Our commitment to the children and families of St. James Cathedral
Parish is to support parents/guardians in your vital role as the first
and foremost teachers of your children in the ways of faith. As
partners with you in this holy work, we make sure your children receive
a strong faith foundation, secure in God's personal love for them and in
the fullness of life that Jesus Christ offers. St. James Cathedral
Vision Statement states, 'As a parish, we will devote ourselves to
prayer, teaching, and service to others. We will continue to
strive to meet our unique responsibilities as a Cathedral in the heart
of a vibrant city.' The Children's Faith Formation programs are one
important way for our parish to achieve this vision. The programs
are open to all children, whether they are Catholic or not, and whether
they are attending Catholic or public school. The Church teaches
that the primary aim of faith formation is 'to put people not only in
touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ.'
Under the direction of our pastor, Father Ryan, our programs seek to provide an
atmosphere of Catholic Christian values and care based on deepening our
relationship with Jesus, God's Son. As a result, we are able to provide
experiences of community, worship and social concern that are integrated
not only in the total experience of your children but also for your
- The Mass is our most important prayer as
Catholics. It is the greatest prayer that we can offer to God
because it is Jesus Christ's own prayer in his sacrifice and sacred
meal that he shares with us. The Mass, which is also called the
Eucharist, meaning 'Thanksgiving,' is our great Thank You prayer
with and in Jesus, to the Father, for all God's gifts of creation
and for giving us his Son Jesus to lead us to heaven, our true home.
The Eucharist is the 'source and summit' of our Christian life
because in it is found the entire treasure of the Church: Jesus
Christ. Our baptism, which made us members of God's family, calls
us to participate in the Eucharist. We encourage you to come to
Sunday Mass regularly as a family, so that together you will have
the opportunity to participate more fully in the life of the parish
and deepen your relationship with Jesus. As a central part of our
Children's Faith Formation program, the Sunday 12:00 Noon Mass
provides particular opportunities for children to actively
participate in the Mass.
- Children's Liturgy of the Word This special
liturgy for our youth is an extension of the Faith Formation
sessions. During the Introductory Rite at the Sunday noon Mass, the
celebrant invites the children to go to the Chapel where God's word
is read and explained to them in a way easier for them to
understand. They listen to God's word, sing the responsorial psalm,
pray the Creed and General Intercessions together, and then return
to their families in the church for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Through this experience, they learn 'full, active, and conscious
participation' in the Liturgy to which Christ calls us as his
- Youth First Sunday On the first Sunday of each
month the 12:00 Noon Mass is celebrated as Youth First Sunday (YFS).
Children participate in a special way at Mass as readers, altar
servers, ushers, and choirs. Youth who have been confirmed also
serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
Sunday School Classes
Classes take place on Sunday mornings 11:00-11:50 AM during the
academic school year for children pre-school age through high school.
Under the competent and caring direction of the Children's Faith
Formation team, volunteer catechists and assistants who are trained and
most of whom are being certified by the Archdiocese, teach the children
according to Archdiocesan Curriculum Guidelines developed by the US
Catholic Bishops. Each grade has a specific theme to focus on during
the year. We have adapted the Archdiocesan themes to fit into the
structure of St. James' Children's Faith Formation program. These
- Pre-School God made you. God made me. God loves
you and me.
- Kindergarten Creation, Jesus and
God's Family (Emphasis on the individual child as a member of God's
- Sacramental Prep 1 Creation, Jesus and
the Church (Emphasis on the church community to which we belong)
- Sacramental Prep 2 Reconciliation,
- 3rd Grade The Catholic Church
- 4th Grade Morality / Catholic Doctrine
- 5th Grade Sacraments
- 6th Grade Scripture: Old Testament
- 7th / 8th Grades Scripture: New Testament
- 9th -12th Grades Seeing, Celebrating,
Living as a 21st century Catholic
Our curriculum materials follow the spiral approach. Topics in faith
knowledge and understanding are addressed in age-appropriate level each year,
increasing in depth with each grade level. This way, each grade level builds
upon the previous year and children learn ever newer ways of seeing, celebrating
and living their Catholic faith as they deepen their relationship with Jesus
Christ. The curriculum materials used in our program have been carefully
selected based on Archdiocesan guidelines in order to achieve the goal of
catechesis which is 'deeper communion with the person of Jesus Christ.'
- BAPTISM: Rite of Christian Initiation for
Adults Adapted for Older Children (RCIA/C)
St. James Cathedral welcomes children of catechetical age (seven
or older), along with their families, on a journey of preparation
for initiation into the Catholic community. Those who have
never been baptized will prepare for the sacraments of Baptism,
Eucharist, and Confirmation. Those already baptized in other
Christian communities will make a profession of faith into the
Catholic Church and will receive the sacraments of Eucharist and
Participants in RCIA Adapted for Children enter a process; a way of
growing in response to God's call. This process occurs within
the entire faith community of St. James Cathedral.
Parents/guardians of children in the RCIA for children process often
find that their child's journey towards initiation prompts them to
think about their own faith, and perhaps to re-examine it in a new
The RCIA initiation process calls for significant family involvement
in terms of some parental class attendance, participation in special
rites during Mass, family prayer, and living the experience of a
Christian life each day. RCIA sessions take place in a
slightly different time frame as the regular Sunday school program,
with classes from 10:30am - 11:50am, followed by participation in
the noon Mass. A schedule with specific class dates and topics
will be provided.
Older children and youth who have been baptized in another Christian
faith tradition, or baptized Catholic but not catechized in the
Catholic faith and who wish to be welcomed to the Table of the Lord
follow the RCIA Adapted for Children process as candidates for
full Communion in the Catholic Church. The candidates meet for
classes along with those older children wishing to be baptized.
- First Reconciliation and First Communion
Parents / Guardians have a significant part in this special
preparation for their children's celebration of these important
sacraments. During the Sunday Faith Formation sessions, the
catechists work with the children to prepare them for these
important steps in their faith journey. But it is the lived
faith at home, role modeled by the parents that best helps the
children to integrate learning into their young lives.
Two-year preparation time: In conjunction with Archdiocesan
guidelines, preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion
is done in a two-year term.
- Sacramental Preparation 1: This
is the first of the two-year preparation period. The
children in this group will be the:
*baptized 1st graders who have been active in our Sunday School
**new students who are in 1st grade, or
***children in 2nd and 3rd grade who have not been catechized or
have not participated in some formal sacramental preparation in
- Sacramental Preparation 2: This is
the second year of preparation. Children in this class
will be those who have done the first year preparation.
New second graders can join this class if they have been
catechized, e.g., they go to a Catholic school, or if they have
participated in some formal sacramental preparation in a parish.
The children will celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and
their First Communion during this year.
Older children from 4th grade and up: Children and youth who
have been baptized Catholic but have not celebrated First
Reconciliation and First Communion will participate in the RCIA
adapted for Older Children sessions.
- Parent / Guardian and Child Sessions for children in
Sacramental Preparation 2 classes. Prior to
the celebration of each sacrament, four sessions with
parents/guardians are held from 10:30 to 11:50 AM in Room 411.
They are an important component of each child's preparation and
are required for celebrating First Reconciliation and Holy
Communion. Please refer to your Sac Prep 2 calendar and
give these dates priority in your schedule.
- Sacramental Preparation Family Conference:
These sacramental preparation conferences are conversations with
the child and family about the sacraments for which the child is
preparing. They are an imperative part of the preparation
for First Reconciliation, First Communion and RCIA Adapted for
Children. They are meant to help deepen the child's
understanding of each Sacrament and assess the child's readiness
to celebrate it. They help to reinforce the parents' /
guardian's role as the primary teacher of their child in the
faith as well as give them the opportunity to ask questions.
Parents sign up for appointments.
- Retreats: Within a week prior to the
celebration of each Sacrament, the children and parents /
guardians will participate in a retreat. These retreats serve as
an important climactic preparation of the group as members of
the Church community preparing for the Sacraments. Please
refer to the calendar for important dates.
- Youth Confirmation Program
High school students who are at least 16 years old are encouraged to
receive this sacrament. Classroom preparation includes 12 class
sessions. Class sessions allow for both large and
small group discussions. A weekend retreat is also required.
Confirmation at the Cathedral parish is usually celebrated in the
spring. Preparation will begin in the winter with specific class
dates to be given when the date for Confirmation is set. Classes
meet weekly on Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN
St. James Cathedral provides many opportunities for children to serve in
their faith community. Our catechists recognize that sometimes, children
may need to leave the classroom early to serve at Mass. An adult escorts
them as a group to the church.
- YOUTH READERS serve by reading at the Sunday Masses. Theresa Van de Ven,
- ALTAR SERVERS assist by serving at the Sunday Masses.
- YOUTH EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION. Some of our
youth who have been confirmed serve in this capacity on Youth First
Laughlin, 206-622-3559 ext 3996
- MUSIC PROGRAM (Youth Choirs) invites children to participate in
its children's choirs. Stacey
Sunde, Director of Youth Music, 206-382-4874
FAITH FORMATION STAFF INFORMATION