiving sacraments, both the parents and child will be required to attend the necessary parent/child sessions at the parish. Please read over the Home Based Catechetical Model for Individual Families document for information regarding materials, requirements, etc.

For 2020-2021, we will be going with at home online learning using a family catechesis model beginning in September and continuing through April/May. At this time, we do not plan to have weekly classes at the parish, although it may be subject to change in the future. We will be using The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism, The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism no. 2, and resources from FORMED and Catholic Brain.

Following Diocesan guidelines, a child or teen should have a minimum of one year of catechesis in a parish faith formation program prior to receiving sacramental preparation for Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Our second grade children will be in sacramental preparation to receive First Reconciliation and First Communion this year (provided they were enrolled in a 1st grade faith formation program for 2019-2020).

If your child is in the 3rd-6th grade and has not received the sacraments of First Reconciliation and Communion, please call the Faith Formation Office at 972-423-4715.

If your child or teen have not been baptized, please contact Kaleb Trojacek or Ruth Sanchez for information on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (adapted for children over the age of seven.)

Loyola Press – Family Fun
Engaging questions to spark fun and creative family conversations, family activities and games, and hours of family fun and faith talk are just a click away at Loyola Press. The Featured this Month section has Saint Stories for Kids, Helping People Pray, Leading Prayer and 10 Top Family Movies.

Tips for Helping Your Child Grow in Faith

Please note: If your child is seeking a sacrament, a copy of the baptismal certificate is required at the time of registration. If your child was baptized at St. Mark, please let us know, and we will obtain the information for you.

Faith Formation Staff

  • Debbie Betz, Director of Elementary Faith Formation
  • Peggy Theis, Coordinator of Elementary Faith Formation
  • Linda Sartor, Coordinator of Elementary Faith Formation bilingual

Our Faith Formation Program is designed to challenge our young people to become more like Christ. With the help of hundreds of parish volunteers we have lead our children and families in Prayer, Scripture and Tradition, Sacraments, and the fife of Christ. If you are interested in volunteering your time and talent as a catechist, working directly with families, please contact the Faith Formation Office. For the safety of our children, all volunteers must be safe environment cleared.

Children & Teens with Disabilities

We strive to offer inclusive faith formation classes for children and teens with disabilities. Many families inquire about registering their child in our faith formation program when it’s time to begin preparation to receive First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion, usually between Kindergarten and 2nd grade. Our goal is to be able to provide faith formation for children and youth with disabilities beginning with preschool and continuing through high school and to be able to prepare them to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation (generally in the 8th grade.)

If you or someone you know has a child or teen with disabilities, please call the Faith Formation Office at 972-423-4715 for additional information. Listed below are resources and links to support the catechetical and faith formation of children and adults with disabilities.

Catechist & Home Study Information

The Faith Formation Program at St. Mark the Evangelist depends on the stewardship of hundreds of catechists and volunteers; men, women and older teens, throughout the year. Although the role of catechist may take on many hats at various times, catechists are first and most important of all, a model for children, teens, and adults of all ages, of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. By agreeing to be a catechist, they join a long line of dedicated men and women who have answered God’s call to share their faith with others. As important as that role is though, it is not the most important one in the faith formation of their young learners. That role is reserved for their parents, and our role, is to support the parents to the best of our ability.

We assist parents in their children’s faith formation by making more explicit the teachings of the Catholic Church and helping the children celebrate their faith and apply its teachings to their lives. Catechists echo the word of God to others to deepen their understanding and lead them to deeper conversion of heart and mind to God.