Faith First Program Info

General Info:

You have made the decision to give your children the gift of faith by passing along your Catholic Faith to them. We realize this is not always easy or convenient but know you are not alone. You have your St. Thomas à Becket Community, and most of all, you have Jesus Christ who blesses you and will guide you always in your journey.

Religion was taken out of the Schools in the early 2000s. Since then, families and religious institutions have taken the responsibility of teaching faith education. Faith Education programs are not simply about sacramental preparation. We also need to teach our children what First Communion and Confirmation can do for us throughout our lives as well as how to live as a Catholic in today’s society.

Faith Education

  • Children are asked to complete each level of Faith Education that runs from Grade 1 to Grade 6.
  • FIRST COMMUNION: Preparation for this sacrament is 2 years, back-to-back and the earliest they can receive the sacrament is Grade 2.
  • CONFIRMATION: preparation for confirmation should start immediately after First Communion and is a 4-year preparation celebrating the sacrament in Grade 6 at the earliest.
  • High School catechesis is offered to those who begin the program a little older.
  • All children will receive age/grade level-appropriate catechesis.

The Pillars of the Program

Over the last few years, the number of registrations was over 500 and 600 children. Because of the large number, here at St. Thomas à Becket, we follow a FAMILY-BASED approach that runs from September-May.

The 4 main components are:

- Mass
- Children’s Gatherings
- Work Book
- Parent/Family component

MASS
Not just a requirement of the program… a requirement of OUR FAITH!
Next to the gatherings, Mass is the most important aspect. It is where our children and ourselves build that relationship with God that lasts a lifetime.
Notwithstanding our catholic obligation to attend every week, we understand families are busy, therefore we ask that you try and attend twice a month as part of the requirement.

  • Weekly reflection: every week before mass, we ask that all children fill out a “weekly reflection”. This is something that the child has done in the past week to be more like Jesus or be a good Catholic. It is a great exercise that, with continued practice, will hopefully have our children seeking out this good behavior. Also, this is our way of keeping record for mass attendance.
  • Children’s Liturgy: This is program separate from Faith First that the children attend during a portion of the mass where they learn about that week’s Gospel at their level. Although not mandatory, we highly encourage you to sign up your child in September.
  • Weekend Masses:
    Saturday at 4:30
    Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 am

CHILDREN’S GATHERINGS
-3 times a year for non-sacrament years
-6 times a year for sacrament years (First Communion or Confirmation year)
After school: 4:30- 6:00 or 6:15-7:45
-Sunday afternoons for High School Program
-These gatherings have a prayer component, a lesson based on a theme and then a craft or activity to accompany the lesson. We do our best to cater to the different learning styles of children at the gatherings so all have the opportunity to learn in a way that is at their level. The main focus of these gatherings is for our children to build community with others while having fun!

FAITH FIRST WORKBOOK
Since we are only able to have a limited amount of meetings at this time, it is accompanied by a catechesis book done at home. All levels follow an age-appropriate book either created by our pastoral team or a textbook from Loyola Press.

All information you will need will be in your child’s book, including your child’s group number, time slot, gathering dates so you can mark your calendars. The book is verified at each gathering to ensure the work is up-to-date. At the last gathering, if the book is up-to-date and all other components of the program are met, the child will receive a Completion Certificate as well as a pre-registration information form for the following year.

PARENT COMPONENT
At your child’s baptism, you agreed to be the primary teacher of the faith to your children. We offer support through different sessions to grow your own faith in order to pass it on to your children. As part of the program, parents are asked to:
- attend and participate at gatherings with your children (during sacrament years)
- attend and participate in different faith/prayer sessions (during non-sacrament years)

FEES:
First Child $95.00
Second Child $80.00
Third + child $45.00
Cheques payable to St. Thomas à Becket Parish
Postdated cheques are accepted
Financial Aid is available by contacting the office

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Returning families: Online registration begins after the last gathering of the year for those who have received their completion certificates. The pre-registration forms, which contain the username and password needed to register, are given out at the final book verification.

New families: Online registration for the 2017-2018 school year is now open for all. Once you have agreed to the Household Partnership Agreement, click on the link for New Registrations on the Registration login page. The FF Key you will need to receive a username and password is FF2017. Follow the online instructions to register. We also require a copy of your child's baptismal certificate (not birth certificate) to complete registration. Last day to register: September 6, 2017.

Please note: In order to obtain the appropriate amount of books and materials in time for September, we are required to make our order in early July. Therefore, although registration for all families is open throughout the summer, we are encouraging parents to register by June 24th. After this date, a $25 late fee will be charged to cover the additional costs of expedited shipping and processing for books and materials.

Elena Castiglione
Faith First Coordinator
514-626-4485
Karen Dawson
Faith First Assistant