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Spiritual Life

Faith Development Program

Goals
The goal of St. Joseph Catholic School religion program is to provide faith formation through instruction and experience in the Catholic faith so that the graduates of St. Joseph Catholic School will have:


1. Learned God's message as proclaimed by the Church.
2. Realized Jesus' presence in prayer and worship.
3. Experienced community by witnessing to Jesus through word and deed among classmates and the larger community.
4. Learned the essentials of Catholic doctrine.
5. Developed a lifelong Christian attitude and have practiced it with others.
6. Had exposure to sacred music.


Objectives
The objectives of the religion program provide the students learning experiences so that each student and graduate will have:


1. Planned and participated in prayer services and liturgies.
2. Learned formal prayer and have grown accustomed to praying spontaneously.
3. Learned the principle teachings of the Church as taught by Sacred Scriptures, Tradition, and the Magisterium.
4. Comprehended and been able to explain the life of Jesus and His part in God's plan of salvation.
5. Participated in all-school and/or classroom service projects.
6. Prepared for and received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Eucharist, and Confirmation.
7. Learned the elements of appropriate behavior in Church: reverence, prayer, posture, genuflection, and silence.
8. Gained knowledge and learned to appreciate and respect people of other Christian and non-Christian faiths.


Virtue Formation/Chastity Education (E-142, P-CDOP)
Elementary schools of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria shall integrate programs of virtue formation and chastity education into all areas of the curriculum. All students in grades K-8 will receive chastity education instruction in their religion classes.


Liturgy and Prayer
To achieve the above, several tools are used and experiences planned. Liturgical services and daily prayer are a major part in the life of every St. Joseph student. All students attend Holy Mass each Friday and on Holy Days of Obligation that occur when school is in session. Students also attend Exposition, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on the First Fridays of each month and are given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout the school year.

Each school day will begin with all-school prayer during the morning announcements and a prayer will be said before lunch (in the classroom). Students are encouraged to share their prayer intentions with the school community.

Catholic teachers teach religion every day. The school uses diocesan-approved curriculum and recommended texts for religion and sacramental preparation.

Praying the rosary is highly encouraged especially during the months of October and May. Students participate in special devotions such as Stations of the Cross during Lent, devotions during Advent, the Living Rosary, May Crowning, and classroom saint celebrations throughout the school year. Additionally, students participate in classroom and school service learning projects.


Religion Assessment
A diocesan faith assessment (ACRE) is given in the 5th and 8th grades each year. During the school year, teachers evaluate students in all grades through written and verbal assignments, reports, tests, and projects. Students are given religion grades on their report card in addition to their other academic work.

Sacramental Program
Parental involvement in the preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, the Eucharist, and Confirmation is strongly encouraged. Informational meetings for the parents are provided, as well as opportunities for continuing involvement.


1. Reconciliation: Children are prepared for their first reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the second grade.
2. Eucharist: First Holy Communion preparation occurs during the second grade.
3. Confirmation: Preparation begins to take place during the seventh grade. Parents and sponsors are to be involved in this preparation. Students are required to attend an assigned confirmation retreat prior to the reception of the sacrament.

St. Joseph Catholic School provides days of recollection as part of sacramental preparation. All students preparing for 1st Communion and Confirmation are required to participate in scheduled days of recollection/retreat.

All St. Joseph Catholic School students participate in school-wide and classroom service projects. Participation is required for Confirmation and 8th grade graduation.

Safe Environment Program
St. Joseph Catholic School incorporates the principles of the diocesan Safe Environment Program into its overall curriculum during the school year. It is part of an ongoing effort to help create and maintain a safe environment for children and to protect all children from sexual abuse. Parents have an opportunity to ask questions about the program at the “Meet the Teacher Night” scheduled at the beginning of each school year.


Spiritual Development Plan
A “Spiritual Development Plan” is written each year for St. Joseph Catholic School and is included HERE.