October 2, 2020
Dear Parents and Students,
Welcome to Faith Formation! Last week I met with Fr. Joe and Fr. Scott to discuss and continue the plans for Faith Formation. However, as you all know we had four of our area schools who had classes that needed to quarantine and this week there is another school that has classes in quarantine. This will be an ongoing issue for the months ahead. Therefore, we have made the decision to have Faith Formation online until Christmas. At that time we will reevaluate and see
if it will be safe to attend face to face or continue online.
To help you understand this decision better, I’ll give you a little information. We have students from 5-8 of our area schools each year that have attended Faith Formation in the past. That would mean once we put schools together, then if there is an exposure, it would be an exposure to all of those schools that would be gathered in any particular room. We even looked at putting students from the same school in one classroom together. This could work but once a school is quarantined we have to have a plan B. So for now, we are going to move to online learning and pray we will be face to face after Christmas.
As always, our main objective along with yours is to help our children get to heaven. As we learn our Catholic Faith, this year in particular, we also need to keep everyone safe. Though it is always better to learn in person, we feel online learning is the best way to keep your children and all those involved safe and still teach the faith.
We are excited with the opportunities that this year presents for catechists to work more closely with parents to be the best educators of the faith. The resource we will be using this year is the “A Family of Faith” book. It is not intended for any particular class year or grade but for the entire family. We are planning to Zoom each week for 40 minutes before parents continue guiding their children for the rest of the time that the students would normally be in class. There will be activities and/or projects to help reinforce what is being taught in that week’s lesson. What better way to learn the faith, than as a family.
As I asked for feedback of whether families would prefer face to face or online, about 75% said face to face and 25% said online learning. Face to face would be our preference too. However, I would like to say that even though we will be having online learning at least until Christmas, the first and foremost part of education would be Mass attendance. Mass is face to face and all families should, and I’m sure will, be attending Mass on the weekend, long before the dispensation is lifted. We have made it very safe. Even Bishop Hurley, who visited our
parish in August, said he believes that in the Diocese of Gaylord we have made Mass the safest for our parishioners and guests.
I’m sure you all know that Bishop Hurley has extended the dispensation for all Catholics within the Diocese of Gaylord from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through and including Sunday, November 22, 2020. However, this dispensation is for all those who have an underlying health condition or other reason that prevents them from attending Mass in person on a weekly basis. If this is your circumstance, you still need to be watching or listening to Mass at home. If this is not your circumstance, please sign up for a MassPas for the weekend Mass by going to our parish website; alpenacatholics.org and go to the MassPas button or you can call the parish office T-W-T from 12-2pm or Friday 10am-12pm and we will help you sign up. Mass is an obligation,
but better thought of as a great opportunity.
As we move forward with online learning, we highly suggest that you make it a point to attend Mass now and not wait until the dispensation is lifted. Mass is truly the first part of catechesis for us to teach as a Church, for parents to guide their children in the faith and also for students. If we consider ourselves Catholic Christian then we need to lead by our example. Jesus, as a good Jew, attended temple or synagogue each week. If anyone didn’t need to attend the religious service of His time, I believe it would be Christ. Yet he spent time in communal prayer each week. We need to as well.
Our second part of catechesis will be an online Zoom session each week. This will not be for each student in each class but each family with other families learning together with a leader. These Zoom sessions will only last 40 minutes. After they are done, you will have activities/projects (age appropriate work for each student) to continue the lesson as a family. Of course, having fun and learning about our Catholic faith as a family will be the best part of this program.
All families will sign in. Just as in face to face Faith Formation sessions, if three or more sessions are missed they will need to be made up. If you choose not to join the online sessions for Faith Formation now and only join when we start back face to face, you have that option. However, if we come back face to face after Christmas, your student will be a ½ year behind (or maybe a whole year, if we continue online into the new year). Therefore, they will have to make the time up somehow. If they are supposed to be in the third year of sacramental preparation, sacraments will be delayed until such time that the lessons are covered. The same will happen with 1st and 2nd year of sacramental preparation. If a student doesn’t participate starting now, they too will be a ½ year or more behind.
In addition to Faith Formation, as is with All Saints Catholic School students, those who wish to receive sacraments will also be part of the three year sacramental preparation process. The information on these parent and family sessions will be forthcoming.
On October 14 we will begin our Faith Formation year by celebrating the month of the rosary and praying a rosary together in the parking lot of St. Anne of All Saints Parish. The rosary will begin at 6:05pm. The distribution of “The Family of Faith” books along with a packet of activities/project to each family will begin at 5:30pm and stop for the rosary then continue again after the rosary until 7:30pm, unless all books are picked up before this time.
In order to be ready for Faith Formation we will need you to fill out the registration form at the bottom of this page. The registration fee is $25 per family (In the past we have had a $35 registration fee for one student, $50 registration fee for a family.) However because of the situation and we understand that some may be having some financial difficulties we have reduced the fee.
When you fill out the registration form in order for this to work, you need to supply an email address that is visited frequently. Also, you will have the option to pay the fee online. If you do pay online please make sure you put in the note box the first and last name of each student. If you choose to send a check to the parish office, please make sure you put the names of each student on a note so that I know who has paid. If you are having financial difficulties and you need assistance, we do have some money for scholarships, please call me to request a scholarship.
We are so looking forward to working with you and your family. Please register as soon as possible. More details will follow in the coming weeks.
God bless you,
In cooperation with, Fr. Joe Muszkiewicz
Fr. Scott Lawler