Religious Education

Office Hours: Mon-Thurs 4:30pm-7pm / Closed Fridays

Children’s Religious Education, Sacrament Preparation & R.C.I.C. for Grades 1 – 5

St. Thomas Aquinas Religious Education Program includes religious instruction (Grades 1 – 5), sacrament preparation for First Reconciliation, Confirmation & First Eucharist, and R.C.I.C. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children) for the children of the parish. The R.E. Program assists parents by providing religious instruction and faith formation activities to enable children to learn, to live, and to celebrate the traditional Catholic beliefs and moral values.

Volunteer Catechists and Aides share the Catholic truths with the children in a safe, disciplined, faith enriching environment. Classes strive to nurture the faith development and affirm the family values lived in the home. The R.E. Program acknowledges the primary responsibility of the parents in this life-long faith formation process by encouraging their participation and input. Parents are urged to become involved in the Program’s activities so that the “Church of the Home” becomes an effective sign of Christ in the community.

Parishioners as well as R.E. parents are encouraged to volunteer their time and talents as Catechists (teachers), Aides (helpers in the classroom), or office helpers. Training, supplies, and support are provided these generous people who serve as faith-sharers to the children of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Assigned Catechists receive a 35% discount in their registration fees while assigned Aides receive a 25% discount. Anyone interested in this special catechetical ministry may call the Religious Education Office at (623) 935-2151, x 229 or x 214 to volunteer his/her gifts.

The R.E. Program features a graded faith formation series in which doctrine is organized according to the four pillars of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Scripture is foundational and interwoven throughout the Program. “Take Home” (a Family Time informational flyer) is sent home to parents in order to assist them in raising their family consciousness about God’s presence in the events of everyday life. The grade level series also emphasizes social teachings, evangelization, stewardship, and liturgical celebrations. The informational and formational content is aimed at deepening the knowledge and strengthening the faith of the children being instructed. Events, outreach projects, retreats, family activities, and sacrament orientations provide added enrichment for the children and their families.

Preparation for the sacraments of First Reconciliation (Confession) in Grade 2 and Confirmation & First Eucharist (Communion) in Grade 3 as well as the sacrament preparation for these three sacraments above the usual grade level is available. Instruction for children of Grades 4 – 5 who desire to become Catholic is provided through a special Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (R.C.I.C.) class. Supplies for a Home School Program are also available.

Registration for returning R.E. families is held in March, but enrollment is possible throughout the year-space permitting. New registrations for the Religious Education Program take place in May. Classes meet from mid-September through the month of April on Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings and Wednesday afternoon. Families must be registered, approved members of the parish or reside within the parish boundaries. Fees are due at registration unless special arrangements have been made. Scholarships are available. No child will be denied a religious education because of financial need.

The Religious Education Advisory Board advises and serves as a source of parish input for the Director of Religious Education. The Board meets three times a year with its meetings open to the public. Many Board members are parents of the children in the R.E. Program or are in some way involved in the Program. Anyone with R.E. children or a parishioner with at least one year of attendance at STA is invited to apply for a position on the R.E. Advisory Board. If interested, contact the Religious Education Office.