Religious Education Program

The goal of religious education is always to proclaim the message of Jesus and invite all—no matter their age—to discipleship. We are always called to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ. Faith Formation is continuous throughout grade school for children, and should be ongoing lifelong for adults.

We offer two religious education programs for children:

      A Monthly Whole Community Catechesis program

      A Summer Session Plus 4 Events program

See the buttons at left for the registration forms. All families who wish to attend Religious Education Program must be registered parishioners. If you are new to the Church of the Sacred Heart, please stop by or contact the Parish Center Main Office to register for the parish.

Monthly Whole Community Catechesis Program:Children and their families meet once a month to share a snack, pray, and learn together. Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) is a more natural way to foster faith formation in the context of parish life. The program runs 12 months out of the year, beginning each year in September. Families must attend 10 out of 12 sessions. This is not a drop-off program and children must be accompanied by at least one adult. During the program, family members do meet in age level groups to further learning in age appropriate ways. Learning the same topic during a session fosters sharing and strengthens family life.

Summer Session Plus 4 Events Program: Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 am to noon in July. Registration for 2018 is closed.

To be eligible for Summer Session, a child:
• must be up to date in his or her religious education
• have attended 4 events from an approved list of parish events before registration

Why? It is important that children practice their religion throughout the year and not merely learn about it two weeks once a year. Participation at Mass and in parish life is what makes someone a Catholic.

Sacrament Programs
First Reconciliation and First Eucharist: Preparation for these sacraments takes 2 years and begins when a child enters Grade 1. First Reconciliation and First Eucharist are celebrated during Grade 2.

Confirmation: Children must continue Religious Education from Grades 3 thru Grade 8 if they wish to celebrate Confirmation at the end of Grade 8. This sacrament is celebrated in the Spring of the student’s eighth grade and requires the completion of religious education, a Confirmation journal, attendance at a mandatory retreat and 20 hours of service in a Christian setting. Following Confirmation, all are encouraged to participate in the social, spiritual and ministerial life of the parish community.

Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)
To become a Catholic, three sacraments are celebrated: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. Adults who wish to become Catholic as well as teens and adults who never received all three sacraments participate in RCIA to become fully initiated in the Church. This enables them not only to participate fully in the life of the Church but also to help others in their spiritual formation either as a godparent or a Confirmation sponsor. A period of preparation is required before any or all of these sacraments can be celebrated. During this four-step process teens and adults learn about Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, participate and learn about the liturgy and other rituals of the Church, and participate in life of the parish community. This is an open-ended process and not defined by a specific length of time.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why should enroll your child in religious education every year? To become a fully initiated Catholic, a person must celebrate three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

If a person has not celebrated all three sacraments, he or she
      • cannot be a godparent,
      • cannot be a Confirmation sponsor, or, possibly,
      • be permitted to marry in a Catholic parish. (According to Church law 1065 §1: “Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before they are admitted to marriage if it can be done without grave inconvenience.” This implies that a pastor may decide to delay the Sacrament of Matrimony until the Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated.)

Why can’t these three sacraments be done all at once?If someone is going to be Catholic for the rest of their lives, there’s no reason to rush. Spiritual formation should be done properly, allowing the person time to learn, reflect, and live their faith. A thirteen-year-old can understand much more and live their faith more completely than a seven-year-old. Just as it is ridiculous to stop a child’s general education at the age of seven, similarly, we all need education in the faith throughout our lives, gradually growing in holiness, devotion and commitment to Jesus.

Scheduling Note:

If either South Plainfield School District or the parish school building (Holy Savior Academy) is closed, Religious Education classes are cancelled. Cancellations are announced on radio station 101.5 FM and by email.

For Additional Information Contact

Louise Timko

Director of Religious Education

(908) 756-0633  Ext 143    

Louise Timko