St. James the Apostle Parish

CCD and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

St. James the Apostle Parish's CCD program offers faith formation for children and teens from ages 3 years to 15 years. We are concerned with school-aged children and teens from Pre-school through 9th grade. 

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Children aged 3-6 years are welcomed to enroll in our Level I Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Children gather in the atrium and learn about Jesus through age developmental, hands-on prayer with Scripture, nomenclature, gestures of the Mass, and practical life. All presentations prepare the child for a deeper relationship with God. For more information about CGS, please click on this link: http://www.cgsusa.org/about/default.aspx  
Please call 724-498-0904 for more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. James. 

Children and teens in 1st grade through 8th grade meet once a week with a catechist. We currently use the Loyola Press’ “Finding God” series. This series was chosen for its superb spiral curriculum. Various topics (Creation, the liturgical year, the Mass, Acts of Mercy, Beatitudes, etc.) are touched upon every year but seen in a more age appropriate light and through the lens of the year’s main subject. As a generality, each grade is given a lens to survey the faith through: 1st grade – God’s love for us, 2nd grade – God’s love for us in the first sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation, 3rd grade – the Creed and Community, 4th grade – the Ten Commandments, 5th grade – the Sacraments, 6th grade – the Old Testament, 7th grade – the Gospels, 8th grade – the Acts of the Apostles and the early Church.

For more information on the series we use please follow this link: https://www.loyolapress.com/faith-formation/finding-god/finding-god-2013

For more information on the curriculum guidelines of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, please follow this link: http://www.diopitt.org/religious-education-curriculum

9th grade is completely Confirmation preparation. The Confirmation Candidates of this age are asked to complete at least six service encounters that help them to understand their faith in action. They are asked to participate in several Masses in various ministries to get a real hands on experience of serving God and community through the Mass. The service encounters are a real hands on experience of taking the Eucharist out into the community and being the Body of Christ to others. They experience one, full day retreat filled with fun, prayer, sacraments, and a better understanding of what it means to be Catholic. There is also a prayer service for the Candidates before they celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. We also have classes where they gather and “review” their Catholic faith together. We currently use Dynamic Catholic’s Confirmation series “Decision Point.”

Overall, our goal is to give them a wide experience of all that it means to be a practicing Catholic, since Confirmation is not graduation from, but fuller participation in the faith.

For more information on the series we use for Confirmation, please follow this link: https://dynamiccatholic.com/confirmation  

For more information on the policies and guidelines of Confirmation and other sacraments of initiation, please follow this link: http://www.diopitt.org/policies