Many folks at Mission San Luis Rey Parish are asking, what happened to Faith Formation? What is being done for all the children preparing for First Communion and Young Adults for Confirmation? With the inability to meet for religious education classes, youth retreats, and preparation programs, how are our Faith Formation needs to be met?
Bro. Tito Garcia, OFM, our Director of Faith Formation, reports that even though parents and catechists are facing huge challenges with COVID-19, faith formation continues apace at our parish, although the direction taken may be a little different than what we are used to.
Faith Formation isn’t like learning a language or working through a math problem. Faith Formation has its foundation in building relationships. All of the catechists in our ministry are volunteers who share their faith with students whole-heartedly. They are using email, Facebook, Zoom conferences, and good old-fashioned phone meetings. Our Religious Education team has found creative ways to help their catechists and students stay connected and grow in their faith.
Sandra Dominguez, Coordinator of Faith Formation, Judy Torres, Administrative Assistant, and Natalie Ibarra, Coordinator of Youth and Young Adults, worked together to create a video, “Eucharistic Review” so students could finish their sacramental preparation for First Communion.
For our young adults, Miss Natalie also created a Stations of The Cross YouTube video. She also has weekly video meetings with praise and worship and other fun activities.
First Communion and Confirmation usually happen in spring or early summer, with large groups of family members gathered together to celebrate these happy events in the lives of young Christian people. And though no one knows yet when the Sacraments will take place, parents and catechists along with our RE team, are working together using creative means to prepare them as much as possible.
Bro. Tito stressed the importance of being ready for the sacraments by truly knowing and loving Jesus because that is who they receive in the Eucharist. The RE team sent out materials and resources to parents and catechists, encouraging them to stay in touch with their students. They provided fun, home-based projects during Holy Week and Easter which offered an exciting challenge. Projects such as building home altars, biblical reenactment, or making their own rosaries give parents and children time together to pray, talk about God, and share their faith. All of this brings them to know that God is love and that they are loved by God. That is the heart of the Franciscan approach to Religious Education.