Faith Formation is Life Long
Learning and growing in our faith, in our relationship with God, is a life-long endeavor. As children, we learn the facts (at least some of them) of our faith, and as adults, we live into the meaning of those facts. We don’t “graduate” at Confirmation with our faith set for the rest of our lives. We continue to grow and mature in our faith as we do in other areas of our lives.
Like any good relationship, our relationship with God continues to grow and deepen as we work at it and at times struggle with it. It is not automatic but it is very possible to “go deeper” with God and with our Catholic faith. “The definitive aim of [faith formation] is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ.” (NDC, #19B)
Faith Formation is Communal by Nature
From our very beginnings, our faith has been communal in nature. Our God comes to us not alone but rather as Trinity, as God in relationship, in community. Jesus gathered disciples around him and spread the faith through men and women. The early Christians gathered in houses to share stories of God, to share food, and to care for each other.
As human beings, we are created in God’s image, which means, at least in part, we are created to be in relationship with each other and with God. We learn our faith and build our relationships with God in community.
Our formation in the faith, both as adults and as children, is best done in community – with other believers. While there are times and circumstances which necessitate individual learning or homeschooling, whenever possible, we strongly encourage that we learn and celebrate our faith with others. Sacraments, especially, are social and communal by nature.
Elementary (grades K-7)
Elementary Religious Education Classes will be held entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will update this page with more information and links to resources as classes begin.
If you are interested in having your child enrolled in Religious Education please fill out the registration form below and send it to [email protected]
First Confession & Communion (Second Grade)
Sacrament Classes will be held entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will update this page with more information and links to resources as classes begin.
If you are interested in having your child enrolled in Sacrament Classes please fill out the registration form below and send it to [email protected]
Below are parents’ guides to First Confession and First Communion.
Confirmation (Grades 8-9)
Sacrament Classes will be held entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will update this page with more information and links to resources as classes begin.
This year we will be going through the Chosen Series from Ascension Press with our Confirmation Students.
If you are interested in having your child enrolled in Confirmation Classes please fill out the registration form below and send it to [email protected]
Below is a parents’ guide to Confirmation.
Youth Ministry (Grades 10-12)
We will be offering an online Bible study for students in 10-12th grade online this year. This is an 8-week course that will help you to understand the Bible and how to read it for all of it’s worth. The study is called T3: The Teen Timeline
To sign up for this course, fill out the registration form below and send it to [email protected]
Young Adult (18-35)
If you are interested in joining an online study this fall, please feel free to join in our Adult Formation class, if there are enough Young Adults who sign up, we can look into creating a Young Adults only class. See below for more details on the course.
This fall we will begin a study called Catholicism, The Pivotal Players, which takes a look at 12 key players in the Catholic Faith.
For more information on this study email [email protected]
Sacramental Preparation for Adults
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)
For anyone who wishes to become Catholic. The RCIA is also for anyone who was baptized Catholic but not raised in the faith and did not celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation or Communion, or for a person who was raised in a different faith and is considering becoming a Catholic.
For those Catholics who have received First Communion but have not been confirmed.
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first sacrament that a person celebrates and the first of three sacraments referred to as “the sacraments of initiation”. Through baptism, a person begins a new life with Christ, becoming a child of God and a Christian. It is the first step in a life in which one strives to become more and more like Christ. Baptism symbolizes and brings about a union with Christ’s death and resurrection. Baptism also creates a bond of unity that links all those who have been baptized.
The ordinary minister of baptism is a priest or deacon. Baptism requires the pouring of water and the pronouncement of the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism for Infants and Children (younger than seven)
The Church baptizes young children based on the desire, in faith, of their parents or legal guardians. Because children younger than seven do not yet have the ability to understand the meaning of baptism, and its rights and responsibilities, their parents are responsible for
- Desiring baptism
- Promising to teach them about God and raise them as active members of the Catholic Church
- Completing a specific preparation for baptism
Baptismal preparation: Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children in the faith. Our responsibility as a parish community is to support your efforts with a preparation program that is meaningful and helpful to you. The steps are as follows:
- Call the parish office (607) 733-3484 to fill out Baptismal Information Sheet
- Attend a Baptismal Class. Class is required if not attended in the last five years.
- Baptism will be scheduled during Mass or privately after Mass at the parents’ choice, pending
the availability of priest/deacon.
Baptismal Preparation Class dates on posted in the parish bulletin; usually once a month in the Faith Formation Building.
A person may have two Godparents. At least one Godparent must meet the following requirements:
- At least 16 years old
- Fully-initiated Catholic (has celebrated Baptism, Confirmation and Communion)
- Practices their Catholic faith
A baptized non-Catholic Christian may serve as a Christian witness in place of one of the Godparents.
Baptism for Adults and Children (seven years and up_)
Recognizing their right and ability to take an active role in considering and preparing for this life- changing step, the Church provides a special process called The Rite of Christian initiation of Adults
(RCIA) for anyone, seven years old or older, who wishes to be baptized Catholic. The RCIA is also for anyone who was baptized Catholic but not raised in the faith and did not celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation or Eucharist/Communion, or for a person who was raised in a different faith and is considering becoming a Catholic.
The RCIA consists of gatherings over a number of months that provide an education and immersion experience in the Catholic faith. There are separate groups for adults and children.
The RCIA is divided into four stages and the stages are marked by rituals of blessing and commitment. The stages are intended to overlap and be open-ended, based on the needs of the participant.
The Period of Inquiry (initial questions and reflection)
Rite of Welcome
The Period of the Catechumen (from a Greek word meaning “teaching”, a period of instruction)
Rite of Election
The Period of Enlightenment (a particularly reflective and spiritual time of preparation)
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (usually at the Easter Vigil)
The Period of Mystagogy (from a Greek word meaning “mystery”; more instruction and reflection about involvement in the community)
For more information, please call the parish office at (607) 733-3484. You will be connected to the correct staff person to answer your questions.
Eucharist / Holy Communion
The Sacrament of Eucharist (Mass and Holy Communion) is one of the three sacraments of initiation that make a person a full member of the Catholic Church. (The other two are Baptism and Confirmation). We Catholics believe that, in Eucharist, bread and wine are changed by God into the Body and Blood of Christ. We receive the real Body/Blood of Christ in Holy Communion so that, together, we may become the Body of Christ in the world.
Following Jesus’ instruction at the Last Supper to “do this in memory of Me”, Catholics gather together, weekly, around the altar to be nourished and strengthened with God’s Word and with the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe that this holy sacrifice and meal is the source of the faith that enables us to live as Jesus taught us to live, and the summit – our most important act of Catholic worship which celebrates and creates Christian unity.
The word “eucharist” comes from the Greek word for “thanksgiving”. We give God thanks for the gift of Jesus. The word “Mass” comes from the Latin word that means “sent”. Strengthened by the Eucharist, we are sent into the world to do Christ’s work.
The parish provides preparation for children and adults who would like to share Holy Communion for the first time. Preparation is a two-year process with general preparation in the faith during the first year and specific preparation in the second year. Typically, children receive Communion in the second grade but it can be anytime from the age of 7 on. The child should have made their First Penance/Confession prior to beginning these classes. Specific information about the classes and preparation is available by calling the Faith Formation Office at (607) 733-3484.
For adults, call the parish office and you will be put in touch with the proper staff person.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation through which a person becomes a full member of the Catholic Church (the other two are Baptism and Eucharist/Communion). Confirmation completes the sacramental grace of baptism. It is a celebration of the presence of the Holy Spirit with us, and a confirming of the spiritual gifts given to us at baptism by the Holy Spirit.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel (right judgment), fortitude (courage), piety (reverence), and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).
Confirmation is usually celebrated sometime after the age of seven years old, typically in 9th or 10th grade, and is usually conferred by a Bishop within a celebration of Mass.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is a two-year program. Call the office for more information.
Penance / Reconciliation / Confession
The Sacrament of Penance is one of two sacraments in which the Lord continues His healing ministry. The other is the Anointing of the Sick. Reconciliation is a celebration of God forgiving love as witnessed by Christ in the Gospels. As Christians, we are called to live a life of ongoing renewal, constantly striving to grow in our ability to love both God and our neighbor in the way that Jesus has taught us to love. When our human selfishness gets the better of us (sin), we need to turn to God with sorrow for our failure to love, and we need to hear God’s words of forgiveness, to know that God always forgives us. That is what happens in the Sacrament of penance. We are given a fresh start; we become signs of reconciliation and healing for others.
At times, this sacrament is referred to as the Sacrament of Penance, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or as Confession. All three titles refer to the same sacrament and each emphasizes a different aspect of what occurs in the sacrament.
The Sacrament of Penance is celebrated at a number of our churches on a regular basis or by appointment. Please check the home page of our website or call our parish office at (607) 733-3484 for the most current schedule.
The parish provides preparation for children and adults who would like to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Preparation is a two-year process with general preparation in the faith during the first year and specific preparation in the second year. Typically, children receive the sacrament of Reconciliation in the second grade but it can be anytime from the age of 7 on. The child must celebrate their First Penance/Confession prior to preparing for First Holy Communion. Specific information about the classes and preparation (for children and adults) is available by calling the Faith Formation Office at (607) 733-3484.
Anointing of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a sign of Christ’s healing presence in the world. Anyone, regardless of age, whose health is seriously impaired or threatened, may be anointed. Contrary to the experience of many older Catholics, this sacrament is not only for those in immediate danger of death, but for anyone whose illness is more than mild or passing, or whose physical, spiritual or emotional health causes them serious worry or anxiety.
This sacrament makes present the healing, restoring power of Jesus at a time when we are at our lowest and most vulnerable. We gain strength to bear suffering with patience and dignity. We are reminded that, whatever we face, Jesus walks with us and with those we love.
Anointing of the Sick may be arranged by calling the office during office hours at 607-733-3484. After hours, emergency numbers are available on the message. It is most appropriate for family members and friends to gather with their loved one when the priest comes for anointing, as the priest represents the entire community that prays to God for their loved one in need of healing.
A communal celebration of the sacrament takes place at special Masses throughout the year.
“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up…”
James 5:14, 15a
The Sacrament of Matrimony (or Christian Marriage) like all of the sacraments, is a visible expression of God’s ongoing presence in the world and an example of the king of love God has for each of us. In Christian Marriage, a husband and wife form a covenant of committed, unconditional, and caring love and they invite Christ to be a partner with them in that covenant.
The unconditional nature of a covenant is different from that of a contract which requires that certain conditions be met by each partner in order for the contract to be valid. The Church teaches that the Sacrament of Matrimony mirrors God’s covenant of love with his people. “God’s love for us is unconditional, eternal, exclusive, and faithful, in good times and bad, in sickness and health.”
Christian Marriage is considered uniquely life-giving. A husband and wife share the privilege of procreating new life. And the surprises and trials of marriage provide countless opportunities to grown in holiness.
Steps for Marriage Preparation
If you are interested in getting married please call the office so you can set up an appointment to meet with the priest/deacon to introduce yourself, start the paperwork, set the date, sign-up for Pre-Cana, or Fully Engaged and obtain materials for planning the actual wedding ceremony.
Pre-Cana is a one-day session presented during the year at the Faith Formation Building. Topics covered: the theology of marriage, spirituality, communication, marriage and family, sacramentality, intimacy, and the Marriage Rite. Guest couples give presentations followed by time for small group discussions.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is known as a “Sacrament of Service to the Community”. By Baptism, all the members of the Church share in the priesthood of Christ. Additionally, some men are called to serve the community as deacons, priests, and bishops.
Deacons have been around in the Church from almost the very beginning – see Acts 6:1-7. The essence of diaconal work is captured in its name: “Deacon” comes from the Greek “Diakonia”, which means “service”. So does that mean a deacon is a servant? Yes, that’s precisely what it means! Deacons do all kinds of things, but at the core, every deacon is a servant.
This servant role is worked out in a variety of ways. Deacons serve in hospitals, hospices, and jails; in soup kitchens and half-way houses; and in many other areas. They exercise their role in the liturgy and formal proclamation of the gospel. Weddings, Baptisms, wake services, preaching, benediction services – these are all part of the work of the deacon. They follow the corporal works of mercy and the liturgical acts as two aspects of service that inform each other.
Typically, a deacon will operate on a part-time basis, earning his livelihood in a secular profession. But as Pope John Paul II pointed out, there is no such thing as a “part-time deacon”. A deacon, by virtue of his ordination, is a servant on a 24/7 basis, even when he is engaged in a part-time assignment.
Information on the formation process to become a deacon is on the Diocese of Rochester website.
By virtue of our Baptism, all Christians are part of a common priesthood of believers. We are all called to participate in Christ’s mission. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops and priests are given a special role in carrying out this mission. They exercise a ministerial priesthood. Deacons also receive a special grace through ordination and are called to assist the ministry of bishops and priests (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1547, 1554). Pope Benedict XVI writes, “The priest is above all a servant of others” (Sacramentum Caritatis [Sacrament of Charity], no. 23). In gathering the community, modeling Christ’s love for the poor, presiding at Eucharist, and evangelizing social realities, ordained ministers help Christians imitate Christ’s mission of love and justice.