It is our sincere conviction that the real aim of catechesis is to bring each student into intimate communion with Jesus Christ. We are dedicated not only to teaching the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles, but helping to form disciples of Jesus Christ and to aid them in discovering the purpose of their life: to know, love and serve God in this world so as to be happy with Him in the next.
Our religious education program provides a comprehensive learning experience of faith formation for children, Kindergarten (optional), two three-year preparation programs for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion & Penance, and Confirmation and a two year interim program. At this time, the Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine (CCD) classes are held on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings September through May.
After the second year of religious instruction your children will make their first Confession and after successful completion of their third year they will receive their First Holy Communion. The children then go on for interim instruction if their age allows for one or two years.
In their sixth grade or greater they enter the three year Confirmation Program. After their successful completion of religious instruction they will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation the following Fall.
A Typical Program – this program is typical but often many students move into the parish at different levels, ages or sometimes with no previous instruction. We try with this program to fit each individual into the proper level for maximal formation and catechesis. A child who is fortunate to begin in Kindergarten or First grade will follow the schedule below.
Kindergarten – introduction to the faith
Level A First year instruction, typically begins in child’s first grade.
Level B Second year instruction and preparation for the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation
Level C Third year instruction and preparation for the Sacrament of the Eucharist
Level 4 Fourth year instruction and catechesis
Level 5 Fifth year instruction and catechesis
Level D Sixth year formation and catechesis
Level E Seventh year formation and catechesis
Level F Eighth year formation and catechesis and preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation
Immediate Preparation for Confirmation in the Fall following Level F.
How to Register
- Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist is complementary to our School of Religion Programs, which should be participated in concurrently.
- Due to current circumstances regarding Covid-19, our 2021-2022 program may continue virtually on Sunday, but we prayerfully hope to meet again in-person. Please register early to indicate your intended participation this fall. We will notify you with additional information about program details as soon as we can.All students must be registered each year. A fee schedule is published annually, and an early registration discount is given to those who register and pay by May 1. The use of “Smart Money” is encouraged and can be used to cover the tuition cost of Religious Education.2021-2022 REGISTRATION FEES
EARLY REGISTRATION – by June 20, 2021 (discounted):
1 Child – $90;
2 Children – $160;
3 Children – $160REGULAR REGISTRATION – by August 31, 2021:
1 Child – $100;
2 Children – $200;
3 Children – $200
Contact Mr. Julian Garcia at the Religious Education office at 201-343-5170 for more information.
Catechists and Catechist Assistants
“The vocation of the laity to catechesis springs from the Sacrament of Baptism. It is strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation…The Lord Jesus invites men and women, in a special way, to follow Him, teacher and formator of disciples. This personal call of Jesus Christ and its relationship to him are the true moving forces of catechetical activity. ‘From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim Him, to ‘evangelize,’ and to lead others to the ‘Yes’ of faith in Jesus Christ’” (General Directory for Catechesis 231; Catechism of the Catholic Church 429)
At Holy Trinity Church we recognize that the mission to catechize has been given to us by the Lord Himself: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) This mission of catechesis is both a gift and a responsibility. It is a gift because we have been chosen by Christ to proclaim the gospel to the next generation: “You have not chosen me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16) It is also a grave responsibility because we have been sent by Christ to be His envoy, to hand on the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21) To fulfill this mission, catechists should fulfill the basic requirements below:
- Be a Catholic who has received all of the Sacraments of Initiation and is in full communion with the Church.
- Live an upright life in keeping with the Catholic Faith that we believe and profess.
- Participate in the sacramental life of the Church including attendance at Sunday Mass and Masses of Obligation and regularly celebrating the Sacrament of Confession.
- Strive for holiness and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through daily prayer.
- Register with the Parish.
- Complete background check and volunteer select forms through the Archdiocese of Newark.
- Complete the Virtus certification program (This consists in a one time, 2-3 hour session).
- Attend scheduled parish catechist meeting in September.
- Be able to attend the scheduled class dates (Classes run from September through May).
Are you interested in serving as a Catechist or Classroom Assistant? Contact Mr. Julian Garcia in the Religious Education office at 201-343-5170 for more information. Catechists’ children receive a 100% tuition and enrollment discount.
The liturgical life of the Church revolves around the sacraments, with the Eucharist at the center (National Directory for Catechesis, #35). At Mass, we are fed by the Word and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe that the Risen Jesus is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a sign or symbol of Jesus; rather we receive Jesus himself in and through the Eucharistic species. The priest, through the power of his ordination and the action of the Holy Spirit, transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is call transubstantiation.
By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (CCC 1413)
The New Covenant
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…remains in me and I in him. (John 6:51, 54, 56)
In the gospels we read that the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper. This is the fulfillment of the covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Last Supper narratives, Jesus took, broke and gave bread and wine to his disciples. In the blessing of the cup of wine, Jesus calls it “the blood of the covenant” (Matthew and Mark) and the “new covenant in my blood” (Luke).
This reminds us of the blood ritual with which the covenant was ratified at Sinai (Ex 24) — they sprinkled the blood of sacrificed animals united God and Israel in one relationship, so now the shed blood of Jesus on the cross is the bond of union between new covenant partners — God the Father, Jesus and the Catholic Christian Church. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, all the baptized are in relationship with God.
The Catechism teaches that all Catholics who have received their First Holy Communion are welcome to receive Eucharist at Mass unless one is in state of mortal sin.
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. (CCC 1415)
The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year. (CCC 1417)
Receiving the Eucharist changes us. It signifies and affects the unity of the community and serves to strengthen the Body of Christ.
Understanding the Mass
The central act of worship in the Catholic Church is the Mass. It is in the liturgy that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus once for all is made present again in all its fullness and promise – and we are privileged to share in His Body and Blood, fulfilling his command as we proclaim his death and resurrection until He comes again. It is in the liturgy that our communal prayers unite us into the Body of Christ. It is in the liturgy that we most fully live out our Christian faith.
The liturgical celebration is divided into two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. First we hear the Word of God proclaimed in the scriptures and respond by singing God’s own Word in the Psalm. Next that Word is broken open in the homily. We respond by professing our faith publicly. Our communal prayers are offered for all the living and the dead in the Creed. Along with the Presider, we offer in our own way, the gifts of bread and wine and are given a share in the Body and Blood of the Lord, broken and poured out for us. We receive the Eucharist, Christ’s real and true presence, and we renew our commitment to Jesus. Finally, we are sent forth to proclaim the Good News!
The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. (CCC 1324)
Sacrament of Penance
There are four steps in the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
- We feel contrition for our sins and a conversion of heart to change our ways.
- We confess our sins and human sinfulness to a priest.
- We receive a penance as an sign of our sorrow for our signs.
- We receive and accept forgiveness (absolution) and are absolved of our sins.
Then, We celebrate God’s everlasting love for us and commit to live out a Christian life.
Sin hurts our relationship with God, ourselves and others. As the Catechism states:
The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity…and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone. To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for the sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world. (CCC 1487, 1488)
A mature understanding of sin includes reflecting upon our thoughts, actions and omissions as well as examining the patterns of sin that may arise in our lives. With contrite hearts, we are also called to reflect upon the effects of our sins upon the wider community and how we might participate in sinful systems.
Contrition and conversion lead us to seek a forgiveness for our sins so as to repair damaged relationships with God, self, and others. We believe that only ordained priests have the faculty of absolving sins from the authority of the Church in the name of Jesus Christ (CCC 1495). Our sins are forgiven by God, through the priest.
The Spiritual effects of the Sacraments of Reconciliation include:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace
- reconciliation with the Church
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation
- an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle (CCC 1496)
Individual confession with a priest is the principal means of absolution and reconciliation of grave sins within the Church. The Sacrament of Reconciliation frees us from sinful patterns of behavior and calls us to complete conversion to Christ. Reconciliation heals our sins and repairs our relationships.
This is the Sacrament in which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven. It results in reconciliation with God and the Church. (US Catholic Catechism for Adults, Glossary)
Saturday: 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.
Children interested in receiving their First Penance should contact the Religious Education office at 201-343-5170.