The Middle School Christian Formation Program will be using St. Mary’s Press curriculum— Catholic Connections. The program includes six fully developed courses that the students will explore throughout 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. In each course the participants use a faith handbook called The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers. Catholic Connections aims to strengthen the participants’ Catholic identity and inspire them to participate more fully in the Church’s mission, the mission of Jesus Christ. The handbook is a youth-friendly presentation of the Catholic faith. Upon entering 6th grade each student will receive a Catholic Connections Handbook along with a gift of the Catholic Youth Bible. Students will be expected to bring both books to every middle school class. After the students have completed 8th grade, the handbook and bible will be theirs to keep as life resources.

6th Grade The Old Testament, the Trinity, and the Mission of Christ. Students will explore how thru God, Revelation, and Faith the Holy Spirit moves in God’s people  They will address the question of who God is and how we come to know God. Students will continue to learn more about God’s plan for our salvation thru Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and will be challenged to rely on Jesus as our Savior, role model, teacher, caregiver and guide.  They will reflect on the Holy Spirit and how the Gifts of the Holy Spirit help them respond to God’s love.

7th Grade The New Testament, the Church, and the Sacraments.  Students will explore the New Testament and learn about the beginning of the Church and its mission. They will learn how the Liturgy and Sacraments are celebrations and grow in confidence that going to Mass and receiving the Sacraments have a connection to their daily lives.

8th Grade The Eucharist offers a clear and accurate picture of the Eucharist and its importance to the parish community. The students will explore their own experience of the Eucharist, the meaning of thanksgiving, intercession, procession, sacrifice, prayer and blessing, and much more. Christian Morality and Justice invites students to deepen their awareness of themselves as maturing Catholic Christians and presents them with durable, cherished, values of the Church.

Character and Faith: Growing Up Catholic mini-retreats are part of our middle school program. These retreats are designed to help children develop the understandings, attitudes, values, and strength of character they will need as they enter their teen years. We want to prepare them to make positive, moral, faith-filled decisions now and in the future. The series of retreats (one for each year of middle school) are held at Inspirio and are specifically designed for our Christian Formation program and will satisfy the “Safe Environment Education” (pg. 12) mandated by the Bishops of the United States (see calendar on page 16).

Parental involvement is crucial to the success of the program.  You are welcome and encouraged to participate with your child(ren) in any classroom lessons, various service projects and prayer services. Parents of middle school students will be scheduled in the classroom of their child once during the school year.