Sunday, August 19, 2007

This Weekend's Focus

I seem to be doing plenty of public speaking lately! And I think today was the first time I've had the privilege of being at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass four times in one day. :) As the new DRE of our parish, I spoke and took registrations at each of the Masses this weekend. Since this new position is going to receive a lot of my time, energy, and focus this year, I thought it would be fitting to share my speech text. Not that I want to burden you with too many of these...

Anyway, if you would, please keep my role and our program in your prayers. Thanks!!

Good morning! As Father mentioned, I am Claire Halbur, and I am delighted to be your new Director of Religious Education here at St. Joseph’s. The past two years, I have been privileged to work with our Religious Ed Program here as a teacher and assistant to our former Director. It is fitting and Providential that I am now able to move into the role of Director for 2007-2008. I have been able to get to know many beautiful families here the last two years, and the Lord has placed a special mission on my heart to serve the families of our parish in this way.

I am convinced that this work of Religious Education – specifically, forming our children in the Faith - is a very important one in the Church today. Our children and young people are growing up faced with bigger challenges and bigger temptations than any generation before. The Truths of our Catholic Faith are their weapon for living a life of happiness, of fulfillment, and of peace – both here, and forever in Heaven. Parents: you want happiness, fulfillment, and peace for your children, don’t you? The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children”. This means that teaching the Faith to your children is ultimately your job. I beg you, take seriously your right and duty to raise up your children in the Faith.

We are here at St. Joseph’s to assist you in this task. The Catechism tells us that “The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents”. We do this through the Catholic Education offered here at our school, and for those children of our parish who attend Public School, through our Religious Ed program for grades 1 through 8. I must mention that the Diocese requires a minimum of two consecutive years of Religious Education classes in preparation for First Holy Communion or Confirmation. However, it is very important that your child receive the full 8 years of classes for their formation to be as complete as possible, and for them to be well-equipped to face the challenges of young adulthood in today’s society.

We have a great volunteer staff of Religious Ed teachers and assistants who love the Lord, love His Church, and love His children. The books we use are a wonderful, family-centered curriculum, and have been endorsed by primary Church leaders, including Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and Cardinal Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI. In addition, many unique and wonderful activities are part of our program here: monthly family nights, monthly RE Masses in which the children get to specially participate, and a beautiful Christmas play that involves every student in the program. We are focused on giving your children the riches and traditions of our Faith, in all their fullness and beauty. Students of our program learn about the Church year and learn many beautiful Catholic devotions such as the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Benediction.

In the Gospel today, our Lord said: “I have come to set the earth on fire.” That is exactly what we are trying to do here – set your children’s hearts on fire with love: a love that will transform their lives. We are here to help you raise your children to be saints.

We are taking registrations after all the Masses this weekend in the back of Church. I encourage you to stop by our table after Mass to register, or to pick up information for yourself or for a friend. And those of you who are grandparents in the congregation: are your grandchildren being brought up in the Faith? Take a registration packet for them!

I look forward to meeting many of you. Thank you for your time, please keep me in your prayers, and know that you remain in mine. God bless you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Claire!

Wow, DRE! What an undertaking!
May God truly bless you so that all who attend your program will be enriched in the Faith.

I will be praing for you,
An Inspired Reader From IL

Claire said...

Thank you, dear friend! For your kind words, and most of all for your prayers. What a gift.

God bless you!