St. Bernadette Worship Space

 


 Middle and High School Programs


MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL FAITH FORMATION CALENDAR

Sign up for the MS/HS Faith Formation Newsletter:

YOUTH MINISTRY AT ST. BERNADETTE

Contact the Youth Office
Rena Black, Coordinator of Youth Ministry
renablack@stbernadette.org
410-969-2781

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Faith Formation?
Who is eligible to participate in MS/HS Faith Formation?
Where & When is MS/HS Faith Formation held?
What do the students learn about?
Do the students participate in any special events?
What if my child has a learning difference or disability?
What if we’ve fallen behind?
What if we’ve “missed” a Sacrament (or two)?
What if my child has already been Confirmed, and/or has finished High School Years I & II?
How can I help?


WHAT IS FAITH FORMATION?
Faith Formation—the process of growing in knowledge and love of God, self, and one another—occurs throughout the parish in both formal and informal ways. Our Sunday evening faith formation programs are a formal way to guide our young people in their journey as disciples of Christ and as agents of peace and justice in the world. Faith Formation is a LIFELONG journey, which is why we also provide opportunities for Early Childhood/Elementary and Adult Faith Formation.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN MS/HS FAITH FORMATION?
Students in grades 6-8 (middle school) and 9-12 (high school) who attend public schools or are educated in other non-Catholic (or home-based) educational settings are encouraged to participate in Middle and High School Faith Formation at our parish.

We offer three years of middle school sessions and two years of high school sessions. Our high school students are typically in grade 9 and 10, but we often have older students as well.

Students who attend Catholic schools are invited but not required to attend, but preparation for receiving a Sacrament, like Confirmation, always occurs within the parish and not the school.

In order to register to prepare for Confirmation, students must have completed a year of faith formation (either through a parish or in a Catholic school) in at least the year prior to the year on preparation.

All middle and high school students are encouraged to participate in St. Bernadette’s Youth Ministry, which is a less formal set of events and programs designed to support our young people in developing their leadership skills, growing in community, serving our world, and having fun along the way!

WHERE & WHEN IS MS/HS FAITH FORMATION HELD?
Classes are held at the St. Bernadette Church building on Sunday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

  • Middle School Faith Formation meets 16 times from September through Holy Week, with a break in December.
  • High School - Year I meets 16 times from September through Holy Week, with a break in December.
  • High School - Year II meets 12 times during the same time period, with occasional evenings off to accommodate those who are concurrently preparing for Confirmation.

A complete schedule is distributed at the Parent & Student Kickoff Meeting held in September and is also available here.

WHAT DO THE STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT?
Middle school students attend two mini-course sessions each year, each consisting of eight classes. The basic curriculum comes from The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers (St. Mary’s Press). Topics include:

  • God, Revelation & Faith
  • Jesus Christ
  • The Holy Spirit & the Church
  • Liturgy & Sacraments (with a special mini-course on the Eucharist)
  • Christian Morality & Justice
  • Prayer

High school students (ordinarily 9th and 10th graders) attend two mini-course sessions each year, each consisting of eight (or 6) classes. The basic curriculum uses The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth (St. Mary’s Press) and covers the areas of:

  • The Creed
  • Liturgy & Sacraments
  • Christian Morality
  • Christian Prayer

Completion of Year I (or the equivalent at another parish or a Catholic school) is a prerequisite for enrollment in Confirmation preparation. Year II is designed to complement and support Confirmation preparation but is a separate program from the preparation process.

Additionally, we incorporate the Archdiocesan program Created to Love which is designed to teach young people about the dignity of human life, Catholic morality, healthy relationships, positive decision-making and the sacramentality of marriage.

DO THE STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN ANY SPECIAL EVENTS?
For our Middle School and High School – Year I students, once in the fall semester and twice in the spring semester, we have a special large group program session during the regularly scheduled class time. Topics typically cover issues of social justice, the liturgical season, and issues of pastoral concern for young people and their families (e.g, bullying, etc).

High school students are encouraged to participate in ongoing youth ministry events, particularly the 30 Hour Famine, the Baltimore Youth & Young Adult Pilgrimage, and Baltimore-Appalachia Workcamp.

Middle school students are encouraged to participate in ongoing youth ministry events throughout the calendar year, including the summer service camp called Summer Madness.

WHAT ABOUT SERVICE AND JUSTICE?
St. Bernadette Parish is known for its strong commitment to community outreach and service. We provide several opportunities for the students to contribute to the parish and larger community.

Middle and High School students contribute food to the Winter Shelter and assist with the preparation of our Hall for the Winter Shelter program. During Lent, students contribute to the Habitat for Humanity collection. Specific information about each of these projects as well as individual class service initiatives are provided to students and their parents throughout the year.

WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS A LEARNING DIFFERENCE OR A DISABILITY?
All are welcome! Please let us know what accommodations your child needs in order to learn and to have a positive experience. Information about diagnoses and accommodations is shared only on a need-to-know basis. We strive to keep our class sizes small and to get to know each and every student.

Many of our students have learning differences, and our catechists are given training in how to redirect and support students based on their individual needs. The more information we have on how your child learns best, the better we can support them in their faith journey.

We try to form students with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers whenever possible, and have successfully done so with students who have a wide variety of disabilities:

  • We have several students at any given time who are on the autism spectrum.
  • Our building is accessible for those with mobility issues.
  • Our team has experience with children and adults who have developmental disabilities.
  • Students who are Deaf or hard of hearing can be accommodated upon request.
  • We also have resources to support you in forming students who may need one-on-one attention, especially in preparing to receive the sacraments. For example, we can arrange for materials which allow students who are nonverbal to celebrate Reconciliation!

The basic rule is: Talk to us! We truly believe that the Church needs ALL of God’s people, and that ALL of God’s people deserve to be formed in faith. Visit the National Catholic Partnership on Disability for more resources!

WHAT IF WE’VE FALLEN BEHIND?
For a variety of reasons, it sometimes happens that families miss a year (or more!) of faith formation for their children. That’s okay; it’s never too late to grow in faith! Please contact the Youth Office (for grades 6-12) or the Coordinator of Religious Education (for age 3 to grade 5) so that we can support your child(ren) in the process.

WHAT IF WE’VE “MISSED” A SACRAMENT OR TWO?
The great news is that Sacraments are not just for one age or one grade level—they are for everyone!

We have prepared young people in middle school, high school, and beyond (including adults!) for Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. It is never too late! Please contact Youth Office (for grades 6-12) or the Coordinator of Religious Education (for age 3 to grade 5) to determine the best path of preparation for your child(ren)—or perhaps for yourself!

WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS ALREADY BEEN CONFIRMED, AND/OR HAS FINISHED BOTH HS-1 AND HS-2?
If you have moved from a diocese where Confirmation is offered earlier than the 10th grade and your child has already celebrated Confirmation, be assured that there is definitely still a place for them in our Faith Formation program! The Confirmation preparation process is a separate program from Faith Formation, so we often have students who are in the HS-2 program but received the sacrament at an earlier time, or who have chosen to postpone preparing for Confirmation.

Those were Confirmed at an earlier age but are about to enter at least the 10th grade are also invited to participate in the Confirmation preparation process (including the retreat) alongside their peers. The experience of the Confirmation preparation process in the teen years is unique and a great experience of growing in faith, regardless of when one receives the sacrament of Confirmation. The difference is that such participants will not be “re-Confirmed” at the Confirmation liturgy, though they are encouraged to participate in it along with their peers.

If your child has already completed both years of high school faith formation, we would love to have him or her as an aide or catechist in the Faith Formation program! And they are always welcome to participate in our Youth Ministry, too!

HOW CAN I HELP?
There are lots of possibilities for supporting Middle and High School Faith Formation, including but not limited to serving as adult or teen catechists, adult or teens aides, and substitute catechists. Please contact the Youth Office if you are interested in learning more or have an idea for how your gifts can enhance our Faith Formation program!


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