Religious Education Program
The religious education program of our school develops in each student an attitude of prayer, respect for the sanctity of all life, and awareness of the presence of God in our world. The program fosters the knowledge and appreciation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the richness of Catholic teachings and traditions. The primary objective of the Religious Education Program is to bring the child closer to Jesus Christ through traditional and spontaneous prayer experiences, modeled attitudes and behaviors supportive of Church teaching and belief, daily religious instruction, Eucharistic liturgies, and prayer services. Peace and justice issues, Catholic social teaching, mission awareness, and Christian/community service projects are an extension of the Religious Education Program.
Religion class is held every day except Mass day, since the homily and scriptures are the instruction for the day. Teachers are expected to spend quality time on the preparation of the lessons, use their manuals as needed, and clearly present a love of their faith to the children.
The classroom environment should reflect Catholicity. A crucifix, statue or picture of Mary, a bulletin board depicting a message of religious significance and/or a prayer corner with the Bible enthroned in a meaningful, prominent manner are all ways to accomplish this. Holy Water is available from the pastor and may be kept in the prayer corner for student and staff use. Great care should be taken that all of the above are kept neat, clean and treated with the utmost respect and reverence.
Prayer begins each day as students and teachers direct their minds and hearts to God and offer Him their daily activities. Students as well as other persons are encouraged to lead the opening prayers. Students may compose prayers, sing songs, and lead the prayer of the day. Teachers help students by witnessing God in their lives by prayer, example and an awareness of God’s presence during the day.
Students attend Mass weekly at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church. Parents/Guardians and the parish community are encouraged to attend and participate in all school religious celebrations. See the calendar area of the school website for scheduled school Mass, Rosary, and other religious events and celebrations.
When Mass or liturgical celebrations are held for the whole school, students should be reminded of appropriate conduct. Respect for the Blessed Sacrament and the sacredness of the altar and sanctuary as well as the church being a place of prayer and worship should be carefully fostered. Bible services, May Crowning, Stations of the Cross, celebration of religious feasts, and praying the Rosary are planned by the faculty and the Catholic Identity Committee.
The Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation
Students of Annunciation Catholic School will receive preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation in their individual parishes according to the policy of the Diocese of Phoenix. The school will support the preparation process taking place in the parish catechetical programs, but not replace it.
We approach Confession as the continuance of Baptism’s gift of forgiveness and conversion. Through the Sacrament of Penance we receive the grace to live as children of God and the strength to serve God and neighbor as Jesus taught (Rite of Penance 7). The Sacrament of Penance helps form our consciences and strengthens us spiritually, and all the while we are continually building our relationship with a loving God and being called to unity with our brothers and sisters.
In the Diocese of Phoenix, the norm for preparation and reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is to be at the age of discretion, when a child is around seven years of age. The grade level at this age tends to be second grade.
2.2: PARISH AS LOCALE OF PREPARATION
2.2.1: Sacramental preparation is to be received in the parish.
2.2.2: There should be one preparation process for all parents and children in a parish, in addition to the on-going catechetical formation that takes place in the catechetical programs and/or the Catholic School.