As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, parents have the “first responsibility for the education of their children” (2223). Here at St. Francis of Assisi, our Faith Formation programs support parents as they teach the faith. Children can learn much about the faith from Sunday Mass participation, Faith Formation, and sacramental preparations.
“The director and catechists are the backbones of teaching the children — we provide support, as much as we can for the child and parents, but the parents are the first educators,” says Maribel Talafuse, Director of Faith Formation: Kindergarten to Fifth Grade.
To better accommodate families, Maribel has introduced two weekly class times for Faith Formation. Students can attend on Sunday mornings or Wednesday afternoons. Children entering second grade who have attended at least one year of Faith Formation may begin preparing for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. There are currently more than 200 students attending elementary Faith Formation.
“I want children to encounter their faith in their lessons and learn more about God,” Maribel says. “That is the ultimate goal of Faith Formation.”
Maribel also encourages parents to attend Sunday Liturgy. It’s essential for the formation of children.
“Sometimes, parents or guardians become concerned that their youth will tire of attending Mass or class,” Maribel says. “Youth rejoice in the opportunity to come to church for liturgy, primarily because they are doing something with their fellow students and friends. Youth take their obligations to participate in Catholic formation seriously when parents are supportive of the catechists, ministers, and programs offered.”
In addition, Maribel also works with volunteer catechists to offer Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass. This offers kindergarten to third-grade students the opportunity to learn more about the liturgy at their level.
This past school year, Maribel enjoyed adding unique offerings to the program, including a Nativity, which a catechist put together. The children and youth celebrated St. Nicholas Day and prayed a Rosary for Mary in October.
Working with children and youth to teach the Catholic faith has truly been a blessing for Maribel.
“I love helping these youth learn the faith,” Maribel says. “I just love supporting families as they catechize their children. There is so much to this and so many aspects that I really enjoy.”
Maribel would love to see more adults step forward to teach Faith Formation. She knows it will bless your life like it has blessed hers. The Faith Formation program will have a new, updated curriculum this year, which Maribel also looks forward to.
For more information, or to get involved as a catechist, contact Maribel Talafuse at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-215-4524.