Parish School of Religion (PSR)
a.k.a. Parish School of Relationship (PSR)
"At the end of the day, all we really want is to feel loved, heard, and noticed. We want the assurance that if there is a God, he not only hears our cries but also shows that he cares. If there is a God, we want the assurance that we matter. This is the relationship that we crave—because we have been created for it.
Having a relationship with God, then, is the very foundation and purpose of our traditions and religion. The word religion, in fact, finds its root in the Latin religare, which means 'to bind' or 'to be joined together.' So religion is essentially about relationship. In and through religion, people come to know God and one another. Religious traditions and rituals are simply ongoing elements and customs that give lived expression, or form, to this relationship. Though somewhat of a “dirty word” in many circles today, religion is where we share our joys and sufferings vertically (with God) and horizontally (with our brothers and sisters in the faith). In Christian terms, religion is where the vertical and horizontal relationships intersect in the Cross of Christ." 
It is the mission of the St. Mary PSR team to minister to both children and their parents who are committed to growing in relationship with Jesus Christ. We see sacramental formation as more than just forms and classes; it's about relationship and ongoing conversion. We seek to support parents as primary educators of their children in the faith (CCC 2223), providing religious education to students in Kindergarten through 6th grade.
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The 2019-20 academic calendar for grades K-6 has been finalized. This year classes will be offered during the week as follows:
Tuesdays, 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesdays, 5:30pm to 6:45pm
Parents select their preferred day during online registration (see below). Please note the mandatory parent meeting during the first week of classes. Parents are welcome to attend on either Sep 3rd or 4th.
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For the 2019-20 K-6 academic year, we are moving to online registration and payment, which was successfully piloted over the summer with VBS. Before initiating the registration process, however, there are several important points to know:
1) The Parish School of Religion is open to active St. Mary parishioners. For bookkeeping purposes, we track fee payments by parishioner ID (or envelope number). You will need this number (which may be found on your envelope packet) to begin the registration process. If you donate to the parish using EFT and do not know your parishioner ID, contact the parish office for assistance. Office hours are M-F, 8:30am - 4:30pm.
2) You will need to complete and submit ONE FORM PER CHILD. This necessarily means having to enter data (such as your mailing address) multiple times. One of the anticipated benefits with online registration is that, in subsequent academic years, we will be able to provide pre-populated forms to repeat PSR families. Please also note:
- If you are registering several children this year, contact the PSR Director (Chris Stier) who can possibly work some magic to make your life easier.
- The edit function presented after form submission can only be used to correct that particular submission, and cannot be used to create a new submission.
3) While individual form submissions are required for each child, you can (and should) make a single online payment once all children have been registered. The payment link is presented after each submission, so follow it after completing the final registration form. The fee for PSR is $65 per child, with a max of $160 per family. An additional $30 sacramental fee is charged per child for those making First Reconciliation and First Communion in the current academic year.
In the comment box on the payment page you MUST record the name(s) and grade(s) of each child for whom you are making payment, including sacramental fees. Be sure to also include your parish registration number. See examples below:
The Carpenter Family, ENV #789, paid $130 as follows: Joseph (5th) - $65, Mary (3rd) - $65
The Simon Family, ENV #1234, paid $190 as follows: Peter (6th), James (4th), John (2nd) $160 family max + $30 sac fee
You may optionally include payment to fund a child who otherwise cannot afford to attend PSR; record in the comment box as "scholarship". You should receive an email confirmation following your payment.
4) When selecting your PREFerred and ALTernate class days on the registration form, note that we have adjusted the definition of classroom and homeschool families as follows:
- a full-time classroom family intends to have their child(ren) in the classroom most every week of the year
- a full-time homeschool family intends to homeschool their child(ren) most every week of the year
- a part-time homeschool family intends to move back and forth based on extra-curricular activities such as sports
This student classification is intended to provide catechists with better classroom consistency (i.e. knowing the core group of students they can expect each week throughout the year) and to substantially reduce the administrative effort associated with homeschooling (e.g. all resources/requirements set out at the beginning).
Full-time classroom families will be afforded priority with respect to preferred class day selection, but will not be allowed to drop out for an extended period and later return; that flexibility is granted to part-time homeschool families. Therefore, if you anticipate your child missing a sizable portion of the school year (e.g. a full sports season), on the registration form set your preferred class day to 'Homeschool' and your alternate class day to either 'Tuesday' or 'Wednesday' as desired.
5) The Archdiocese of Cincinnati permission/release at the end of the registration form will not be modified. Each year we hear a few concerns about one or more of the terms, but the parish does not have standing to make any changes. The one point which needs further explanation is paragraph #5 (use of photographs, social media and technology). Rest assured at no time will the PSR Team be using social media or technology to communicate directly with any child in K-6. However, photographs may be taken throughout the year by different volunteers and it simply isn't feasible to track a handful of students who should not be photographed. Moreover, we post a record of important events (e.g. First Communion) on the parish website so that the broader St. Mary faith community can share in the joy and spiritual growth of its members.
Ultimately, if you choose not to accept these terms, registration cannot be completed and regrettably your child(ren) will not be able to attend St. Mary PSR.
6) If your child is NEW to St. Mary PSR, is 2nd grade or older, and has NOT received prior religious education, please contact the PSR Director (Chris Stier) BEFORE registering.
 Mark Hart with Joel Stepanek, The 99 Handbook: A Catholic Guide for a Life of Faith (West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2019), 26.