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THE PARISH FAITH FORMATION PROGRAM:
WHO ARE WE?
Our Lady of the Snows Religious Education seeks to provide a program that fosters the spiritual development of each child. We try to deepen the awareness of God’s presence in the lives of the children so that they may respond to this presence in prayer and service to others. We accept God as the beginning and end of life, Christ the center of our life, and the gospel as the source guiding our lives through the Holy Spirit. Parents and teachers alike have a mandate from God to work together to provide the knowledge of our faith.
The Religious Education Program enrolls approximately 260 Public School children in grades Pre-K through High School. There are 22 classes that meet on Sunday mornings from 10:30 AM – 12:00PM. Classes are in session from September through May. The Teen Catechetical Program meets twice a month from October through April on Wednesday evenings from 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM. Children with special needs who have difficulty functioning in a regular classroom are taught on a one-to-one basis on Sunday mornings.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION STAFF & FACULTY
Mrs. Regina Moreno has been Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Snows for the past twenty one years and is also the Parish Pastoral Associate. She is a New York State certified teacher with a Master of Science in Education from Queens College and a Master of Arts in Theology from St. John’s University. She is a member of the “”National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors” and “National Association of Lay Ministers,” a Supervisor for the Pastoral Institute, part of the evaluation team for the Diocesan Diaconate Formation Program, a member of the Art and Architecture Commission, Director of the Baptism Preparation Program at Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church in Queens Village, a presenter in the Diocesan Pre-Cana Program, a VIRTUS facilitator for the “Protecting God’s Children” program, and a Faculty Member for Liturgical Ministry Training in the Diocese of Brooklyn. She is also an ex-officio member of the Parish Pastoral Council and mentors the Spirituality, Special Events and Children’s Liturgy of the Word committees. Her responsibilities in the parish include: Religious Education, Altar Servers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Safe Environment and Liturgy.
Aside from the Director and the Secretary, Mrs. Esther Liberto, all who work in the Religious Education Center are volunteers. They are a very special group of people who deserve our respect and admiration for giving of their time and talents in serving God and sharing their faith with the children of our parish. Most have completed or are in the process of completing a 50 hour program of initial faith formation for catechists. Others, having already completed their initial formation, are taking ongoing and enrichment faith formation classes! Our Catechists have been teaching anywhere from 1-42 years. Their combined teaching experience amounts to more than 258 years! We are very grateful for their service, for without them there would be no religious education program. Twenty-one Catechists and thirteen substitute teachers serve the Parish Religious Education Program along with nineteen teens who serve as classroom assistants and another eight teens who serve in our office. Several ladies also help us out in the office and at special events. Parental involvement is encouraged.
Pre-K through eighth grade uses a series by RCL/Benziger called “Faith First”. Second graders preparing for the Sacrament of First Eucharist receive an additional text from Sadlier called “We Believe and Celebrate: First Communion” and eighth graders preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation utilize an RCL text called “Confirmation”. The Teen Catechetical program uses weekly handouts from Liguori’s “Journey of Faith for Teens”. All of these materials have been approved by the Bishops of the United States and are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Report Cards are distributed in January and May.
All children are required to have a minimum of two years of instruction before they can receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. All Sacramental celebrations incorporate both the school children and the children from the Religious Education Program. The Sacrament of First Penance is celebrated on a Saturday in March. First Communion is celebrated on a Saturday morning at the end of April. The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered by the Diocesan Bishop in May of the eighth grade after two years of preparation that includes monthly Homily Reports, attendance at Sunday Mass and community service. Most of our Confirmation candidates fulfill their service by volunteering at Parker Jewish Institute for Healthcare and Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park. Students in grades three through eight have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with their class two times per year.
In a special way, parents and guardians serve as the primary educators and witnesses to their children of the Catholic faith. In an effort to assist parents in this most important task we have established family-centered Masses that provide prayerful and liturgical experiences for our second graders and their parents as they prepare to receive the Sacraments of First Penance and First Eucharist. These “Proximate Preparation Masses” are mandatory for second graders and their parents and are held at the 9:30am Mass once a month between October and December and again from February to March for a total of five Masses. As a further means of bringing families together and building Christian community among our families we hold “Children’s Liturgy of the Word” Masses on the first Sunday of the month from September – December and again from February – May. These Masses help the children to experience the Word of God in an enjoyable and meaningful way on their own level.
LITURGICAL MINISTRIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Boys and Girls in grades 4 – High School can serve at Mass as Altar Servers. Invitations to join are sent home to 4th – 8th graders in September, through the school and Religious Education Program. Training takes place from late September through late October. Jr. Lectors and Jr. Ministers of Hospitality are of High School age and can join at any time. Please see Mrs. Moreno for details. For information about the Children’s Choir and Bell Choir please see the Music Director, Mrs. Kelly.
Any questions or concerns? Care to volunteer?
Please contact us at (718) 347-3511
Mrs. Regina Moreno, MS, MA
Pastoral Associate and Director of Religious Education
The following information is available online: