Welcome to the St. J's Collaborative Office of Faith Formation, serving both Our Lady of Grace Parish and St. John the Evangelist Parish!
Religious Ed. Office
28 Tarbell Street
Pepperell, MA 01463
We are pleased to announce the 2022-2023 schedule for religious education!
As we begin this new year, we would like for all our religious education families to return to the regular practice of their faith, that is, to weekly attendance at Mass. We feel this so important that, if it comes to a competition between going to religious education class and attending Sunday Mass, our strong preference would be that you attend Mass!
For Catholics, the worship of the one, true God one hour a week is a grave obligation. Indeed, as Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2181 says, "The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin." Those are strong words! But we can recall the words of the 3rd commandment: "Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). For us Christians, the sabbath day (Saturday) is transferred to Sunday, which is the Lord's Day (the day of the Resurrection).
Receiving religious education (what used to be called "CCD") can be an invaluable aid to your educating your children about their Catholic faith. But it would make no sense for them to learn about the 3rd commandment at CCD only to watch their parents habitually ignore it from week to week. This would create something of what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance"—that is, a mental conflict caused by a contradiction between what one professes to believe ("I should attend Mass every Sunday") and how one actually behaves in practice ("I should not attend Mass every Sunday").
To be sure, life is busy—we know! And perhaps you might be wondering (quite apart from religious ed.), "Why ought I practice my Catholic faith anyway?" If you are like many school parents, you come from that generation of Catholics which received very poor catechesis (both of your priests are from that generation), leaving many asking, "Why bother at all?" If you find yourself in that category, we invite you to attend "adult catechesis" (a review of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith) led by two experienced catechists (at the same time that your children are in class). Not only will this help deepen your faith, but we hope that it will simultaneously prepare qualified volunteers ("catechists") to teach religious ed. students next year!
In any case, we strongly insist on weekly attendance at Mass for all of our religious ed. families. Perhaps we can "give God a chance"? After all, our eternal happiness depends upon it. And it will make you very happy! If you are ready to make this commitment (and it is a serious one which may require some thought!), then we encourage you to register your child in our program. You are in our prayers!
For Saint John the Evangelist parishioners: Grades 1 and 2 will meet from 10:00am to 11:00am at Saint John's parish hall in Townsend according to the following schedule.
For Our Lady of Grace parishioners: Grades 1 and 2 will meet from 10:00am to 10:50am at Saint Joseph's parish hall in Pepperell according to the following schedule.
For both Saint John the Evangelist and Our Lady of Grace parishioners: Grades 3 to 8 will meet from 10:00am to 10:50am at Saint Joseph's parish hall in Pepperell according to the following schedule.
For Saint John the Evangelist parishioners: Grades 9 and 10 will meet from 10:00am to 11:00am at Saint John's parish hall in Townsend according to the following schedule.
For Our Lady of Grace parishioners: Grades 9 and 10 will meet from 9:30am to 10:45am at Saint Joseph's parish hall in Pepperell according to the following schedule.
There have been a few requests for "home schooling" for non-sacramental years (3rd to 8th grades). For those who are not yet comfortable with a classroom setting for your children, the curriculum will certainly be made known to you, and you can easily guide your child through the workbook. In such cases, we would welcome a meeting with you and your child each semester with one of our priests to discuss your child's progress and to answer any questions!
Please print out the form below and mail (along with the registration fee) to: Religious Ed. Office, 28 Tarbell Street, Pepperell, MA 01463. Checks may be made out to either "Saint John the Evangelist" or "Our Lady of Grace," depending on your parish. The registration fee this year is $100/child (and not to exceed $250 per family). (If this fee is a hardship for your family, please let us know!)