Welcome to Faith Formation!

Jesus with children

St. John's Department of Faith Formation, 2028 Sandridge Road, Alden, NY 14004    
Phone: (716) 937-6959     Email: faith.formation@stjohnsalden.org

Mary Pat Bonnes - Director of Faith Formation                            email: marypat.bonnes@stjohnsalden.org
Debbie Pirog - Elementary Sacramental Coordinator                    email: debbie.pirog@stjohnsalden.org
Brandon Adkins- Youth Minister                                                   email: brandon.adkins@stjohnsalden.org
Stephanie McCormick- Faith Formation Administrative Assistant   email:stephanie.mccormick@stjohnsalden.org

***10/09/2018 Special Notice for Home Study Student; Packets are still available in the main hallway of the Rectory for students registered for Home Study. Any questions, Please call 937-6959 or email the Faith Formation office at faith.formation@stjohnsalden.org 
*******New work for home study grades 6-10 available at the bottom of the main section of this page. If you would like hard copies, please send an email to Stephanie at stephanie.mccormick@stjohnsalden.org or call the rectory at 716-937-6959.

Faith Formation Office hours:
Monday: 9:30-3:00
Thursday-9:30-3:00
Saturday: 8:30-11:30 

**Please look at the Faith Formation Policy Book for any updated changes to dates
-As of 9/18/2018: on 10/4/2018 for Confirmation Class there is a Student/Parent/Sponsor meeting at 7pm; Notification of facilitator and small group assignments will be available no later than 10/12/2018
-New First Communion Dates are as follows: 05/18- During 11 am mass and 4 pm mass
                                                                       05/19-During 11 am mass

Please view the Policy Booklet tab which includes when classes are not in session and special events

***please note that classes are in session unless listed otherwise

****11/06/2018 Special Notice for Home Study Grades 6-10: Chapter 7 for both class groups are now available, as well as chapter 8 for Lifeteen. If you would like a paper copy please call the Rectory at 716-937-6959 or email Stephanie at stephanie.mccormick@stjohnsalden.org. Links for both worksheets are below. All work is due as you finish and can bring it in, there is no rush.

Lifeteen (Grades 9&10) Chapter 7
Edge (Grades 6-8) Chapter 7
Lifeteen (Grades 9&10) Chapter 8
Edge (Grades 6-8) Chapter 8
Lifeteen (Grades 9&10) Chapter 9
Edge (Grades 6-8) Chapter 9


St. John's Parish believes Religious Education is a continuing journey of faith.  It is one that begins in the home and is reinforced by weekly classes.  We strive to teach the students the basic principles of the Catholic faith, giving meaning to the rituals and symbols of Catholicism and helping them grow in their prayer life. It is our desire to work in conjunction with their families. These classes need to be combined with their family’s daily commitment to practicing the faith (regular mass attendance, commitment to God, service to others and good example).

Formal Faith Formation classes are available for Grades PreK4 - Grade 11.  PreK4 and Kindergarten are not required grade levels, however Grade 1 through 11 are required and students are expected to attend classes at every grade level. 

Preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place in 2nd Grade.  Preparation for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion takes place in 3rd Grade, and preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is a 3 year program and takes place in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade.  Older children who have not received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist will be catechized to on an individual basis. Please notify the Office of Faith Formation if your child is in Grade 3 or above and has not received these Sacraments, so that necessary arrangements can be made.

Pre-K4 through Grade 5 classes and Grades 6,7,8 (Edge Program) are held on Saturday mornings from 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Grades 9 and 10 classes (Life Teen Program) are held on Monday nights from 7 pm to 8:30 pm  

Grade 11 classes (Confirmation) are invited to participate in our Confirmation Preparation program where they meet in small and large group sessions, typically on Sunday or Monday evenings. Class location and date will be requested through a form filled out by REGISTERED families at the parent/student/teacher meeting.

Cell phone use:  We understand that there are certain situations where the students need to use a cell phone.  A classroom setting is not one of them.  Please make it clear to your child that the use of a cell phone for calls, texting, or photography is not allowed.  If you child is sick and need to get in touch with you, that can be done in the Religious Education Office.  The use of these devices is very distracting in class, not only for the user, but also for the rest of the class as well.  If a student uses the cell phone in class, it will be collected by the teacher and after class, it will be returned when a parent comes to the office to retrieve it.

Home study for Grades 1-5:  A book and study guide are given to parents of students.  Instructions are given to cover certain chapters by January and May when a mid-term or final test is taken by the student.  The test is comprised of questions from the study guide.  Specific prayers are expected to be known by appropriate grade levels.  The prayers will asked to be recited after the tests.  A final grade will be determined from the grades of the mid-term and final tests.   

Home study for Grades 6 through 8.  A packet is given to the parent to read and discuss with a student providing short answers to the discussion questions in the packet and then return on specific dates on the instruction sheet.  No tests are required.  Two packets are required to be completed for the school year.

Home study for Grades 9 and 10.  A packet is given to the parent to read and discuss with a student providing short answers to the discussion questions in the packet, then return on specific dates on the instruction sheet. No tests required.  Two packets are required to be completed for the school year.  Home study is not offered as an option for 11th grade in final preparation for Confirmation.

Individual Education:  For those of you who have not had children enrolled before or who are new to the area, we invite you to contact the Faith Formation Dept. for more information about our program.  We offer individual education for those who may not have been enrolled in classes from an early age, and classes for those students with special needs.

All families who participate in the Faith Formation Program are required to be registered with a parish.  If you are registered with a parish other than St. John's, please inform the Faith Formation Office.
Fees are as follows:  $50/child (St. John's parishioner)  ($100 maximum per family excluding sacramental fees)
                                  $65/child (non-parishioner) (no maximum)
                                  $20 First Reconciliation fee (in addition to registration fee)
                                  $25 First Eucharist fee (in addition to registration fee)
                                  $65 Confirmation fee (NOT in addition to registration fee)
Checks are made payable to St. John's Rel. Ed. Dept.
These fees assist to defray the cost of books, pencils, folders, rosaries, scapulars, bibles, etc supplied to the students, as well as supplies for retreats and special events.

We would LOVE your help in our program. We are always looking for co-teachers to share their faith. All catechists are required to be in good standing with the Catholic Church, living their faith in their daily lives, attending regular catechetical meetings where continuing education takes place, and conforming to all Diocesan requirements.

Your dedication to the faith and to your children's learning about their religion will help them find it important as well.  Let's work, as a family, for the benefit of "our" children!
Please contact the Religious Education Office if you have questions about volunteering or enrolling your child.

Safe Environment Training

We can all be part of the solution--- together we can prevent child abuse.  All clergy, consecrated men and women and employees, are required to take Safe Environment Training.  In addition, all volunteers serving minors, working in food pantries or meal service, providing ministerial service in private homes or other facilities and/or administering service in an after school program must be trained. 

In the Diocese of Buffalo all volunteers over 18 years old must complete a safe environment training foundation class.  The current foundation training program is “Protecting God’s Children for Adults" which is a 3 hour program that provides steps that each one of us can take to prevent child sexual abuse. As a component of the training, all volunteers are required to complete a Volunteer Application and Code of Ethics. 

After taking the Safe Environment foundation course, a renewal training through monthly online training is required.  

Please visit virtus.org to learn more about the Diocese of Buffalo Safe Environment Training, to register for  a training class, or to complete online training.

The Diocese of Buffalo encourages anyone who has been a victim of sexual, physical or emotional abuse by any clergy, consecrated life, employee or volunteer of the Roman Catholic Church to contact the police.

Please continue to pray for the end of all abuse and a greater respect of the dignity of the human person.

"Be Bold. Be Catholic." Decision Point