What is GIFT?
Growing In Faith Together is a family-centered model for 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 to build community among parish families by combining group meetings and classroom instruction with at-home activities guided by parents.
GIFT employs a parallel-learning approach through twice-monthly meetings:
- A leader presents once per month to parents who then engage in small-group discussion and activities to deepen their understanding
- Children participate in lessons with catechists who introduce one or two faith topics for the month
- Parents reinforce the learning at home through select, family-based lessons and activities using Sophia Institute's A Family of Faith curriculum
- Families regather at the end of the month for fellowship and fun activities to assess the children's learning
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 our tri-parish community offers to families with children in Kindergarten through Grade 6, 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!
When and where do GIFT meetings take place?
The schedule for family catechesis in our tri-parish community is shown in the table below:
Family Catechesis Schedule
|Parish||Grades||Class Day||Twice Monthly Class Time||Family Mass Option|
|St. Mary||Pre-K — 6||Sun||11:30 AM — 1:00 PM||10:30 AM|
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! At St.Mary, GIFT gatherings take place on Sunday mornings in unhurried fashion, beginning with 10:30 AM Mass and continuing afterwards for about 90 minutes in the Parish Center, classrooms, and outdoor spaces.
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 - 12:50] Kids in classrooms, parent talk in the Parish Center
[12:50 - 01:00] 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.
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., K-1st, 2nd-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
CONTACT: Chris Robinson
Associate Director of Child & Family Formation