Religious Education

Office of  Faith Formation at St. Pius V

We offer religious education for children grades K to 7 through our CCD Program, and an RCIA educational program for adults converting to Catholicism or seeking to complete their Sacraments of Initiation.  Please contact one of our Directors of Religious Education if you have any questions. They may be reached at 718 739-3731 or by email. We look forward to speaking with you!

WHAT WE DO

Communion-GirlsThe Faith Formation Program ministers to children in the Public Schools from grade 1 through grade 8, offering religious instructions based on the guidelines established by the Diocese of Brooklyn. Our goal is to bring children, together with their parents/guardians, to a more loving and personal relationship with God, and to help to build the foundation of faith, which will last throughout their lives.

It is an eight year program, with one year building on what is learned in the previous year. Children are prepared to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation at the proper grade levels. There is also a class called the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children), children who are past the usual age of the reception of the sacraments. Children who have not been baptized are also prepared for the sacraments and given an understanding of what it means to become part of the Christian community.

Our catechists are dedicated men and women of the parish and surrounding parishes who have a willingness to give of their time, their faith and talents to instruct the children of our parish. Instructions for catechists is provided through the Catechist Courses, which is offered by the diocese and all volunteers are required to take the VIRTUS training workshop and undergo background checks according to New York State laws.

OUR MISSION

Our goal is to bring the message of Jesus to children and share with them our love and knowledge of God in the Catholic faith. Through our classes, we explain God’s relationship with us, and our relationship with God. We teach our children to pray, and attend the celebration of the Eucharist, and we prepare the children for the sacraments. We hope that along with their families, we can set an example of how to lead a good Christian life through a safe, fun, and enriching environment.

Communion & Confirmation (Religious Education) meets on Sunday 10 :30am
Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) meets on Saturday 11:00 am (English) and Sunday 12:00 pm (Spanish)

Directors of Religious Education
Ms. Leonilda Alves
Ms. Carla Pinto

RCIA
Ms. Marthe Helmany
Mr. Alfredo Castellanos

Catechists
Ms. Sofia Almeida
Mr. Tiago Fernandes
Ms. Claudia Fernandes
Ms. Rosibel Rosario
Ms. Cindy Nobre
Mrs. Paula Gonçalves
Ms. Marthe Helmany
Mrs. Sandra Laviscount

CCD Aides
Ms. Kimberly Muñoz
Ms. Jessica Terra
Ms. Diana Castellanos
Ms. Jessica Pinto
Ms. Doris Arevalo


WHAT IS RCIA?
Have you ever heard the initials RCIA or noticed them in our weekly bulletin?  They stand for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Roman Catholic Church’s official collection of rites for initiating adults and for receiving baptized candidates into the Church.

At Mass each week, we hear readings from both the Old and New Testaments. Some are from the letters St. Paul wrote to the communities he visited to bring the message of Christ to everyone he met. After leaving those communities, St. Paul often wrote them to clarify something that had not been understood well enough. The faith communities he founded were growing, and adults were being baptized into a new faith in Jesus Christ. Soon whole families wanted to be baptized, and, so, the baptism of infants became a part of the process of becoming a Christian. In those days, there were no classes or gatherings to explain the new faith to those who wanted to join. Instead, people walked the journey of faith with other faith-filled people.  Newcomers were known as Catechumens, and the process by which they would become members of the faith community was called the Catechumenate.

rosaryFor several hundred years, this process was how individuals and sometimes whole families became worshipping members of the new faith community.  Centuries later, formal instruction before being received into the faith became the popular way of formation, and this instruction came to be known as “Convert Classes.” Sometimes, these would be large groups of people; at other times, it might have been just one person. But these kinds of lessons were what prepared individuals to be received into the Church.

After the Second Vatican Council, the Church decided to return to a process much closer to the one followed in its earliest days, and it re-introduced the Catechumenate. In 1974, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship issued a document titled, “The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.”  Over the next nine years, minor changes were made, and, on September 12, 1983, the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy approved the final version for use here in the U.S. It’s still in use today.

The RCIA is not a program. It is a process. It’s a process of formation in prayer, of receiving and discussing information about the Church’s teachings, and of transformation.  All of it comes from a growing awareness of a need for a personal conversion toward Jesus Christ.  And, all of it is done in the context of a faith community – a parish, such as ours here at St. Joseph.  It’s no longer a process where a person comes to a parish alone for one-on-one sessions.  Instead, interested and inquiring people come to a parish to be greeted by a community of believers – members of the parish who are willing to share their time and their faith to help receive them into full communion with the Church that they, themselves, are part of.

The people who join the RCIA process are often at different stages in their faith journeys – some Catechumens have never been baptized and want to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church; some Catechumens have been baptized in another faith tradition, but want to be received into the Roman Catholic Church; and some Candidates have been baptized as Catholics but they never received Confirmation or the Eucharist. RCIA is the process for each of them.

God Bless.