Education

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Faith Formation

Faith formation classes meet September through May from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. All class meet in the Boogaard Hall.

Our catechists are dedicated to helping parents hand-on the faith to our young people. In addition, we encourage catechists to complete the diocesan Pathways Certification Program which includes an introduction into the art of classroom teaching and guides them through their own personal spiritual growth.

In addition, we enforce the VIRTUS training and conduct background screenings on all our volunteers to ensure safety for all our children. We work hard to ensure each child is learning in a safe environment.

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Sacramental Preparation

Baptism
Parents who wish to seek the Sacrament of Baptism for their children who are not of catechetical age are invited to call the Christian Formation Office to schedule a date and time for a preparation session(s).

Parents are encouraged to be registered members of the parish. If the parents have a special affiliation with another Catholic church (i.e. church of their baptism and/or marriage), special arrangements need to be made between the pastor of OLBS and their parish.

Church guidelines state that “Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized within the first few weeks.” Ideally, parents should receive instruction before the birth of the child and schedule Baptism soon thereafter.

If a child is between that ages of 3 and 7, it is suggested that the child receive some instruction on the significance of baptism and what to expect during the rite of baptism. This instruction can also be scheduled by calling the Christian Formation Coordinator at (804) 843-3125.

Baptism Preparation for Children of Catechetical Age
The Church defines the age of reason to be seven years old. Children of this age or older are to be prepared for baptism following an age-appropriate RCIA model. The preparation process is to help the child understand the need for a relationship with Christ, being part of the Body of Christ and to follow Jesus’ command to love others through service.

This preparation is to be separate from regular religious education class time and time for prayer and reflection is incorporated. Effort should be made so that these children are fully initiated into the Catholic faith at the Easter Vigil as the process is designed the same as adults – reception of the three sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation).

First Penance and First Communion
The diocesan requirement states that all children must actively participate in two consecutive years of catechesis (at OLBS or previous parish) in order to receive sacramental preparation. The preparation is in addition to regular religious education classes. The preparation is a combination of home-based learning as well as classroom. Catechetical sessions are held for the parents and materials provided.

Confirmation
In the Diocese of Richmond, teens celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation during their sophomore year. Preparation is in addition to regular religious education classes. Sessions are scheduled on Sunday evenings, and the candidates are required to attend a Day of Reflection/Retreat.

Marriage Preparation
Couples should contact the pastor six months prior to the wedding date. Longer consideration should be given in the case of previous marriages that may need to go through the annulment process. In addition to meeting with the pastor, the couple is encouraged to attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend. The pastor must give permission for the celebration of the sacrament to take place in another parish or to have another priest officiate at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.

Youth Ministry

Our Youth Group is for middle and high schoolers. Meetings are generally held on the first and third Sundays of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Boogaard Hall unless otherwise specified.

Our youth programs focus on spiritual, service and social activities. At times, we seek activities off campus (i.e. bowling, mini-golf, activities with other parishes) which require written permission of parents/guardian.

In addition to parish activities, we also encourage attendance at retreats, the diocesan youth conference and middle school rallies.

Leaders are VIRTUS trained and background checked.

Whole Community Catechesis

At least once per year we conduct an activity to involve all ages of our parish. We come together for prayer, learning and fellowship.

Adult Formation Opportunities

A bible study group meets on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 10:15 a.m. in the Mercy Center.. The class generally utilizes video courses by Ascension Press Publications.

The Young Adult group meets once per month for bible study at 10:15 a.m. in the Boogaard Hall.

Other opportunities are offered throughout the year. Watch for bulletin announcements.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

For those who wish to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, we utilize the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process. Inquiry sessions (informal time to share stories, ask questions and learn basic beliefs of the Catholic Church) are followed by the Catechumenate which is a period of more formalized instruction.

The unbaptized are received into the Church at the Easter Vigil by the reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Those who are already baptized in the Christian tradition are prepared to receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist when they discern, with the assistance of the pastor, sponsor and catechist, their readiness.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

During the Saturday and Sunday Mass times, children ages 2 (two year olds must be accompanied by an adult) through 2nd Grade are invited to participate in Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Dismissal is prior to the readings to allow the children to hear the Word read and explained on their level and pray Prayers of the Faithful. They re-join the assembly during the offertory.

Volunteer leaders are background checked and VIRTUS certified.

Altar Servers

Children must have received the Sacrament of First Eucharist to be eligible to serve. Training sessions are held throughout the year. Dates and times for training sessions will be published in the weekly bulletin.

Vacation Bible School

Each summer, we host a week-longVacationBibleSchoolfor children 3 years old through 6th grade. Sessions are held each evening. Curriculum includes bible lessons, crafts, games and music. Children in the community are welcome to attend as well.

Christmas Pageant

Each December, children have the opportunity to participate in the annual Christmas pageant. The pageant is usually scheduled for a Sunday evening prior to Christmas. Practices are held after class time on Sundays. Prior to the pageant, the parish hosts a covered dish dinner and the Bell Choir performs Christmas carols.

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