Youth Faith Formation

Bring up your children with the training and instruction of the Lord.  (Eph. 6:4)

One of Saint Raphael’s most important activities is the formation of our children in their encounter with the Incarnate, Crucified and Risen Christ.  Essential to parish life is knowing what we believe as Catholics and how we express that belief in love.  As a result, teaching Catholic doctrine and practice are important features of life in the parish. While this responsibility is fundamentally one for the home, the parish takes its role in such formation seriously and joyously.

The model for our religious education program is Generations of Faith, a concept that recognizes and encourages the involvement not only of classroom teachers, but parents and guardians, grandparents and other family members, as well as parishioners in general.  Our class program runs from Catechetical Sunday in mid-September, when our catechists receive a blessing at Mass each year, through Pentecost Sunday, usually in May. 

Please contact Therese Dame at 603-647-2283 or youth@saint-raphael-parish.com.  Registration forms are available online and may be returned to the Religious Education department.  We follow the Manchester School District Calendar; Children’s Liturgy of the Word does not meet on the first Sunday of each School Vacation week or on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Components of our approach to religious education include:

Children’s Liturgy of the Word welcomes all children from age 4  through Grade 5 to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word during the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass. The children’s liturgy begins at 9:25, when they hear simplified versions of the readings for each week,  followed by a class on its meaning with appropriate activities. Children return to the Mass at the Offertory. Pflaum Gospel Weeklies are used and then sent home to be completed with the parents.  We teach approximately 75 students with 10 adult and/or senior youth catechists.

Children are also given the opportunity to learn about Adoration of the Eucharist through our parish program, meeting four times each year.  From 9:30-11 am on designated Saturday mornings, the children learn about Adoration, sing songs, and spend time in prayer.  The instructional time is followed by a craft and snack.

Middle School Youth Ministry (Grades 6-8) includes  a class Monday evenings  from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the parish center (entrance on Ferry St.). For texts, we use a combination of Pflaum Gospel Weeklies and the Catholic Faith Handbook, published by Saint Mary’s Press. Approximately 20 students work with three adult catechists each week.

High School Youth Ministry for students in Grades 9-12 meets on Mondays from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the parish center (entrance on Ferry St.).  A variety of materials are used, including the Catholic Faith Handbook, published by Saint Mary’s Press, the Youthworks and Faithways programs prepared by the Center for Ministry Development and Renewing the Vision, and A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry  published United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Students are required to attend a full-weekend retreat in October in order to prepare for Confirmation. Only confirmed students are invited to be on the preparation team for this retreat. Our high school program involves approximately 20 students working with five adult catechists.    

“Whole Church” Faith Formation

To enhance the Generations of Faith program as a model of “whole Church” faith formation, we provide weekly discussion questions in the parish bulletin.   Age appropriate questions are discussed in religious education classes and families are encouraged to use the questions each week to spark family discussion in their homes. Each fall, winter and spring, we organize Family Faith Festivals to enrich the understanding of the youngsters, their family members and our parishioners  on liturgical seasons, Scripture, doctrine, social justice and other topics of concern and interest.

Vacation Bible School is one of our most popular programs each year.  VBS is a week-long program held annually mid-July – please see the VBS ministry site for updated information.  Children of all ages are welcome to attend Monday through Friday from 9am until noon, where they will experience singing, dancing, experiencing Bible Adventures, crafts, games and snacks!