Religion/Family Life Programs
Roman Catholic Separate School Boards were originally created to allow Catholic parents the choice of providing an education for their children that would fit into their vision of life as revealed by the Gospel. By entering into a partnership with the parish and the school, parents could ensure that their child would experience education permeated with religious values which would prepare them for their journey of Faith through life.
Catholic schools are to be authentic communities of the Catholic Faith where teachers share their Faith through daily prayer and witness to the Gospel values. The school is a caring community of the Church where the dignity of each person is recognized, where social justice is encouraged within and by the Church, and where students are challenged to become "fully alive". It is often the primary place where young people experience the Church as a community shaped by faith, hope and love.
Over the years, the principles of the Catholic Faith were taught with the support of Catechisms and a variety of textbook series. Presently, we have a Family Life program entitled Fully Alive, produced by the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a Religious Education series entitled Born of the Spirit, produced by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. These are both superb Catholic educational programs that help the student to see the human person as having a physical, intellectual and spiritual nature. These programs help our teachers and parents, through use of the family booklet, to provide a Catholic education for our children based on the authorized teachings of the Church.
The Canadian catechetical series used throughout our school board is Born of the Spirit, for grades K-8.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have endorsed this program and are indeed the publishers of it. Its contents were developed by a resource team associated with the National Office of Religious Education (NORE) in Ottawa.
While the program is not a catechism, it is specifically referenced to and anchored in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative reference source of authentic catechesis. The program is developmental in its approach and age-appropriate in its presentation.
Each successive year of the program builds on the essential childhood education in faith that families provide. It invites the Church to be an active partner in this growth process as well. The various levels of the series seek to provide a progressive and systematic presentation of the basic content of the Catholic faith. The rich catechesis invites children to journey in their faith and develop a meaningful relationship with God.
The series begins with In God's Image, a catechetical resource for four- and five-year-olds. This resource affirms the child in all areas of growth, and celebrates the wonder of childhood as a trace of God. The metaphor "a trace of God" is used throughout the resource to express how the activities, growth and very being of the child are gifts and reminders of God.
- Earth Times
- Church Times
- Special Days
The catechetical series continued to nurture the child's everyday faith life. It focuses on our basic need to belong.
Year 1, We Belong to God
shows how God loves us unconditionally.
- Unit 1 - Welcoming one another
- Unit 2 - Being welcomed by Jesus
- Unit 3 - Hearing about God through Jesus
- Unit 4 - God dwelling among us
- Unit 5 - God being with us always
- Unit 6 - Being called by name
- Unit 7 - Doing God's will
- Unit 8 - Belonging to God's family
- Unit 9 - Being gathered by the Holy Spirit
- Unit 10 - Being born of the Spirit
Year 2, We Belong to the Lord Jesus
makes that belonging concrete in the person of Jesus, who invites us into personal friendship and spreads a table for us in the Eucharist. It presents as a Eucharistic catechesis that follows the chronological structure of the Mass. A catechesis on reconciliation is provided in year 2, as well.
- Unit 1 - Let's be friends
- Unit 2 - Let's come together
- Unit 3 - Let's treasure God's word
- Unit 4 - Let's treasure God's presence
- Unit 5 - Let's treasure God's gift
- Unit 6 - Let's take
- Unit 7 - Let's bless
- Unit 8 - Let's break
- Unit 9 - Let's eat and drink
- Unit 10 - Let's go forth
Year 3, In the Spirit We Belong
Explores our belonging to the Church gathered in the Spirit. The overall aim of the program is to deepen the experience of belonging to God through the community of the followers of Jesus gathered in the Spirit.
- Unit 1 - We welcome and gather in the Spirit
- Unit 2 - The Holy Spirit gathers and feeds us at Eucharist
- Unit 3 - The Holy Spirit calls and gathers us in Baptism and Confirmation
- Unit 4 - The Holy Spirit comes upon Advent people
- Unit 5 - The Holy Spirit dwells in Jesus
- Unit 6 - The Holy Spirit dwells in the followers of Jesus
- Unit 7 - The Holy Spirit fills the whole earth
- Unit 8 - The Holy Spirit reconciles people
- Unit 9 - The Holy Spirit gives new life
- Unit 10 - The Holy Spirit is alive
The grade 4-6 program develops further the theme of Church that is introduced in Year 3. Year 4, Come and See, looks at the Church's experience and faith in Jesus. The overall aim of Year 4 is to meet the Lord Jesus through the living experience of gospel witnesses and to explore what it means for us to be a disciple and friend of Jesus today.
- Unit 1 - The Church hands on the Good News
- Unit 2 - The Good News about Jesus
- Unit 3 - Jesus tells us about the Reign of God
- Unit 4 - A light shines in the darkness
- Unit 5 - Jesus "born of a woman"
- Unit 6 - Jesus reveals the compassion of God
- Unit 7 - Jesus say "I am the way"
- Unit 8 - Jesus gives up his life for us
- Unit 9 - "My Lord and my God"
- Unit 10 - Jesus' Spirit is with us
Year 5, May We Be One
explores what the Church does as it gives witness to Jesus in the Spirit. It concentrates on how the Church is a gathering, a communion of people from all nations in and through the Spirit of God. The program presents the Church as the community of God's people where the Lord Jesus is visible, active and present in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Unit 1 - The Church proclaims the Good News
- Unit 2 - The Church believes in the Lord Jesus
- Unit 3 - The Church celebrates God's mighty deeds
- Unit 4 - The Church expects the coming of the Lord
- Unit 5 - The Church welcomes all nations
- Unit 6 - The Church acts justly
- Unit 7 - The Church reconciles
- Unit 8 - The Church loves
- Unit 9 - The Church rejoices
- Unit 10 - The Church witnesses
Year 6, You Shall Be My Witnesses
In the Year 6 program, You Shall Be My Witnesses, the children explore the Christian moral life. They are invited to enter more fully into the covenant of God through the witness of their own lives.
- Unit 1 - The God of friendship
- Unit 2 - The God of the covenant with Moses
- Unit 3 - The God of the 10 Commandments
- Unit 4 - The God who became incarnate in Jesus
- Unit 5 - The God of the Kingdom preached by Jesus
- Unit 6 - The God of the Beatitudes
- Unit 7 - The God revealed in the needy/poor
- Unit 8 - The God revealed in the cross of Jesus
- Unit 9 - The God of the resurrection
- Unit 10 - The God revealed in Christian witness
Grade 7 & 8
The purpose of the Grade 7 and 8 program is to assist young believers in nurturing their relationship with God in and through Christ in the context of a Spirit-filled community. By using the "faith summary" of the Apostles' Creed, this program encourages young believers to participate with the Church in exploring the dimensions of our relationship with God, Jesus and the community of the Holy Spirit.
Year 7, Believe in Me
- Unit 1 - "We"
- Unit 2 - "We believe in God"
- Unit 3 - "We believe in the Father Almighty"
- Unit 4 - "We believe in God... The Creator of heaven and earth"
- Unit 5 - "We believe in Jesus Christ his only Son"
- Unit 6 - "We believe in... Jesus our Lord"
- Unit 7 - "We believe in Jesus... who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary"
- Unit 8 - "He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead"
- Unit 9 - "On the third day he rose. He ascended into heaven"
- Unit 10 - "He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead"
Year 8, Stand By Me
- Unit 1 - "We believe in the Holy Spirit"
- Unit 2 - "We believe in the Holy Church"
- Unit 3 - "We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church"
- Unit 4 - "We believe in the communion of saints"
- Unit 5 - "We believe in the forgiveness of sins"
- Unit 6 - "We believe in the resurrection of the body"
- Unit 7 - "We believe in life everlasting"
- Unit 8 - Amen.
"Fully Alive" Family Life Program
By Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Parents and guardians are the first and most important teachers of their children. Nowhere is this more true than in the areas that are explored in Fully Alive - what it means to be a person, to live in a family, to have friends, to grow up as a boy or girl, indeed, as a child of God.
Catholic parents and guardians want to give their children a godly love of life. They are trying to raise their children by an example of selfless love and generosity. They are also striving to communicate with their children and to impart to them healthy, Christ-like attitudes toward life. They want to give their children the proper attitudes towards sexuality and mature personal relationships.
As the primary educators of their children, parents and guardians have a right to expect their Catholic schools to support them in these efforts (Familiari Consortio, 37). Fully Alive was created by the Canadian bishops to provide this assistance.
Fully Alive offers Catholic parents, guardians, and teachers a special opportunity to work together as partners in family life education. Their special understanding of their child enriches the teacher's understanding. The teacher's experience with the child in the classroom deepens the understanding of parents and guardians. Each group supports the other. And children need the guidance of their parents, guardians and teachers in order to grow in wisdom and understanding.
The themes covered in each grade are: Theme 1: Created and Loved By God Theme 2: Living in Relationship Theme 3: Created Sexual: Male and Female Theme 4: Growing in Commitment Theme 5: Living in the World
Fully Alive is intended to supplement but not replace the catechetical program. It is a religious program, but not the religion program. Fully Alive presumes a complete catechetical program and is designed on the basis that there will be at least four religion classes for every one in the family life. Fully Alive is directed throughout by Catholic teaching, and many truths of faith and morals will be called upon as needed in the program. None of these, however, will receive the complete treatment that properly belongs to the religion program.