Parish Faith Formation Policies
- Weekly attendance at Mass is an essential component of ALL of the Faith Formation programs.
- All parents are requested to read through the youth Faith Formation Family Handbook (available 8/15/16), and to return the Parent Acknowledgement Form to the parish office (or to your child’s catechist).
- Attendance – If your child will be absent, please advise the catechist, and make-up the missed topic.
- For our children in K-3, a parent must do pick up unless a signed note is provided before class. Children in grades 4-8 should not leave the building without a parent present.
- Children who are preparing for any of the Sacraments are expected to participate in all sessions. Absences should be excused, and missed work made-up at home. No more than three absences will be considered acceptable.
- Cancellation – Cancellations due to inclement weather may be posted on WGME, WCSH &/or WMTW cancellation websites & broadcasts. Monday class will be cancelled if school/after-school activities are cancelled by the Wells-Ogunquit School District due to inclement weather.
- Books/Folders – Books and/or folders may be sent home by some catechists each week. Please make sure that your child has her/his book/folder each week. Home activities and notices may be sent home from time to time, so kindly check with your child after class.
- Withdrawing – Please advise the parish if you are moving, or withdrawing your child from Faith Formation classes.
- In order to save on parish resources, e-mail will be the primary means of communication. Families are requested to update the parish on any address, telephone or e-mail changes throughout the academic year.
The Diocese of Portland has mandated that all volunteers and staff who work with children undergo a background check and child-abuse prevention training entitled “Protecting God’s Children”. Additionally, all parishes in the diocese implement the “Think First, Stay Safe” Program.
“Think First, Stay Safe” is NOT sex education, but a personal safety program that has been used in over 1000 school systems nationwide, and has been featured on national television shows, including Oprah, NBC Today Show, CNN and 48 hrs.
The “Think First, Stay Safe” Program improves self-reliance, raises self-esteem and helps students master personal safety skills all while reassuring them that most people are kind, safe and committed to their well-being. Students learn to identify specific lures used in crimes against youngsters and how to employ proven prevention strategies. The program also teaches Internet safety, drug resistance and school violence prevention.
Every class will cover fifteen minutes of this program during several classes in November and December. A complete itinerary of topics covered will be sent to parents prior to these classes, and parents are encouraged to contact Carolyn Houston for more information about these topics or with any questions about the program. Teaching the important life skills that this program offers to children and adults may be the best prevention of child abuse available.
The following are the Educational Philosophy and Educational Goals of “Think First, Stay Safe”:
- Children are extremely bright, exciting to teach, and fun to learn from.
- The life experiences of children are the foundation on which a sound education may be built.
- A child’s brain consists of a data bank more sophisticated and creative than the most powerful computer
- Children are endowed with amazing survival instincts.
- Any aspect of a child’s education improves dramatically when parents are actively involved.
- Drug and alcohol avoidance is essential to the safety and wellbeing of children.
- Children smile and laugh effortlessly; this gift can be easily nurtured.
- Keeping churches safe is integral to ensuring a productive learning environment.
- Children with self-confidence are less likely to be victims of abuse.
- To establish an understanding that the majority of people are decent, caring individuals who are protective of youngsters.
- To teach students to identify and thwart the lures that are used to lead youngsters from a safe environment into one where they are vulnerable to exploitation and other crimes.
- To teach students that sexual abuse and harassment are against the law.
- To advise students that drug use is not only physically and psychologically harmful, but that it increases their vulnerability to sexual assault and other crimes.
- To encourage students to take safety precautions while enjoying the many advantages of the Internet.
- To strive for kinder, more tolerant students, in an effort to lower the incidence of all forms of school violence.
- To assure students that society has legal and moral obligations to protect their safety through enforcement of laws.
- To encourage students to rely on a combination of critical thinking and instincts to help protect themselves.
- To nurture each youngster’s sense of individual worth and urge them to recognize and respect that of others.
- To encourage parents to take an active role in the personal safety education of their children.
- To promote disclosure of any type of abuse or threat to a youngster’s safety and wellbeing.
- To reduce the feelings of guilt and blame often felt by victims of abuse.
- Parents of children in need of Baptismal preparation should contact Carolyn Houston as soon as possible.
- Our diocese has developed a new approach to preparing children to receive the sacraments. This approach involves parents more closely, and will foster a partnership among parents, faith formation coordinators, and our catechists. This method consists of a two-year preparation period. The first (called Year 1) includes children in first or second grade and will focus on the child and parents’ relationship with God and the Church. The second (called Year 2) includes children in second or third grade. It will focus on the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist, and what children need to know so their hearts are fully prepared to receive them. Children will prepare via weekly classes, with the use of their “Be My Disciple” and “Together in Jesus” resources, as well as through several parent-child retreat experiences.
- For children beginning their preparation as 3rd – 8th graders, their preparation will include weekly attendance in their age-appropriate Faith Formation classes, a supplemental class that will meet once a month in addition to their regular Faith Formation class, home study, and parent-child catechetical sessions. A schedule for the older children will be determined once the numbers and ages of those children are determined, with a first meeting to be held in November.
Protecting God's Children
- The Office of Child & Youth Protection is responsible for assisting Bishop Deeley in the Diocese of Portland's efforts to combat and prevent child sexual abuse. Under the direction of Thom Meschinelli, Director for Safe Environment, the Office of Child and Youth Protection is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the diocese’s Safe Environment Training Programs ("from - Protecting God's Children - Office of Child & Youth Protection")
- Below you will find a link to their Website and more information
- Proctecting God's Children
Faith Formation Family Handbook
Vacation Bible School
- A fun, faith-filled, yet educational summer program, Vacation Bible School has become a favorite event of children, teens and adults of the parish! The venue for Vacation Bible School alternates between St. Martha and St. Mary’s each year, and is scheduled to be held at St. Martha’s in Kennebunk this summer from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday, July 24th through Friday, July 28th. The cost for the week is $15 for Holy Spirit parishioners who use budget envelopes ($40 for 3 or more children) and $25 for guests of the parish, or parishioners who do not use the budget envelopes ($70 for 3 or more children).
- Registration forms for Maker Fun Factory Vacation Bible School may be downloaded from this site at any time, or picked up from one of the church offices after June 1st