What is GIFT?
Growing In Faith Together is a family-centered approach to catechesis that helps parents grow in their own faith and equips them to guide their children's faith formation. This flexible and engaging approach nurtures faith and helps build community among parish families by combining parish-based group meetings and classroom instruction with at-home activities guided by parents.
For those who participated in Family of Faith during the pandemic year, GIFT is St. Mary's Family Faith Formation 2.0 model where we intend to incorporate your feedback along with our lessons learned to enhance the experience for both parents and children (e.g., in-person sessions, classroom preparation for children to help introduce topics at an age-appropriate level, more out-of-seat activities).
Why family formation?
Faith lived out day-to-day in the home has a lasting impact on children. When parents are intentional about developing their faith knowledge and relationship with Christ, they naturally bring faith into their family's everyday moments. Monthly lessons at the parish support their efforts and further equip them as parents to pass on the faith in the most effective way possible, helping them become stronger married couples and families in faith.
Who should enroll in GIFT?
GIFT is one of two formation options that St. Mary offers to families with children in Kindergarten through 6th grade, with the advantage that both younger and older siblings may participate as well. GIFT is specifically for parents who want to grow in their understanding of our faith, who seek to learn new ways to discuss Catholic teaching with their children, and who are committed to encouraging others and being encouraged by them as we journey together.
Our goals continue to be:
(1) equipping parents to have faith conversations at home;
(2) providing engaging activities for children to learn the faith;
(3) building community among our parish families.
If you delight in the opportunity to be an active participant in teaching your children the faith AND desire to engage with other parents seeking the same, then GIFT is for you!
NOTE: It is suggested that you review the remaining program information on this page, then return here to complete the 3-step enrollment process, beginning with online registration and payment by clicking on the registration icon below.
When and where do GIFT meetings take place?
Emerging from the pandemic, the parish is inviting all families to return to in-person Sunday Mass. In conjunction, through GIFT we are seeking to reclaim Sunday as the Lord's Day for families, a day set aside for Him and for holy rest and rejoicing. GIFT gatherings will usually take place on Sunday mornings in unhurried fashion, beginning with 10:30 AM Mass and continuing afterwards for a couple hours in the Parish Center, classrooms, and outdoor spaces.
These parish-based group meetings will occur twice monthly, generally on a two-week cadence. The first meeting of the month will focus on catechesis while the second meeting will center more on fellowship and community building. Click the icon below to see the schedule of meetings overlaid on the Springboro Schools academic calendar.
How is GIFT implemented?
These are the primary components of GIFT:
- Monthly Teaching Meeting with engaging adult content such as the Kerygma, witness talks, Lectio Divina, difficult moral questions, and how to lovingly navigate faith topics with children
- Classroom preparation for children during the monthly Teaching Meeting to introduce faith topics at an age appropriate level (e.g., preK-K, 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th)
- Enhanced at-home curriculum with more out-of-seat activities for parents to conduct with their children, plus additional content that explores the Mass
- Monthly Fellowship Gathering where parents take an active role in planning and conducting family activities
- Occasional community service opportunities to involve the entire family
We will continue to use A Family of Faith from Sophia Institute as the base curriculum for our family catechesis program, to be supplemented with additional resources throughout the year. Following GIFT registration, please order one copy each of the red Vol II: The Sacraments Parent's Guide and Activity Book for your family by clicking on the image below. Use discount code "STM35" at checkout. During checkout you will be prompted to sign in or create a free Sophia account.
We will also continue using the Slack platform as the primary mode of communication with families, as well as to foster conversation and sharing. A new private workspace has been created for this year, so please sign up by clicking the icon below.
A sample meeting format for the monthly Teaching Meeting (held on the 1st or 2nd Sunday of the month) is shown below:
10:30 - 11:30 Holy Mass!
11:30 - 12:00 Meal/snack and social time
12:00 - 1:00 Kids in classrooms, parent talk in the church or Parish Center
1:00 - 1:30 Children bring back a faith sharing activity to be completed with their family
The monthly Fellowship Gathering will be held on the 3rd or 4th Sunday beginning with 10:30 AM Mass, followed by food, family activities and fellowship.