Adult Vacation Bible Study

Adult bible study will return in June.

Contact Vincent Reilly by email here for more information

Small Groups

For more information about the Parish Neighborhood Communities that will be developing into Small Christian Communities, please click here.  Below is information about the Small Christian Communities that currently meet to study Scripture on the parish grounds.

What are Small Christian Communities?

A small Christian community (SCC) is a small group of individuals who gather to share their faith and life in order to grow in their life commitment to work for the reign of God. They strive to incorporate prayer and ritual, scripture reflection, on-going learning and action to eradicate injustice in our church and society.

We read in scripture about the small communities of Christians who gathered in their homes to follow the teachings of Jesus.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Those who believed shared all things in common. They went to the temple area together every day, while in their homes they broke bread. With exultant and sincere hearts they took their meals in common. The community of believers was of one heart and one mind” (Acts 2:42,44, 46; 4:32).

Since the early 20th century, contemporary small Christian communities have evolved in all parts of the globe quite spontaneously. In Ecclesia in America, Pope John Paul II recommends small Christian communities as a way to reestablish human relationships in church communities:

“It seems timely to form Church communities and groups of a size that allow for true human relationships in the parish. In such a human context, it will be easier to gather to hear the Word of God, to reflect on the range of human problems in the light of this Word, and gradually to make responsible decisions inspired by the all-embracing love of Christ (141).

Why Small Christian Communities?

“Our parishes have become so large and so anonymous, and we’ve been allowed to attend them instead of participating in them. Today people don’t drop out of Church as much as drop-in – occasionally! My hope is that little faith-sharing groups will continue to emerge, connected to parishes. The base community and the institutional parish need one another. The parish needs the small fervent group to keep it honest, to allow and encourage those who want to ask the deeper questions, those who want to go further, those who want to learn to pray, to minister, to study, advocate and lay down their lives for the poor. And the small group needs the parish to avoid becoming sectarian, narrow or lost in personality and trendiness. They must regulate, balance and challenge one another.”
Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Why Be Catholic?

What do we do at St. Catherine’s?

There are many options for a Small Christian Community at St. Catherine’s. We have groups that meet for 6 weeks during Advent and Lent to focus on the upcoming Sunday readings. We have groups that meet year-round for meditation and bible study. We have groups that meet socially for dinner, trips to the theatre, and other outings as a group. Small group members become extended family and rely on each other for help. Whoever you are, whatever your needs or situation, we have a Small Christian Community for you!

Current Small Christian Communities

Christian Meditation Mondays at 7:30 pm Siena Room 12 months
Church in Chronicles Tuesdays at 10:00 am Siena Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Wednesdays at 7:30 pm Fleming Island 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 10:00 am Church Conference Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 7:30 pm Room M 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 7:30 pm Siena Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Fridays at 10:00 am Church Conference Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Saturdays at 7:00 pm Orange Park 12 months

For more information about Small Groups that meet at the Parish, please contact Vincent Reilly by email here.

Christian initiation is celebrated in Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Through these visible actions, a young person is incorporated into the Church and shares its mission in the world. Sacramental catechesis takes place through ongoing remote preparation and immediate preparation.

Ongoing remote preparation is essential prior to sacramental catechesis. In the Diocese of St. Augustine, it is expected that a minimum of two years of documented remote preparation would precede the reception of the above-mentioned sacraments. Remote Preparation is provided through the parish Religious Education Program or Catholic School.

Immediate Preparation for the sacraments involves Religious Education programs, Catholic School programs and those who home school joining together for parent meetings, family gatherings, specific classroom instruction, and/or retreat time. All students in sacramental preparation must attend the appropriate retreat(s): First Reconciliation Retreat & First Eucharist Retreat for the reception of First Eucharist; Confirmation Retreat for the reception of Confirmation.

Canon Law stipulates that candidates must be an age of sufficient reason, have proper knowledge of the sacraments, and participate in appropriate academic and spiritual formation. The readiness of candidates is determined by parents, pastor, Director of Faith Formation, catechists, and candidates in conversation with one another.

Since full initiation is the norm for all Catholics, persons with special needs (families with unique needs, including physical, emotional and mental disabilities but not limited to these circumstances) are to be included within all aspects of the preparation process.

Parents, sponsors, and other role models are encouraged to act as witnesses by their regular participation in church life within the parish.

A privileged time and place for the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist is within the Sunday assembly. The proper context for the celebration of the sacraments is the parish community. Therefore, it is always best that these sacraments be celebrated in the parish where the candidate regularly attends Sunday Mass with his/her family.

Regular Sunday Mass attendance is expected of all families. Students will be issued envelopes that are to be used to keep track of Mass attendance.   Catholic Baptismal Certificates must be on file with the parish in order to receive any sacrament.

Infant Baptism

The information below pertains to the baptism of a Newborn, Infant, Baby or Toddler under the age of 7.  For information on baptism of a child age 7 or older, go to our RCIA page or contact Vincent Reilly by email here.

For more information on Infant Baptism or to begin the process for Infant Baptism, please contact Roger Davey by email here.

Infant Baptism

The custom of baptizing children in their infancy in the Catholic Church is ancient, going back to the very early days of the Church during the time of the apostles. Because of this very old practice, the Church has passed an obligation upon the parents to have their children baptized within the first weeks after birth. Unless there are serious reasons discussed with a priest, this obligation should not be excepted. The baptism of children under the age of seven requires the consent of at least one of the parents (or guardians). A parent may not oppose baptism.  It also requires a well-founded expectation that the child will be brought up in the Catholic tradition. The interpretation of this requirement here at St. Catherine’s is that at least one of the parents (or guardians) must be an actively practicing Catholic.

Baptism of Children and Adults

The baptism of children older than seven years of age and adults is administered through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process follows the ancient initiation practices of the early Church and is required by Church law. RCIA is for persons who may be contemplating joining the Roman Catholic Church whether they have already been baptized into another Christian tradition or not. Those who are validly baptized are not re-baptized when they are accepted into the Church. Preparation for adults typically lasts one year, while the initiation for children and teenagers is a two year process. For more information on RCIA, contact the Faith Formation Office at (904) 264-0577.

Minister of Baptism

The Church requires an ordained minister (bishop, priest, or deacon) to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism except in the case of an emergency. Normally, it is celebrated by one of the ministers of the parish. At times, it may be desired to invite another priest or deacon to minister the baptism. If this is desired, please contact the parish office to obtain permission of the pastor. In cases of emergency (imminent danger of death), anyone may administer the Sacrament of Baptism as long as they desire to do what the Church does, and the correct form of words and pouring water is observed. In this case, if the person lives, the ceremonies of baptism must still be performed by an ordained minister at an appropriate time, although the actual baptism is not repeated.

Requirements for Infant Baptism

St. Catherine’s Parish expects these requirements to be met before Baptism:

a) One or both parents must be practicing Catholics or participants in the RCIA process.
b) The family must be registered members of St. Catherine’s.
c) One or both of the parents must have attended a Baptismal Preparation Class
d) All paperwork must be submitted at least one week prior to the baptism.
Any of these requirements that cause a problem should be discussed with the pastor.

Required Paperwork

The following paperwork must be complete and be submitted to the parish office at least one week prior to the Baptism:

a) Parish membership registration form (if necessary).
b) Completed Godparent Certificate
c) Baptismal preparation class attendance certification if attended at another parish.

Baptism Preparation Class

Baptism preparation classes are held at St. Catherine’s Church for three sessions quarterly in the Formation Center. Please contact the Faith Formation Office to register for the class. We strongly urge couples to take the baptism preparation class prior to the birth of the baby, preferably at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. If you have attended class at another parish within the past three years, baptism preparation can be waived with written confirmation from that parish.  Couples who are not active members of the parish must meet with the pastor prior to attending the baptism preparation class.

Acceptable Names

The Church places few restrictions on the choice of the child’s name. It is no longer required that the child have a saint’s name, although this is certainly a good and encouraged practice. The Church only requires that the child’s name not be offensive to the Christian sentiment.

Names that violate this requirement would probably not be acceptable to the parents nor to the society in which they live.

Godparents

The role of godparent is to help their godchild lead a Christian life. Traditionally, the godparents are the ones who ensure that their godchild receives a Christian upbringing if the parents are no longer able to fulfill that responsibility. They also help the parents in the ordinary circumstances of daily life- by their special concern for their godchild, by the example, and by whatever assistance they can provide in raising the child. Being a godparent is a lifelong commitment!

The godparents should be present at the baptism to profess their faith as representatives of the child’s extended spiritual family and of the whole Church. During the liturgy, they declare their readiness to help the parents “in their duty at Christian mothers and fathers.”

Parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to find a suitable godparent should discuss the problem with the Faith Formation office. We can offer to suggest a parishioner who would be willing to stand as a godparent.

Requirements for Godparents

Being a godparent is a privilege, but also brings with it responsibilities.
According to Church law, godparents must be persons who:

a) are Catholics who have been confirmed and have received the Sacrament of the Eucharist;
b) are at least sixteen years of age;
c) lead a life of faith in harmony with the function they are undertaking and have the intention of undertaking this function;
d) are not the parents of the catechumen or candidate. (Canon 874)

In addition, our parish requires that godparents:

a) complete and have a priest sign and seal a Godparent Certificate Form.
b) attend a pre-baptism preparation course, either at St. Catherine’s or their local parish, within 3 years of the baptism.

Proxy and Christian Witnesses

In some cases, a desired godparent is unable to be present for the baptism ceremony itself. In this case, it is allowable to have a proxy for the actual godparent. The proxy must meet the same requirements as a godparent. Christian witnesses are non-Catholics who have been validly baptized in their Christian tradition. If a Christian witness is selected, they are excused from the written certification required of the godparents, but still must attend a pre-baptism preparation course at a Catholic Church.

Sponsor Combinations

You may choose any of the following combinations of godparents and Christian witnesses:

a) Godmother and godfather;
b) Godmother only;
c) Godfather only;
d) Godmother and male Christian witness;
e) Godfather and female Christian witness.

Church law specifies one male or one female sponsor or one of each; consequently, exceptions cannot be made. We do recognize; however, that some ethnic groups have a tradition of naming a large number of godparents for their children. St. Catherine’s encourages members of such groups to continue this tradition, but the parents will be asked to name the two primary godparents, satisfying one of the above acceptable combinations, whose names will appear in the official records.

Times of Baptism

Since Baptism is a public sacrament of the Church, most infant baptisms here at St. Catherine’s Church are performed in a group setting in the Church. All baptisms are held by appointment only by calling the Parish Office to schedule a baptism at (904) 264-0577 for the following times:

– Most Sundays during any of the Masses.
– Most Sundays after the 12:00noon Mass, generally around 1:30 pm, for the Baptism Rite.

In general, Baptisms are usually not scheduled during Lent, on Easter Sunday, and certain other Sundays as deemed necessary by the Pastor.
Parents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Sunday Mass option for baptism. It provides the opportunity for the child to be welcomed into the Church with the faith community present and in the context of the Mass where the symbolism of Baptism is most complete.

You should begin to plan for your child’s baptism by contacting the Parish Office during the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. Most of the requirements, such as parish membership, the baptism preparation class, reserving a tentative date, and gathering any necessary documents, can be met before the baby is born.

Costs

In the Catholic Church, there is a long-standing tradition of voluntarily offering “stole fees” whenever any special service is asked of the Church. These stole fees help to offset the operating expenses of the Church, the materials used during the administration of the Sacrament, and the time and effort of the celebrant. At St. Catherine’s, we do not want you to feel obligated to contribute a stole fee; however, at the request of those who ask, the suggested offering for Baptism is $25.00.

Continuing Faith Formation  (Religious Education)

Parents’ Role

Parents and godparents should be aware that, by presenting the child for Baptism, they are undertaking an obligation of continuing formal religious education of the child. It is certainly true that the largest part of the child’s religious formation will take place at home. Vatican II states that “In what may be regarded as the domestic Church, the parents, by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children.” Therefore, parents are seen as the primary educators in the faith and family life as the place in which the Gospel is transmitted and from which it expands. While parents are the primary educators of their children, it is the duty of the Church, as the center of faith, to help you in educating your children.

Catholic Marriage

The Church considers marriage as a sacrament instituted by Christ and a source of great grace in strengthening the relationships of a family. While living in a Catholic Marriage is not a requirement to having your child baptized, St. Catherine’s encourages parents who are unmarried to be married in the Catholic Church or who have been married in a civil ceremony or in a different religious tradition to have their marriage blessed by the Church. Families in this situation are required to meet with the pastor to discuss the different possibilities prior to the Baptism. We hope that your child’s baptism will be a great time of grace throughout your family life.

Formal Religious Education

St. Catherine’s Church offers an extensive formation and education program to meet the formal religious needs of the children of the parish. In addition, St. Catherine supports an inter-parish Catholic Elementary School. Annunciation School is located on the grounds of St. Luke’s Parish in Middleburg and enrolls students from Pre-K through Eighth Grade. Catholic parents are obligated to ensure that their children attend their religious education classes regularly and that they are diligent in their studies.

Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation

The Rite of Baptism instructs that “it is the responsibility of the parents, in their gratitude to God and infidelity to the duty they have undertaken, to assist the child to know God, whose adopted child it has become, to prepare the child to receive confirmation and participate in the Holy Eucharist. In this duty, they are again to be helped by the parish.” St. Catherine’s provides family formation for the reception of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation, which takes places a few weeks before the parish celebration of the sacrament. However, all children are required to participate in formal religious education for two years prior to the reception of a sacrament.

Attendance at Mass

St. Catherine’s Parish strongly encourages families to attend Mass together. This includes infants who should begin to attend Mass at a very early age when able to. St. Catherine provides a free nursery in the Formation Center during the 10:00 am Mass to assist you in attending the liturgy. Parents should also be aware that, even though some Religious Education classes are held on Sunday mornings, the Religious Education program is not a substitute for attendance at regular Sunday Mass.

Conclusion

We hope that this document has provided adequate information to help you plan your child’s baptism. If you have any further questions, you may ask them at the Baptism preparation class or you may feel free to contact one of the priests or the Faith Formation Office for a response to all of your questions.

Prayers for Parents and Godparents

For the Child: Heavenly Father, we pray that this child, true to his (her) Baptismal vows, may walk in the light of the resurrection and be true to the Gospel, so that one day, he (she) may see You face to face. Amen.

For Mother: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary’s child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May you bless the mother of this child. May she be one with him (her) in thanking God forever in heaven with Jesus our Lord. Amen.

For Father: Heavenly Father, through the intercession of St. Joseph, father and protector of the Holy Family, may you bless the father of this child. May he be a teacher of this child through his work and example of following Jesus. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Godparent: God our Father, bless these godparents as they fulfill the Christian task entrusted to them. May the example of their lives help their godchild come to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and so grow in age and wisdom before God and others. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For a copy of our Sponsor Certificate that the sponsor must complete and have signed by a priest, please click here.

Youth Baptism

RCIA Adapted for Children & Teens

The baptism of children older than seven years of age and adults are administered through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process follows the ancient initiation practices of the early Church and is required by Church law. Adults who have not been baptized or who were baptized in another Christian faith are invited to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Anyone under 18 years must complete a two-year process for reception of any sacrament. The children will normally receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. Parents are expected to participate with the child in the RCIA program and families are expected to attend all of the rites and retreats required in the process.

Schedule of Events for RCIA Preparation 2014-2015 (Year II Students only)
Rite of Acceptance +
Rite of Welcome*
Sunday, November 2 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Anointing + Sunday, January 11 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Sending*+ Sunday, February 22 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Election +
Call to Continuing Conversion*
 TBA  TBA
RCIA Retreat for Teens*+ Saturday, March 28 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Preparation Rite*+ Saturday, April 4 9:00 am
Easter Vigil*+ Saturday, April 4 8:30 pm
(arrive by 7:30 pm)

+ events for those preparing for baptism
* events for those preparing for Full Communion

For more information about RCIA for children and teens, please contact Vincent Reilly at (904) 264-0577 ext 322 or email him here.

Youth Confirmation

As a Sacrament of Initiation, Confirmation is intimately related to Baptism and the Eucharist. Christians are reborn in Baptism, strengthened in Confirmation, and sustained by the food of the Eucharist. In Confirmation, young people are signed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and become more perfect images of their Lord. This sacrament renews and strengthens their baptismal call to bear witness to Christ before the world and work eagerly for the building up of His body. As the primary educators of their children, parents along with sponsors are to be intimately involved in catechesis for Confirmation. This will help them renew and strengthen their own faith, besides enabling them to set a better example for their children or godchildren.

All students preparing for Confirmation are expected to:

  1. Attend Sunday Mass regularly and use student envelopes to keep track of attendance;
  2. Participate in Confirmation retreat; For an introductory letter, please click here.  For permission slip, please click here.
  3. Attend Confirmation Orientation Meeting and Rehearsal ;
  4. Submit baptismal certificate
  5. Submit Sponsor Certificate  to Parish Office;
  6. 20 hours Confirmation Service with Report; For hours log sheet, please click here.
  7. Report on the saint of your Confirmation name ;
  8. Compose Letter to Bishop (Rough Draft; Final Draft due).

For Frequently Asked Questions about Confirmation, please click here.

For a summary of information a Confirmation Candidate should know prior to Confirmation, please click here.

Immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation includes the following:

  1. Teaches that Confirmation increases and deepens the grace of baptism, imprinting an indelible character on the soul.
  2. Teaches that Confirmation strengthen the baptismal conferral of the Holy Spirit on those confirmed in order to incorporate them more firmly in Christ, strengthen their bond with the Church, associate them more closely with the Church’s mission, increase in them the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1303), and help them bear witness to the Christian faith in words and deeds.
  3. Teaches about the role of the Holy Spirit, his gifts and his fruits.
  4. Is developmentally appropriate and includes retreat experiences.
  5. Includes instruction in the Rite of Confirmation and its basic symbols: the Imposition of hands, the anointing with Sacred Chrism, and the words of the sacramental formula.
  6. Ensures that parents and sponsors are involved in the catechetical preparation of the children for Confirmation.
  7. Teaches that the bishop is the ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation.  (National Directory for Catechesis #36 – A – 2)

For more information about the Sacrament of Confirmation, please contact Roger Davey at (904) 264-0577 or email Roger here.

Adult Confirmation

The Diocese of St. Augustine offers two opportunities each year for adults, 18 years or older, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The dates and locations are announced approximately six months prior to the celebration.  Adults who have received First Holy Communion, but who were not confirmed, are eligible.  During the time of preparation, candidates are asked to review the basic beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.   These sessions last for six weeks and begin approximately two months prior to the celebration.  To register for Adult Confirmation classes, please contact Vincent Reilly in the Parish Office at (904) 264-0577 or by emailing him here.

The next Adult Confirmation sessions begin November 5 at 7:00pm in the Formation Center.

First Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an experience of the gift of God’s boundless mercy that frees us from our sins and also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Rite of Penance we read that the sacrament is a liturgical action. It is the Church’s opportunity to celebrate the presence of God in those areas of our lives needing conversion and forgiveness.

Formation for the celebration of first reconciliation involves the cooperative efforts of parents, pastors, catechists, and children. It is a time when a person is able to encounter a loving and merciful God. The focus of any formation must be on developing and growing a strong mature conscience. Because people grow in different ways and the awareness of sin becomes evident at different times in different people, the time of sacramental celebration should be based on personal readiness. The candidate should be prepared in such a way that the ritual celebration is a joyful celebration, more than a memorized experience. “Catechesis for children prior to their first reception of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation must always respect their natural disposition, ability, age and circumstances” (National Directory for Catechesis, 36).

“It is the responsibility, in the first place, of parents and those who take the place of parents as well as of the pastor to see that children who have reached the use of reason (around seven) are correctly prepared and are nourished by the divine food as early as possible, preceded by sacramental confession” (Code of Canon Law, 914). “Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time” (Catechism of the Catholic Church,1457).

The readiness of the individual child includes:

  1. The ability of the child to distinguish between right and wrong;
  2. The awareness of the need for forgiveness and trust in Jesus’ forgiving love;
  3. The ability to express sorrow;
  4. The ability of the child to describe wrongdoing in his or her own words;
  5. The ability to ask for forgiveness.

Immediate preparation for a child’s first Reception of Reconciliation helps children to:

  1. Acknowledge God’s unconditional love for us
  2. Turn to Christ and the Church for sacramental forgiveness and reconciliation
  3. Recognize the presence of good and evil in the world and their personal capacity for both
  4. Recognize their need for forgiveness, not only from parents and others close to them but from God
  5. Understand how to celebrate the Rite of Reconciliation
  6. Understand that ‘sacramental confession is a means offered children of the Church to obtain pardon for sin, and furthermore that it is even necessary per se if one has fallen into serious sin.” (General Catechetical Directory, Addendum #3)  (National Directory for Catechesis #36 B – 2)

First Eucharist

The information on this page is designed for children who are in second grade and are in their second year of Religious Education.  For information for older children or adults, please click here.

The Eucharist is of such importance in our lives as faithful people that the Second Vatican Council stated that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11). The goal of this catechesis is to help children participate in the Mass in a meaningful, reverent manner. The content of the preparation is to have at its core the format/structure of the Eucharistic celebration. Themes should include “sharing, listening, eating, conversing, giving, thanking and celebrating.” (NCD, #133)

Parents have a right and a duty to be intimately involved in preparing their children for First Communion. Catechesis aims to help parents to grow in understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist and to participate readily in catechizing their children.

The readiness of the individual child includes:

  1. The child expressing a desire to celebrate Eucharist;
  2. The child participating in the Mass with his or her family on a regular basis at the parish;
  3. The child being formed in faith in an age-appropriate manner including basic knowledge of who Jesus is and what he has done;
  4. The child is able to distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary bread.

Immediate preparation for a child’s first Reception of Eucharist:

  1. Teaches the Eucharist is the living memorial of Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all and the commemoration of his last meal with His disciples.
  2. Teaches not only “the truths of faith regarding the Eucharist but also how from First Communion on…they can as full members of Christ’s Body take part actively with the People of God in the Eucharist, sharing in the Lord’s Table and the community of their brothers and sisters.” (Directory for Masses with Children #12)
  3. Ensures that the baptized have been prepared, according to their capacity, for the Sacrament of Penance prior to their First Communion.
  4. Develops in children an understanding of the Father’s love, of their participation in the sacrifice of Christ, and of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Teaches that “the Holy Eucharist is the real body and blood of Christ” and that “what appears to be bread and wine are actually his living body.”
  6. Teaches the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.
  7. Teaches the meaning of reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species of bread and wine.
  8. Helps them to participate actively and consciously in the Mass.
  9. Helps children to receive Christ’s Body and Blood in an informed and reverent manner. (National Directory for Catechesis #36 A – 3a)

All children preparing to receive their First Eucharist must have been prepared for and have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Marriage Preparation

The Definition of Marriage

“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized…. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility.” (Code of Canon Law, Canons 1055 and 1056)

Marriage is much more than two people going through a ceremony, committing themselves to one another and taking up residence. Marriage involves a whole new way of relating between the man and woman and also between the couple and the Christian community. The gift of self is not just to one’s spouse, but also to the Kingdom of God as it manifests itself in the Church.

The matrimonial covenant between a man and a woman establishes a partnership for life. The partnership of the whole of life allows the couple to “grow by means of the joys and sorrows of daily life, in such a way that husband and wife become one in heart and soul and together attain their human perfection.” (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, July 25, 1968) As husband and wife, the married couple recognizes in their relationship the love that God has for them. They mutually seek to share that love with others by living and working actively to contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom.

Marriage is not just celebrated once on the day it is entered; rather it is celebrated anew each day for the rest of one’s life. The “I do” promised on the first day is meant to grow deeper, richer and more meaningful as the days become years. “For better or worse, … in sickness and in health …” cannot exist merely in the abstract, for in their very realization they reflect Christ’s presence among us, His Church, and affirm our belief in His love.

Christ loves us even though we are great sinners. He died for us in order that our sins may be forgiven. Husband and wife love one another and recognizing the weaknesses and failings of their spouse die to self to help save the other. Because the relationship between husband and wife mirrors the relationship between God and His Church, Jesus taught the indissolubility of marriage – “therefore, let no one separate what God has joined.” (Matthew 19:6) We believe that it is impossible for any human being or civil government to break the God-made sacramental bond, or covenant, between husband and wife. Marriage is meant to be forever – “till death do us part.”

Love is forever seeking ways to express itself and to create something. The love between husband and wife ever seeks to communicate, extend itself, to create new life. (This is why there is, in reality, no such thing as a “secret love,” except narcissism.) The physical and spiritual consummation of marriage mirrors the Incarnation, the fact that “the Word became flesh.” “By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children and find in them their ultimate crown.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, December 7, 1965)

For the marriage bond between husband and wife to be established by God, the couple must base their love on knowledge. If not, it remains mere infatuation and fantasy. The man and woman must have a basic understanding of who their intended spouse is in order to commit to this lifelong journey of discovery together. They must also have a number of intentions at the time of their marriage. The couple must know what marriage is and they must intend the marriage to be lifelong and open to children. They must intend fidelity and their mutual good. They must also have the physical and psychological ability as well as the personal maturity to follow through on what they have intended.

Marriage Preparation

1. Contact your Parish

Preparation for the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony takes place in your local parish. The parish office will put you in contact with the individual in charge of marriage preparation or directly with the priest/deacon you desire to preside at your wedding. Contact your parish as soon as you have made the decision to marry but no less than eight (8) months prior to the anticipated wedding date. Be aware that some parishes within the Diocese of Saint Augustine have much longer lead times due to the number of wedding requests and lack of staffing.  Marriage Preparation at St. Catherine brochure, click here

2. Length of Preparation

The minimal length of marital preparation is eight (8) months. This allows sufficient time for you as a couple to carry out the various parts of the marriage preparation process without becoming overburdened.

3. Documents Required

Baptismal Certificates for Catholics – Catholics are to provide a new copy of their baptismal certificate with full notations. The certificate must be dated within the past six (6) months. When contacting the parish for the certificate be sure you ask that the certificate contain all the notations in their records. If you know the name of your baptismal church and the city within which it is located your local parish will be able to provide you with its address and phone number.

Baptismal Certificates for non-Catholics – Baptized Christians who are not Catholic are to provide a copy of any record their church of baptism may have provided them. If your baptismal church did not provide you with a certificate and does not keep records you will be asked to provide a notarized letter from an individual who witnessed your baptism attesting to that fact.

If you have never been married the parish will provide you with a form to be signed by your parents or two other older relatives who have known you your entire life. These individuals will swear, via a notarized statement, that you have never been married before and have no impediments to marriage. In addition, your parish may publish in the bulletin the bans of your marriage.

If you have been married before and your spouse has died you will need to provide a copy of the individual’s death certificate.

If you have been married before and your spouse is living you will need to discuss with your priest/deacon the situation of the prior marriage. If you have received a declaration of invalidity of the marriage from a Catholic Tribunal he will ask you to provide a copy of the decree. If the marriage has not been declared invalid you are still married in the eyes of God and therefore not free to enter into a new marriage. Your priest/deacon will discuss with you the possibilities for resolving your dilemma through the Tribunal. Please be aware that the parish will be unable to schedule a wedding date as long as you are bound to the prior marriage.

Parental Permission – If you or your intended spouse is under eighteen years of age you will be required to obtain written permission from your parents for the wedding to take place

Civil Marriage License – Priests and deacons when presiding at weddings in the State of Florida also act as civil officials. Therefore, you will need to provide him with a copy of your civil marriage license as soon as possible. At the latest, you should give it to the priest/deacon at the wedding rehearsal. If the priest/deacon is not going to act in the capacity of a civil official you will need to provide him with a copy of your marriage certificate to ensure that your marriage is recognized by the government of the United States of America.

4. Autobiographies

True love is based upon knowledge of yourself and your intended spouse, if it is not, it remains mere infatuation and fantasy. You should understand their concrete expression, that is to say, you should understand your personality and the personality of your intended spouse. When you enter into marriage you and your intended spouse are bringing everything of who you are into the relationship. Nothing is left behind no matter how much you wish that it could be. It is helpful to take some time as you begin a new journey in life to assess who you and your intended spouse are, how you became the people you are, and what you are both bringing into this new partnership.

There is something very definite and final about putting things in writing. It forces us to deliberate, to choose words carefully, to say what we really mean. Writing one’s autobiography can be difficult, perhaps even painful at times, and takes a great deal of effort. It will be its own reward, however, because it will force you to discover your real self. It will help you to begin the discovery of your loved one. It will give you a glimpse through the doors to your future.

We suggest the following outline for your autobiography. Write the autobiography yourself and once complete share it with your intended spouse. When you have completed your life history, may we ask that you mark it “Confidential” and bring it to your parish priest/deacon who is preparing you for your marriage.

Your Parents: Describe the personalities of your parents; how they got along with each other as you grew up; how they treated you; showed affection; emotions; encouragement; allowed you to mature; exercised discipline. Describe your feelings toward each parent in childhood and now; your reaction to your schooling, education, and upbringing.

Your Brothers and Sisters: Older, younger? Describe how you influenced one another and interacted with your parents, both growing up and now.

Your Teachers, Employers, and other Authority Figures: Describe how they influenced you, helped or possibly even hindered in your formation and your reaction to their advice or criticism.

Your Peers, Friends, and Co-Workers: Describe your long-lasting relationships; how you got along with others; your involvement in organizations or causes; your prejudices; your sensitivities; your ability to communicate; to express your feelings; your ability to trust.

Yourself: Describe your self-image (strengths, weaknesses); self-assertiveness; self-control; major interests; goals in life; health history; sense of responsibility; dependability; dependency; punctuality; neatness; use of money; use of your free time; manner of handling anger; rejection; failure; depression; fears; need for affection; emotional breakdowns; problems with alcohol; drug use; gambling; sex; legal problems. Describe your schooling, religious education and work record.

Your Religion: Briefly describe your beliefs, thoughts, feelings about God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Matrimony, prayer, your involvement in Church. Describe your understanding of what marriage is.

Your Fiancé’s Parents: Describe the personalities of his/her parents; how they got along with each other as he/she grew up; how they treated him/her; showed affection; emotions; encouragement; allowed him/her to mature; exercised discipline. Describe his/her feelings toward each parent in childhood and now; his/her reaction to their schooling, education, and upbringing.

Your Fiancé’s Brothers and Sisters: Older, younger? Describe how they influenced one another and interacted with his/her parents, both growing up and now.

Your Fiancé’s Teachers, Employers, and other Authority Figures: Describe how they influenced him/her, helped or possibly even hindered in their formation and his/her reaction to their advice or criticism.

Your Fiancé’s Peers, Friends, and Co-Workers: Describe his/her long-lasting relationships; how they got along with others; their involvement in organizations or causes; their prejudices; their sensitivities; their ability to communicate; to express their feelings; their ability to trust.

Your Fiancé: Describe his/her self-image (strengths, weaknesses); self-assertiveness; self-control; major interests; goals in life; health history; sense of responsibility; dependability; dependency; punctuality; neatness; use of money; use of his/her free time; manner of handling anger; rejection; failure; depression; fears; need for affection; emotional breakdowns; problems with alcohol; drug use; gambling; sex; legal problems. Describe his/her schooling, religious education and work record.

Your Fiancé’s Religion: Briefly describe his/her beliefs, thoughts, feelings about God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Matrimony, prayer, their involvement in Church. Describe his/her understanding about what marriage is.

Your Courtship: Describe how you met; what attracted you to the other; when and how the subject of marriage came up; any pressures to marry; what you look for in marriage; the reaction of your parents and friends to your marriage. Any doubts; any separations or breakups; any signs of breakdown in communication? What you feel you have in common. How you complement one another.

Your Future Life Together: Describe your awareness of and acceptance of each other’s shortcomings relative to your marital obligations. How do you intend to resolve your differences? Describe each other’s intentions concerning children. Do you plan to work, have a large family, etc.? Describe your intentions concerning your family’s religious and secular education. Do either of you plan to pursue a career? Describe your awareness of any problems which might arise concerning your work and your relationship to your spouse and intended family. Any in-law problems? Briefly describe what you expect from marriage.

5. Natural Family Planning

Couples seeking to be married within the Diocese of St. Augustine are required to be instructed in a method of natural family planning approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Diocesan Development Program for Natural Family Planning.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. NFP is not the Rhythm Method. More information is available atwww.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/index.shtml

Registration for NFP classes is available through the Diocesan Family Life Office www.dcfl.org

6. Marriage Instruction

Take FOCCUS or another inventory tool: FOCCUS is an acronym for “Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, and Study.” It is an inventory of questions that an engaged couple takes to help identify and address issues that may need to be worked through prior to marriage. It is not a compatibility test or a predictor of marital success. It is simply a tool designed to strengthen your relationship by promoting discussion about important aspects of married life. You may register for FOCCUS at www.dcfl.org

Attend a Marriage Preparation Course: There are two primary marriage preparation courses in the Diocese of Saint Augustine: Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter. These courses differ in format, but each is designed to help engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage by covering such topics as sexuality, family, and their role in the Church. More information on these programs is available at www.dcfl.org

Sponsor Couple: Your parish may ask that instead of or in addition to a marriage preparation course that have some meetings with a married couple. This couple will share their experiences with you and help you develop your own relationship

Individual Sessions with your Priest/Deacon: The number of these sessions and their content are determined by the priest/deacon who is preparing you for your marriage. At one of these sessions the actual wedding ceremony will be discussed.

Special Situations

1. Cohabitation/Living Together Before Marriage

“Cohabitation” is commonly referred to as “living together.” It describes the relationship of a man and woman who are sexually active and share a household, though they are not married.

The Church is particularly concerned about cohabitation because the practice is so common today and because, in the long run, it is causing great unhappiness for families in the Church. This is true, above all, because – even though society may approve of the practice – cohabitation simply cannot be squared with God’s plan for marriage. This may be why most couples who live together before marriage find married life difficult to sustain.

The Church does not invent laws. It passes on and interprets what God has revealed through the ages. No one in the Church has the right to change what Jesus has taught. To do so would be to deprive people of saving truths that were meant for all time. Our Christian faith teaches that a sexual relationship belongs only in marriage. Sex outside of marriage shows disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and human dignity.

Your engagement is meant to be a time of grace and growth in preparing for your marriage. We urge all engaged couples who are living together to separate. All Catholics should seek to be reconciled with God and the Church by going to confession and by going to Mass and Holy Communion regularly.

Living chastely during your remaining months of engagement will teach you many things about one another. It will help you to grow in the virtues of generous love, sacrificial giving, self-restraint and good communication – virtues which are essential for a good and lasting marriage.

We are sure that you have questions regarding this teaching and more information is available at: http://www.pacatholic.org/bishops-statements/living-together

2. Pre-Marital Pregnancy

In and of itself, a pregnancy will not determine whether to proceed or delay a proposed marriage. However, pregnancy can curtail the freedom of an individual to choose marriage. Are you choosing to marry because you want to form a partnership of the whole of life till death do you part with your intended spouse or are you wanting to give your child a name and avoid questions being asked by the community? You should marry for the former not the latter. To marry someone who you do not love and do not want to be with for your entire life in the Church is to lie before God and will strain your marital relationship.

If your decision to marry was made prior to your pregnancy your marital plans may continue without interruption.

If your decision to marry had not been made prior to the pregnancy the priest/deacon of your parish will encourage you to delay your wedding until after the birth of the child in order that you will not make a rash decision. We want to ensure that you are freely choosing to marry your intended spouse and not being pressured by circumstances into a marriage you are not sure you are ready for.

If either person is under the age of 20, a church marriage in the Diocese of St. Augustine may not take place until after the birth of the child. Permission to marry in this situation must be obtained from the bishop or his delegate. A letter which fully explains the circumstances for the request must accompany the request from the priest/deacon responsible for the couple’s preparation.

Even if you are pregnant you will be required to complete the entire marital preparation process like everyone else who is seeking to marry.

3. Pre-Nuptial Agreements

A pre-nuptial agreement can be defined as an agreement made before marriage to resolve issues surrounding the division of property and support if the marriage ends in death or divorce.

One of the essential properties of marriage is indissolubility. Marriage is “till death do us part.” In order to have a valid marriage, the bride and groom must intend by a positive act of their will a marriage that lasts until the end of life. Having a pre-nuptial agreement can call this intention into question and invalidate the marriage.

When marrying each spouse is to completely trust the other and give everything to the other. Entering into marriage by stating certain things are mine and certain things are yours already demonstrates a lack of trust in one another. This lack of trust is already sowing the seeds for a troubled marriage and eventual divorce.

If you are planning on signing a pre-nuptial agreement inform the priest/deacon preparing you for the sacrament. Let him have a copy of the agreement and explain your reasons for having it. He will discuss the situation with you and do what he can to help ensure that you will enter a valid and life long marriage.

It is common in Florida for intended spouses to be widowed with children and grandchildren. You each have a sizeable estate that you want to leave to them once you die. Therefore, you decide you do not want to combine these assets when you marry. You sign a pre-nuptial agreement that states in the event of the death of one of the spouses (without mentioning divorce) their prior assets will be passed to your children instead of to your spouse. This decision does not call into question your intention regarding marriage for the whole of life and therefore is acceptable. However, the same results can be accomplished through estate planning.

4. Mixed Marriages/Marriages between a Catholic and non-Catholic

Like most religious traditions, the Catholic Church encourages Catholics to marry another Catholic. This is because the family is the Domestic Church. It is the first school of the Christian life. In the bosom of the family, parents are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. The family is the first school of the Christian life.

Differences about faith, the notion of marriage, and other religious sensibilities, especially worship and the education of children can become sources of tension between husband and wife bringing disunity into the Domestic Church. This disunity has the ability to tear at the heart of the union between the spouses or lead to religious indifference.

For this reason, the Catholic Church discourages the contracting of mixed marriages. The Church desires that Catholics “be able to in matrimony attain to a perfect union of mind and full communion of life.” (Matrimonia Mixta, 1970)

However, since people have the natural right to marry the person of the opposite sex whom they choose, the Catholic Church allows Catholics to request “permission” to marry a baptized person who is not Catholic or a “dispensation” to marry an un-baptized person.

This request is made through the priest/deacon who is preparing you for marriage.

Our relationship with God is at the core of who we are. We do not want anything to endanger our relationship with Him. Therefore, when asking permission to marry a non-Catholic the Catholic party will be reminded of the importance of their faith. They will be asked to reaffirm their Catholic faith and promise God that they will do everything to preserve and live it. Furthermore, the Catholic must also promise God that they will, as far as possible, do all in their power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith in order that they may receive all the aids to eternal salvation which the Catholic Church provides for her children.

The non-Catholic party must be informed of these promises which the Catholic party has to make so that it is clear that he/she is cognizant of the promise and obligation on the part of the Catholic. The non-Catholic does not have to agree with the promise nor does the non-Catholic have to convert or promise anything. However, if the non-Catholic has serious difficulties with the Catholic making this promise there is already major disunity in the relationship and additional marital preparation will be necessary.

Catholics are expected to have their marriage in a Catholic Church with a Catholic priest/deacon asking for and receiving the exchange of consent. As your future spouse cannot receive the Eucharist, Holy Communion, it is customary to have the wedding outside the celebration of the Mass.

For a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, it is possible to request permission to be married within the church of your intended spouse by their pastor. You will still need to complete the Catholic preparation program. It is also possible to have your minister be a part of your wedding within the Catholic Church. The priest/deacon preparing you for the marriage can provide more information in this regard. As sacraments take place in churches it is rare for permission to be granted in order to have the wedding take place at the beach, hotel, etc.

By definition, a sacrament is for the baptized. Therefore, to receive the “sacrament” of matrimony you must have two baptized individuals. A marriage between a baptized individual and an un-baptized individual is a natural law marriage but not a sacrament. Therefore, if you are Catholic and marrying an un-baptized individual you may ask permission to have the marriage take place in any location.

5. Place of Marriage

Your marriage is a very significant emotional and spiritual event. It is also an event of great importance to the entire Christian community. Through the exchange of vows between the groom and bride Christ acts and provides a sign and means to express and strengthen the faith of all present, sanctifies humanity, strengthens ecclesiastical communion and renders worship to the Father. It is a very sacred action. As such the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony is to take place in a sacred worship space.

For a marriage between two Catholics, the marriage is to take place in a Catholic Church or chapel. Within the Diocese of Saint Augustine outdoor weddings are not permitted between Catholics unless they take place on the sacred grounds of the Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine.

For a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, it is possible to request permission to be married within the church of your intended spouse by their pastor. You will still need to complete our marriage preparation program. Even though your baptized fiancé is not Catholic they are a member of the body of Christ and you will be receiving the sacrament of matrimony together. As sacraments take place in sacred spaces set aside for worship it is rare for permission to be granted in order to have the wedding take place at the beach, hotel, etc.

By definition, a sacrament is for the baptized. Therefore, to receive the “sacrament” of matrimony you must have two baptized individuals. A marriage between a baptized individual and an un-baptized individual is a natural law marriage but not a sacrament. Therefore, if you are Catholic and marrying an un-baptized individual you may ask permission to have the marriage take place in a non-sacred space.

6. I am Catholic but did not get married in the Church, what do I do?

As you are now aware, Catholics are required to be married in front of a Catholic priest/deacon or have permission to marry in some other way. If a Catholic individual should get married outside the visible structure of the Church without permission the marriage is invalid. The Catholic is living with a person who is in fact not their spouse and is presumed to be in sin making them unable to receive the Eucharist, Holy Communion.

We are glad that you want to remove this sin and come back to the sacraments. In order for this to happen please contact your local priest/deacon.

As you are in fact not married you will ordinarily be required to complete the marriage preparation process required for all couples and marry within the Catholic Church. If you have been civilly married for a significant period of time the priest/deacon has the discretion to adjust the marriage preparation process to suit your particular situation.

As this ceremony will be your actual wedding consider long and hard what you are doing. This wedding ceremony will not miraculously fix any difficulties in your relationship. If you are having any marital problems these should be addressed and resolved before you move forward with the wedding.

Normally a wedding of this type takes place after the Catholic parties have been provided with the opportunity to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The wedding takes place with no pomp and pageantry and is small usually consisting of the priest/deacon, couple, two witnesses and a very small handful of people.

Annulments

What is an annulment?

An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.

A valid Catholic marriage results from five elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; (4) they intend the good of each other; and (5) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

An annulment is not just a “Catholic divorce.”  An annulment does not deny a relationship existed.  An annulment does not assign blame.  An annulment does not have any effect on civil divorce or custody issues.  An annulment does not change the legitimacy of any children born from that marriage.  An annulment simply states that what was thought to be a marriage was lacking some quality or characteristic required by the Church for that marriage to have been a sacrament.

Because the Church recognizes all-natural marriages and any children that may have been a product of those marriages, anyone who has been previously married and remarried or is married to someone who has been previously married must receive a declaration of nullity from the Church, even if you were not married in a Church.  An annulment is necessary to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) or the Sacraments of Vocation (Marriage and Holy Orders) and can take many months to complete.

Where do I begin?

If you live in Orange Park or are a parishioner of St. Catherine’s, you may contact Vincent Reilly by emailing him here or any parish priest to learn how to begin the annulment process.  If you are a member of another parish, please contact your parish’s annulment companion or parish priest.

The annulment companion or parish priest will seek to understand the situation of your marriage and help you to determine if this is the correct procedure for your situation or if a different procedure is required. Once they have determined that this is the correct procedure the annulment companion will tell you what documents will need to be gathered and how. They will also provide you with a questionnaire to answer.

Once you have gathered the required documents and completed the questionnaire, the annulment companion will review everything with you and help you to select the grounds upon which the marriage is to be challenged. The annulment companion will compose the formal petition which will be submitted to the Tribunal and ask you to sign it. Everything is then to be submitted to the Tribunal.

Please be aware that the annulment process has not begun until the Tribunal has jurisdiction to accept your case and formally does so. The many months you spent preparing your petition is prior to the start of the case. Every case is different and the Tribunal is unable to provide any timelines regarding the length of these proceedings. Given that the length and outcome of a case are not predetermined no date may be set for a future marriage until these proceedings are closed.

For more information

For more information about what an annulment is, please click here.

For more information about the revised annulment process, please click here.

For more information about the annulment process, please click here.

For more information about the myths of obtaining an annulment, please click here.

For more information about the grounds on which an annulment could be filed, please click here.

For more information about the impediments to marriage, please click here.

For more information about how to determine the type of case is necessary, please click here.

-NEW- Positively Dangerous Core Team

Open to High School Students

The Positively Dangerous Core Team is a group of youth who commit to a peer leadership retreat that is held during the summer so that they can meet during the school year to help plan and implement youth programs and events.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Offer ideas, suggestions, goals, and directions for all aspects of youth ministry.
  • Participate in the planning of events and programming.
  • Find ways to connect with youth not involved in parish life.
  • Assist with inviting teens to participate in youth ministry.
  • Assure ongoing assessment and recommendations for youth ministry programming.

Qualities Needed

  • Practices Catholic Faith
  • Able to make a commitment and follow-through
  • Ability to work in collaboration with others
  • Desire to learn leadership skills

Abilities Needed:

  • Love for God
  • Love for teens
  • Flexible
  • Ontime
  • Positive attitude
  • Constantly growing and learning

Additional Involvements:

  • Team meetings once a month
  • Parish youth ministry leadership workshops(August)
  • Training as offered

Length of Commitment:

  • August‐June, renewable

5th and 6th Grade Youth Ministry (E.D.G.E.)

This ministry is for students entering 5th & 6th grades. Students will enjoy our high energy activities and monthly faith challenges. Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 6:00 – 7:30 pm in Rooney Hall.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

7th and 8th Grade Youth Ministry (S.P.I.R.I.T.)

This ministry is for students entering 7th & 8th grades.  This ministry is a social and service group that introduces young teens to youth ministry, gives them the opportunity to meet other Catholic teens, and introduces the concept of service.   Students will enjoy our high energy activities, service opportunities, and off-campus events.

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30 – 8:45 pm in Rooney Hall.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

9th - 12th Grade Youth Ministry

SCY

This ministry is for students entering 9th – 12th grades. This ministry is a social and service group that invites teens into youth ministry by providing them the opportunity to meet other Catholic teens, group activities, leadership opportunities, and provide service to our community.   Students will enjoy our high energy activities, service projects, and off-campus events.

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30-8:45 in Rooney Hall.

CoffeeHouse

This ministry is for students entering 9th – 12th grades. This ministry is a discussion-oriented religious program.  The theory of this program is that everyone has questions about God and the Catholic faith and that is good because our faith has the answers for all of those questions!

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30-8:45 in Youth Room.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or by email here

Young Adult Ages 18-25

This ministry is for the Young Adults of our parish ages 18-25.  This ministry provides a place for our college-age youth to gather and explore our faith as well as socialize with other young Catholic adults.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here


*All Ministries identified as “adults” are open to all of our young adults.*

To view those please click here.

Altar Servers

Open to Elementary School Students

This ministry opportunity is available to youth in the 5th grade or older; who have received their First Communion.  They assist the celebrant at the altar during the Mass and other liturgical occasions by lighting the candles, carrying the books and candles and other assistance as need by the presider.  Due to the nature of this ministry being an integral part of our liturgical celebration, a commitment to serve when scheduled and training sessions are required.

Training required:  3-5 training sessions with mandatory participation required; training available twice a year.

Time commitment:  At least 1 Mass per month scheduled to serve, available to serve at any Mass you attend.

For more information contact:

Lisa Murphy 904-264-0577 X.324 or email Lisa here

Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts

Open to Elementary, Junior High, and High School Students

St. Catherine’s sponsors Troop 424.

Meeting Times:  Boy Scouts/Tuesdays 7 pm-9 pm Haut Hall • Cub Scouts/Monday 6 pm-7 pm Formation Center

For more information contact:

Art Bilodeau  email Art here

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Time Travelers

Open to Preschoolers, Elementary School Students, and Young Adults can volunteer

Students

Children’s Liturgy of the Word is an age-appropriate Liturgy of the Word offered for ages 5 through 3rd graders at the 10:00 am Mass. No pre-registration is necessary. All children are welcome and encouraged to attend. Just before the Liturgy of the Word begins for the assembly, these children are invited to go with the weekly leaders from the church to the Church Conference Room.  During this special time, the volunteer liturgist leads the children through prayers, songs, and readings that are simplified for children. The children learn about the same Scripture readings as the rest of the assembly. They are taught a simplified main message of the readings and are encouraged to share that message with their parents after Mass. Volunteers are needed to teach the lessons each week, as well as to assist with the supervision of the children. This is a great opportunity for adults and middle school/high school youth to help these eager youngsters learn the Word of the Lord.

Time commitment:  15-20 minutes, during Mass, on Sunday morning • All volunteers and children are still able to participate in Mass

For more information contact:

Roger Davey 904-264-0577 X.324 or email Roger here

Young Adults

A team of parishioners who “go aside” with children at the 10 am Sunday liturgy, to hear the Word of God proclaimed from a lectionary designed especially for children.  Leaders are able to fully participate in the Mass.  Some preparation for each “going aside” is required.

Training required:  Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement.

Time commitment:  Any preparation time throughout the week • 15-20 minutes, during Mass, on Sunday morning • All volunteers are still able to participate in Mass.

For more information contact:

Roger Davey 904-264-0577 X.321 or email Roger here

Ending Poverty In Community

Open to High Schoolers

Epic Moments / Epic Days

Epic Moments:
Are intended to bring the parish together with everyone doing one small action.  Each person’s small action becomes the parish large project.

Epic Moments Projects:  Fill the Pot  • Pack the Backpack

Epic Days of Service:
These are days of formation, action, and service to our community.
EPIC Day Spring’s project is a small food garden for low-income families.  These help with food cost and a healthy diet.
EPIC Day Fall’s project is stuffing stockings full of toiletries for the men and women on the “outside” at the Sulzbacher Center.  Toothbrush and toothpaste are an important part of the stocking. Dental Health is a great need among the homeless.

Scheduled Meeting:  The EPIC moment outreach is done 3 times a year after the 10 and Noon Mass  • EPIC Days of Service are in December and May

Time Commitment:  EPIC moment’s 5 min. commitment  • EPIC Days of Service 4 hours  • EPIC Educational 25 hours

For more information contact:

Cheri Forster at 904-264-0577 x.310 or email her here

I want to know Y (Online)

Open to High Schoolers

You need to know what you believe.  You need to know your faith just as a good musician needs to know the piece of music he is playing. There’s a lot about our faith you may not understand.  We would like you to visit this online ministry to answer the question “WHY do we believe that?” With answers to your questions through the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Just5Days

Open to those in Junior High

This program is for upcoming 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  Just5Days is a five-day experience of service, hands-on learning activities, prayer and liturgy, and community building designed for groups of middle school youth and their adult leaders from Catholic parishes and schools.  The Center for Ministry Development provides daily programming designed just for middle schoolers—lots of visual learning, hands-on activities, movie clips, small group projects, and discussions. Middle schoolers will learn about Catholic social teaching and the importance of justice, and they will have fun doing it. Dynamic prayer services and liturgy engage young participants in full and active participation, making faith more tangible for them.

Training Required:  Adult Volunteers • Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement.

Time Commitment:  1 Week in June

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email her here

Living Stations of the Cross

Open to those in High School

This ministry is a group of 14 actors of all ages presenting the Stations of the Cross from the viewpoint of one who was there.

Time Commitment:  1 Dress Rehearsal • 2 Performances

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Living the Pure Life (Online)

Open to those in High School

This is an online ministry that focuses mainly on chastity.  It is updated bi-weekly with practical advice to help teens “apply” the teachings of our faith to their lives.  It will be packed with real-life examples, videos, and words of encouragement as well as wisdom.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Religious Education

Open for those from Preschool – High School

Our Religious Education program offers instruction to students from Kindergarten through Grade 12.   All Catholic children attending public or private non-Catholic schools are expected to participate in this program.

Our philosophy at St. Catherine’s Religious Education program is that parents are the primary educators of their children. Formal religious education is a necessary element of and a supplement to home teaching and example. Through an enjoyable classroom experience, children are nurtured in the truths and teachings of their faith and are called to worship and serve Jesus as they form their Christian identity and take their place in the Christian community. The curriculum is developmental and builds a broad base of religious knowledge. Our program reflects an integrated learning experience composed of catechesis, prayer, sacramental preparation, traditional Catholic doctrine, biblical studies, liturgy, community building, and other dimensions of vibrant Church life.

Religious Education is offered on Sundays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays and requires pre-registration.  Registration for the following year begins in April.

For more information, visit the Religious Education tab on this page or
contact Roger Davey, Coordinator of Religious Education by emailing Roger here.

Theology of the Body (Online)

Open to those in High School

This online ministry helps teens truly understand Blessed John Paul II’s vision of what it means to be a human person.  I will be packed with real-life examples, videos, and words of encouragement as well as wisdom.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Urban Plunge

Open to those in High School

This program is for upcoming 10th graders – Freshman in college.  Urban Plunge is a group of teens and adults will be experiencing inner-city life in St. Augustine for one week in June/July during the summer.  We will be working in a soup kitchen, painting houses, doing carpentry, building wheelchair ramps, yard work, heavy cleaning, etc. * (*means whatever else needs to be done for people who have no one else to do it.) Our evening prayer services and Wednesday evening Mass are the highlights of the trip.

Training Required:  Adult Volunteers • Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement • 3 Community Building meetings  Teen Volunteers • 3 Community Building meetings

Time Commitment:  3 Community Building meetings • 1 Week in June or July

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Preschool – Elementary

Vacation Bible School is a wonderful, uplifting experience that can enhance your child’s spirituality and social skills.  Our program consists of a week-long program in June of religious education which utilizes Bible stories, skits, religious songs, and arts and crafts for children age 3 – entering Grade 5.  This is all accomplished with the help of our parent volunteers and our high school youth.  Pre-registration usually occurs in April.

For more information, contact Roger Daveyemail Roger here

Junior High

Each summer an action-packed week of Catholic fun is offered to Junior High students through St. Catherine’s Vacation Bible School.  Designed for children entering Grades 6-8, and enhanced by over many volunteers, the campus is filled with crafts, games, skits, food, music, laughter, and of course, Bible stories.

For more information, contact Roger Daveyemail Roger here

 

Youth Christmas Choir

Youth ages 10-21, Pianists with at least 3 years of experience, and instrumentalists with at least 2 years of experience.

Time Commitment:  Thursdays in December, Practice from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Choir Room •

For more information contact:

Jim Huges 904-264-0577  or email Jim here

Youth Choir

Youth ages 10-21, Pianists with at least 3 years of experience, and instrumentalists with at least 2 years of experience.

Time Commitment:  Thursday Practice from 6:15 pm – 7:00 pm in Choir Room • 1 Mass a month (Mass times change each month)

For more information contact:

Jim Huges 904-264-0577  or email Jim here

Click here to view Confirmation Retreat Flier

Click here to view Apprentice-Catechist-Application

Click here to view the Calendar

Religious Education Information

Our philosophy at St. Catherine’s Religious Education program is that parents are the primary educators of their children. Formal religious education is a necessary element of and a supplement to home teaching and example. Through an enjoyable classroom experience, children are nurtured in the truths and teachings of their faith and are called to worship and serve Jesus as they form their Christian identity and take their place in the Christian community. The curriculum is developmental and builds a broad base of religious knowledge. Our program reflects an integrated learning experience composed of catechesis, prayer, sacramental preparation, traditional Catholic doctrine, biblical studies, liturgy, community building, and other dimensions of vibrant Church life.

Our religious education program offers instruction to students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. All Catholic children attending public schools or non-Catholic private schools are expected to participate in this program. The religious education program offers an ongoing, continuing development of the Christian personality. The program is not a convenience for the reception of the sacraments of Confirmation, Eucharist, and Reconciliation. Just as the sacraments are not isolated events, but rather an integral part of the Christian life, so too, each grade in religious education adds to the development of the Christian life. Our aim is to provide a loving and caring Christian atmosphere in which our parish youth can grow in sound Christ-like attitudes and values.

Religious Education, Encounter, meets on:

  • Tuesdays/Martes 5:00pm-6:30pm  (Grades 1-9)
  • Wednesdays/Miercoles 6:00pm-7:30pm (Grades 1-9 and RCIA)

For more information about Encounter, please contact Roger Davey at (904) 264-0577 or email Roger here.

To see our yearly calendar, please click here. (Currently being adjusted)

To register for Religious Education 2018-2019, please click here.

Religious Information Registration

Please complete the following form to register for Religious Education 2018-2019.  If you are in need of financial assistance with Religious Education, please contact Roger Davey in the Parish Office for the discount code.

Registration Form (This link will open a new page)

Encounter

Welcome to our NEW Religious Education Experience

Are you ready to ENCOUNTER?

Learn more here…

Encounter Newsletter

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 4 – Oct 23 & 24

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 3 – Oct 16 & 17

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 2 – Oct 9 & 10

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 1 – Oct 2 & 3

Adult Formation

Adult Vacation Bible Study

Adult bible study will return in June.

Contact Vincent Reilly by email here for more information

Small Groups

For more information about the Parish Neighborhood Communities that will be developing into Small Christian Communities, please click here.  Below is information about the Small Christian Communities that currently meet to study Scripture on the parish grounds.

What are Small Christian Communities?

A small Christian community (SCC) is a small group of individuals who gather to share their faith and life in order to grow in their life commitment to work for the reign of God. They strive to incorporate prayer and ritual, scripture reflection, on-going learning and action to eradicate injustice in our church and society.

We read in scripture about the small communities of Christians who gathered in their homes to follow the teachings of Jesus.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Those who believed shared all things in common. They went to the temple area together every day, while in their homes they broke bread. With exultant and sincere hearts they took their meals in common. The community of believers was of one heart and one mind” (Acts 2:42,44, 46; 4:32).

Since the early 20th century, contemporary small Christian communities have evolved in all parts of the globe quite spontaneously. In Ecclesia in America, Pope John Paul II recommends small Christian communities as a way to reestablish human relationships in church communities:

“It seems timely to form Church communities and groups of a size that allow for true human relationships in the parish. In such a human context, it will be easier to gather to hear the Word of God, to reflect on the range of human problems in the light of this Word, and gradually to make responsible decisions inspired by the all-embracing love of Christ (141).

Why Small Christian Communities?

“Our parishes have become so large and so anonymous, and we’ve been allowed to attend them instead of participating in them. Today people don’t drop out of Church as much as drop-in – occasionally! My hope is that little faith-sharing groups will continue to emerge, connected to parishes. The base community and the institutional parish need one another. The parish needs the small fervent group to keep it honest, to allow and encourage those who want to ask the deeper questions, those who want to go further, those who want to learn to pray, to minister, to study, advocate and lay down their lives for the poor. And the small group needs the parish to avoid becoming sectarian, narrow or lost in personality and trendiness. They must regulate, balance and challenge one another.”
Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Why Be Catholic?

What do we do at St. Catherine’s?

There are many options for a Small Christian Community at St. Catherine’s. We have groups that meet for 6 weeks during Advent and Lent to focus on the upcoming Sunday readings. We have groups that meet year-round for meditation and bible study. We have groups that meet socially for dinner, trips to the theatre, and other outings as a group. Small group members become extended family and rely on each other for help. Whoever you are, whatever your needs or situation, we have a Small Christian Community for you!

Current Small Christian Communities

Christian Meditation Mondays at 7:30 pm Siena Room 12 months
Church in Chronicles Tuesdays at 10:00 am Siena Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Wednesdays at 7:30 pm Fleming Island 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 10:00 am Church Conference Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 7:30 pm Room M 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Thursdays at 7:30 pm Siena Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Fridays at 10:00 am Church Conference Room 12 months
Sunday Scripture Readings Saturdays at 7:00 pm Orange Park 12 months

For more information about Small Groups that meet at the Parish, please contact Vincent Reilly by email here.

Sacramental Preparation

Christian initiation is celebrated in Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Through these visible actions, a young person is incorporated into the Church and shares its mission in the world. Sacramental catechesis takes place through ongoing remote preparation and immediate preparation.

Ongoing remote preparation is essential prior to sacramental catechesis. In the Diocese of St. Augustine, it is expected that a minimum of two years of documented remote preparation would precede the reception of the above-mentioned sacraments. Remote Preparation is provided through the parish Religious Education Program or Catholic School.

Immediate Preparation for the sacraments involves Religious Education programs, Catholic School programs and those who home school joining together for parent meetings, family gatherings, specific classroom instruction, and/or retreat time. All students in sacramental preparation must attend the appropriate retreat(s): First Reconciliation Retreat & First Eucharist Retreat for the reception of First Eucharist; Confirmation Retreat for the reception of Confirmation.

Canon Law stipulates that candidates must be an age of sufficient reason, have proper knowledge of the sacraments, and participate in appropriate academic and spiritual formation. The readiness of candidates is determined by parents, pastor, Director of Faith Formation, catechists, and candidates in conversation with one another.

Since full initiation is the norm for all Catholics, persons with special needs (families with unique needs, including physical, emotional and mental disabilities but not limited to these circumstances) are to be included within all aspects of the preparation process.

Parents, sponsors, and other role models are encouraged to act as witnesses by their regular participation in church life within the parish.

A privileged time and place for the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist is within the Sunday assembly. The proper context for the celebration of the sacraments is the parish community. Therefore, it is always best that these sacraments be celebrated in the parish where the candidate regularly attends Sunday Mass with his/her family.

Regular Sunday Mass attendance is expected of all families. Students will be issued envelopes that are to be used to keep track of Mass attendance.   Catholic Baptismal Certificates must be on file with the parish in order to receive any sacrament.

Infant Baptism

The information below pertains to the baptism of a Newborn, Infant, Baby or Toddler under the age of 7.  For information on baptism of a child age 7 or older, go to our RCIA page or contact Vincent Reilly by email here.

For more information on Infant Baptism or to begin the process for Infant Baptism, please contact Roger Davey by email here.

Infant Baptism

The custom of baptizing children in their infancy in the Catholic Church is ancient, going back to the very early days of the Church during the time of the apostles. Because of this very old practice, the Church has passed an obligation upon the parents to have their children baptized within the first weeks after birth. Unless there are serious reasons discussed with a priest, this obligation should not be excepted. The baptism of children under the age of seven requires the consent of at least one of the parents (or guardians). A parent may not oppose baptism.  It also requires a well-founded expectation that the child will be brought up in the Catholic tradition. The interpretation of this requirement here at St. Catherine’s is that at least one of the parents (or guardians) must be an actively practicing Catholic.

Baptism of Children and Adults

The baptism of children older than seven years of age and adults is administered through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process follows the ancient initiation practices of the early Church and is required by Church law. RCIA is for persons who may be contemplating joining the Roman Catholic Church whether they have already been baptized into another Christian tradition or not. Those who are validly baptized are not re-baptized when they are accepted into the Church. Preparation for adults typically lasts one year, while the initiation for children and teenagers is a two year process. For more information on RCIA, contact the Faith Formation Office at (904) 264-0577.

Minister of Baptism

The Church requires an ordained minister (bishop, priest, or deacon) to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism except in the case of an emergency. Normally, it is celebrated by one of the ministers of the parish. At times, it may be desired to invite another priest or deacon to minister the baptism. If this is desired, please contact the parish office to obtain permission of the pastor. In cases of emergency (imminent danger of death), anyone may administer the Sacrament of Baptism as long as they desire to do what the Church does, and the correct form of words and pouring water is observed. In this case, if the person lives, the ceremonies of baptism must still be performed by an ordained minister at an appropriate time, although the actual baptism is not repeated.

Requirements for Infant Baptism

St. Catherine’s Parish expects these requirements to be met before Baptism:

a) One or both parents must be practicing Catholics or participants in the RCIA process.
b) The family must be registered members of St. Catherine’s.
c) One or both of the parents must have attended a Baptismal Preparation Class
d) All paperwork must be submitted at least one week prior to the baptism.
Any of these requirements that cause a problem should be discussed with the pastor.

Required Paperwork

The following paperwork must be complete and be submitted to the parish office at least one week prior to the Baptism:

a) Parish membership registration form (if necessary).
b) Completed Godparent Certificate
c) Baptismal preparation class attendance certification if attended at another parish.

Baptism Preparation Class

Baptism preparation classes are held at St. Catherine’s Church for three sessions quarterly in the Formation Center. Please contact the Faith Formation Office to register for the class. We strongly urge couples to take the baptism preparation class prior to the birth of the baby, preferably at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. If you have attended class at another parish within the past three years, baptism preparation can be waived with written confirmation from that parish.  Couples who are not active members of the parish must meet with the pastor prior to attending the baptism preparation class.

Acceptable Names

The Church places few restrictions on the choice of the child’s name. It is no longer required that the child have a saint’s name, although this is certainly a good and encouraged practice. The Church only requires that the child’s name not be offensive to the Christian sentiment.

Names that violate this requirement would probably not be acceptable to the parents nor to the society in which they live.

Godparents

The role of godparent is to help their godchild lead a Christian life. Traditionally, the godparents are the ones who ensure that their godchild receives a Christian upbringing if the parents are no longer able to fulfill that responsibility. They also help the parents in the ordinary circumstances of daily life- by their special concern for their godchild, by the example, and by whatever assistance they can provide in raising the child. Being a godparent is a lifelong commitment!

The godparents should be present at the baptism to profess their faith as representatives of the child’s extended spiritual family and of the whole Church. During the liturgy, they declare their readiness to help the parents “in their duty at Christian mothers and fathers.”

Parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to find a suitable godparent should discuss the problem with the Faith Formation office. We can offer to suggest a parishioner who would be willing to stand as a godparent.

Requirements for Godparents

Being a godparent is a privilege, but also brings with it responsibilities.
According to Church law, godparents must be persons who:

a) are Catholics who have been confirmed and have received the Sacrament of the Eucharist;
b) are at least sixteen years of age;
c) lead a life of faith in harmony with the function they are undertaking and have the intention of undertaking this function;
d) are not the parents of the catechumen or candidate. (Canon 874)

In addition, our parish requires that godparents:

a) complete and have a priest sign and seal a Godparent Certificate Form.
b) attend a pre-baptism preparation course, either at St. Catherine’s or their local parish, within 3 years of the baptism.

Proxy and Christian Witnesses

In some cases, a desired godparent is unable to be present for the baptism ceremony itself. In this case, it is allowable to have a proxy for the actual godparent. The proxy must meet the same requirements as a godparent. Christian witnesses are non-Catholics who have been validly baptized in their Christian tradition. If a Christian witness is selected, they are excused from the written certification required of the godparents, but still must attend a pre-baptism preparation course at a Catholic Church.

Sponsor Combinations

You may choose any of the following combinations of godparents and Christian witnesses:

a) Godmother and godfather;
b) Godmother only;
c) Godfather only;
d) Godmother and male Christian witness;
e) Godfather and female Christian witness.

Church law specifies one male or one female sponsor or one of each; consequently, exceptions cannot be made. We do recognize; however, that some ethnic groups have a tradition of naming a large number of godparents for their children. St. Catherine’s encourages members of such groups to continue this tradition, but the parents will be asked to name the two primary godparents, satisfying one of the above acceptable combinations, whose names will appear in the official records.

Times of Baptism

Since Baptism is a public sacrament of the Church, most infant baptisms here at St. Catherine’s Church are performed in a group setting in the Church. All baptisms are held by appointment only by calling the Parish Office to schedule a baptism at (904) 264-0577 for the following times:

– Most Sundays during any of the Masses.
– Most Sundays after the 12:00noon Mass, generally around 1:30 pm, for the Baptism Rite.

In general, Baptisms are usually not scheduled during Lent, on Easter Sunday, and certain other Sundays as deemed necessary by the Pastor.
Parents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Sunday Mass option for baptism. It provides the opportunity for the child to be welcomed into the Church with the faith community present and in the context of the Mass where the symbolism of Baptism is most complete.

You should begin to plan for your child’s baptism by contacting the Parish Office during the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. Most of the requirements, such as parish membership, the baptism preparation class, reserving a tentative date, and gathering any necessary documents, can be met before the baby is born.

Costs

In the Catholic Church, there is a long-standing tradition of voluntarily offering “stole fees” whenever any special service is asked of the Church. These stole fees help to offset the operating expenses of the Church, the materials used during the administration of the Sacrament, and the time and effort of the celebrant. At St. Catherine’s, we do not want you to feel obligated to contribute a stole fee; however, at the request of those who ask, the suggested offering for Baptism is $25.00.

Continuing Faith Formation  (Religious Education)

Parents’ Role

Parents and godparents should be aware that, by presenting the child for Baptism, they are undertaking an obligation of continuing formal religious education of the child. It is certainly true that the largest part of the child’s religious formation will take place at home. Vatican II states that “In what may be regarded as the domestic Church, the parents, by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children.” Therefore, parents are seen as the primary educators in the faith and family life as the place in which the Gospel is transmitted and from which it expands. While parents are the primary educators of their children, it is the duty of the Church, as the center of faith, to help you in educating your children.

Catholic Marriage

The Church considers marriage as a sacrament instituted by Christ and a source of great grace in strengthening the relationships of a family. While living in a Catholic Marriage is not a requirement to having your child baptized, St. Catherine’s encourages parents who are unmarried to be married in the Catholic Church or who have been married in a civil ceremony or in a different religious tradition to have their marriage blessed by the Church. Families in this situation are required to meet with the pastor to discuss the different possibilities prior to the Baptism. We hope that your child’s baptism will be a great time of grace throughout your family life.

Formal Religious Education

St. Catherine’s Church offers an extensive formation and education program to meet the formal religious needs of the children of the parish. In addition, St. Catherine supports an inter-parish Catholic Elementary School. Annunciation School is located on the grounds of St. Luke’s Parish in Middleburg and enrolls students from Pre-K through Eighth Grade. Catholic parents are obligated to ensure that their children attend their religious education classes regularly and that they are diligent in their studies.

Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation

The Rite of Baptism instructs that “it is the responsibility of the parents, in their gratitude to God and infidelity to the duty they have undertaken, to assist the child to know God, whose adopted child it has become, to prepare the child to receive confirmation and participate in the Holy Eucharist. In this duty, they are again to be helped by the parish.” St. Catherine’s provides family formation for the reception of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation, which takes places a few weeks before the parish celebration of the sacrament. However, all children are required to participate in formal religious education for two years prior to the reception of a sacrament.

Attendance at Mass

St. Catherine’s Parish strongly encourages families to attend Mass together. This includes infants who should begin to attend Mass at a very early age when able to. St. Catherine provides a free nursery in the Formation Center during the 10:00 am Mass to assist you in attending the liturgy. Parents should also be aware that, even though some Religious Education classes are held on Sunday mornings, the Religious Education program is not a substitute for attendance at regular Sunday Mass.

Conclusion

We hope that this document has provided adequate information to help you plan your child’s baptism. If you have any further questions, you may ask them at the Baptism preparation class or you may feel free to contact one of the priests or the Faith Formation Office for a response to all of your questions.

Prayers for Parents and Godparents

For the Child: Heavenly Father, we pray that this child, true to his (her) Baptismal vows, may walk in the light of the resurrection and be true to the Gospel, so that one day, he (she) may see You face to face. Amen.

For Mother: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary’s child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May you bless the mother of this child. May she be one with him (her) in thanking God forever in heaven with Jesus our Lord. Amen.

For Father: Heavenly Father, through the intercession of St. Joseph, father and protector of the Holy Family, may you bless the father of this child. May he be a teacher of this child through his work and example of following Jesus. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Godparent: God our Father, bless these godparents as they fulfill the Christian task entrusted to them. May the example of their lives help their godchild come to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and so grow in age and wisdom before God and others. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For a copy of our Sponsor Certificate that the sponsor must complete and have signed by a priest, please click here.

Youth Baptism

RCIA Adapted for Children & Teens

The baptism of children older than seven years of age and adults are administered through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process follows the ancient initiation practices of the early Church and is required by Church law. Adults who have not been baptized or who were baptized in another Christian faith are invited to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Anyone under 18 years must complete a two-year process for reception of any sacrament. The children will normally receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. Parents are expected to participate with the child in the RCIA program and families are expected to attend all of the rites and retreats required in the process.

Schedule of Events for RCIA Preparation 2014-2015 (Year II Students only)
Rite of Acceptance +
Rite of Welcome*
Sunday, November 2 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Anointing + Sunday, January 11 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Sending*+ Sunday, February 22 10:00 am Mass
Rite of Election +
Call to Continuing Conversion*
 TBA  TBA
RCIA Retreat for Teens*+ Saturday, March 28 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Preparation Rite*+ Saturday, April 4 9:00 am
Easter Vigil*+ Saturday, April 4 8:30 pm
(arrive by 7:30 pm)

+ events for those preparing for baptism
* events for those preparing for Full Communion

For more information about RCIA for children and teens, please contact Vincent Reilly at (904) 264-0577 ext 322 or email him here.

Youth Confirmation

As a Sacrament of Initiation, Confirmation is intimately related to Baptism and the Eucharist. Christians are reborn in Baptism, strengthened in Confirmation, and sustained by the food of the Eucharist. In Confirmation, young people are signed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and become more perfect images of their Lord. This sacrament renews and strengthens their baptismal call to bear witness to Christ before the world and work eagerly for the building up of His body. As the primary educators of their children, parents along with sponsors are to be intimately involved in catechesis for Confirmation. This will help them renew and strengthen their own faith, besides enabling them to set a better example for their children or godchildren.

All students preparing for Confirmation are expected to:

  1. Attend Sunday Mass regularly and use student envelopes to keep track of attendance;
  2. Participate in Confirmation retreat; For an introductory letter, please click here.  For permission slip, please click here.
  3. Attend Confirmation Orientation Meeting and Rehearsal ;
  4. Submit baptismal certificate
  5. Submit Sponsor Certificate  to Parish Office;
  6. 20 hours Confirmation Service with Report; For hours log sheet, please click here.
  7. Report on the saint of your Confirmation name ;
  8. Compose Letter to Bishop (Rough Draft; Final Draft due).

For Frequently Asked Questions about Confirmation, please click here.

For a summary of information a Confirmation Candidate should know prior to Confirmation, please click here.

Immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation includes the following:

  1. Teaches that Confirmation increases and deepens the grace of baptism, imprinting an indelible character on the soul.
  2. Teaches that Confirmation strengthen the baptismal conferral of the Holy Spirit on those confirmed in order to incorporate them more firmly in Christ, strengthen their bond with the Church, associate them more closely with the Church’s mission, increase in them the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1303), and help them bear witness to the Christian faith in words and deeds.
  3. Teaches about the role of the Holy Spirit, his gifts and his fruits.
  4. Is developmentally appropriate and includes retreat experiences.
  5. Includes instruction in the Rite of Confirmation and its basic symbols: the Imposition of hands, the anointing with Sacred Chrism, and the words of the sacramental formula.
  6. Ensures that parents and sponsors are involved in the catechetical preparation of the children for Confirmation.
  7. Teaches that the bishop is the ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation.  (National Directory for Catechesis #36 – A – 2)

For more information about the Sacrament of Confirmation, please contact Roger Davey at (904) 264-0577 or email Roger here.

Adult Confirmation

The Diocese of St. Augustine offers two opportunities each year for adults, 18 years or older, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The dates and locations are announced approximately six months prior to the celebration.  Adults who have received First Holy Communion, but who were not confirmed, are eligible.  During the time of preparation, candidates are asked to review the basic beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.   These sessions last for six weeks and begin approximately two months prior to the celebration.  To register for Adult Confirmation classes, please contact Vincent Reilly in the Parish Office at (904) 264-0577 or by emailing him here.

The next Adult Confirmation sessions begin November 5 at 7:00pm in the Formation Center.

First Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an experience of the gift of God’s boundless mercy that frees us from our sins and also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Rite of Penance we read that the sacrament is a liturgical action. It is the Church’s opportunity to celebrate the presence of God in those areas of our lives needing conversion and forgiveness.

Formation for the celebration of first reconciliation involves the cooperative efforts of parents, pastors, catechists, and children. It is a time when a person is able to encounter a loving and merciful God. The focus of any formation must be on developing and growing a strong mature conscience. Because people grow in different ways and the awareness of sin becomes evident at different times in different people, the time of sacramental celebration should be based on personal readiness. The candidate should be prepared in such a way that the ritual celebration is a joyful celebration, more than a memorized experience. “Catechesis for children prior to their first reception of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation must always respect their natural disposition, ability, age and circumstances” (National Directory for Catechesis, 36).

“It is the responsibility, in the first place, of parents and those who take the place of parents as well as of the pastor to see that children who have reached the use of reason (around seven) are correctly prepared and are nourished by the divine food as early as possible, preceded by sacramental confession” (Code of Canon Law, 914). “Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time” (Catechism of the Catholic Church,1457).

The readiness of the individual child includes:

  1. The ability of the child to distinguish between right and wrong;
  2. The awareness of the need for forgiveness and trust in Jesus’ forgiving love;
  3. The ability to express sorrow;
  4. The ability of the child to describe wrongdoing in his or her own words;
  5. The ability to ask for forgiveness.

Immediate preparation for a child’s first Reception of Reconciliation helps children to:

  1. Acknowledge God’s unconditional love for us
  2. Turn to Christ and the Church for sacramental forgiveness and reconciliation
  3. Recognize the presence of good and evil in the world and their personal capacity for both
  4. Recognize their need for forgiveness, not only from parents and others close to them but from God
  5. Understand how to celebrate the Rite of Reconciliation
  6. Understand that ‘sacramental confession is a means offered children of the Church to obtain pardon for sin, and furthermore that it is even necessary per se if one has fallen into serious sin.” (General Catechetical Directory, Addendum #3)  (National Directory for Catechesis #36 B – 2)

First Eucharist

The information on this page is designed for children who are in second grade and are in their second year of Religious Education.  For information for older children or adults, please click here.

The Eucharist is of such importance in our lives as faithful people that the Second Vatican Council stated that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11). The goal of this catechesis is to help children participate in the Mass in a meaningful, reverent manner. The content of the preparation is to have at its core the format/structure of the Eucharistic celebration. Themes should include “sharing, listening, eating, conversing, giving, thanking and celebrating.” (NCD, #133)

Parents have a right and a duty to be intimately involved in preparing their children for First Communion. Catechesis aims to help parents to grow in understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist and to participate readily in catechizing their children.

The readiness of the individual child includes:

  1. The child expressing a desire to celebrate Eucharist;
  2. The child participating in the Mass with his or her family on a regular basis at the parish;
  3. The child being formed in faith in an age-appropriate manner including basic knowledge of who Jesus is and what he has done;
  4. The child is able to distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary bread.

Immediate preparation for a child’s first Reception of Eucharist:

  1. Teaches the Eucharist is the living memorial of Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all and the commemoration of his last meal with His disciples.
  2. Teaches not only “the truths of faith regarding the Eucharist but also how from First Communion on…they can as full members of Christ’s Body take part actively with the People of God in the Eucharist, sharing in the Lord’s Table and the community of their brothers and sisters.” (Directory for Masses with Children #12)
  3. Ensures that the baptized have been prepared, according to their capacity, for the Sacrament of Penance prior to their First Communion.
  4. Develops in children an understanding of the Father’s love, of their participation in the sacrifice of Christ, and of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Teaches that “the Holy Eucharist is the real body and blood of Christ” and that “what appears to be bread and wine are actually his living body.”
  6. Teaches the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.
  7. Teaches the meaning of reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species of bread and wine.
  8. Helps them to participate actively and consciously in the Mass.
  9. Helps children to receive Christ’s Body and Blood in an informed and reverent manner. (National Directory for Catechesis #36 A – 3a)

All children preparing to receive their First Eucharist must have been prepared for and have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Marriage Preparation

The Definition of Marriage

“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized…. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility.” (Code of Canon Law, Canons 1055 and 1056)

Marriage is much more than two people going through a ceremony, committing themselves to one another and taking up residence. Marriage involves a whole new way of relating between the man and woman and also between the couple and the Christian community. The gift of self is not just to one’s spouse, but also to the Kingdom of God as it manifests itself in the Church.

The matrimonial covenant between a man and a woman establishes a partnership for life. The partnership of the whole of life allows the couple to “grow by means of the joys and sorrows of daily life, in such a way that husband and wife become one in heart and soul and together attain their human perfection.” (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, July 25, 1968) As husband and wife, the married couple recognizes in their relationship the love that God has for them. They mutually seek to share that love with others by living and working actively to contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom.

Marriage is not just celebrated once on the day it is entered; rather it is celebrated anew each day for the rest of one’s life. The “I do” promised on the first day is meant to grow deeper, richer and more meaningful as the days become years. “For better or worse, … in sickness and in health …” cannot exist merely in the abstract, for in their very realization they reflect Christ’s presence among us, His Church, and affirm our belief in His love.

Christ loves us even though we are great sinners. He died for us in order that our sins may be forgiven. Husband and wife love one another and recognizing the weaknesses and failings of their spouse die to self to help save the other. Because the relationship between husband and wife mirrors the relationship between God and His Church, Jesus taught the indissolubility of marriage – “therefore, let no one separate what God has joined.” (Matthew 19:6) We believe that it is impossible for any human being or civil government to break the God-made sacramental bond, or covenant, between husband and wife. Marriage is meant to be forever – “till death do us part.”

Love is forever seeking ways to express itself and to create something. The love between husband and wife ever seeks to communicate, extend itself, to create new life. (This is why there is, in reality, no such thing as a “secret love,” except narcissism.) The physical and spiritual consummation of marriage mirrors the Incarnation, the fact that “the Word became flesh.” “By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children and find in them their ultimate crown.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, December 7, 1965)

For the marriage bond between husband and wife to be established by God, the couple must base their love on knowledge. If not, it remains mere infatuation and fantasy. The man and woman must have a basic understanding of who their intended spouse is in order to commit to this lifelong journey of discovery together. They must also have a number of intentions at the time of their marriage. The couple must know what marriage is and they must intend the marriage to be lifelong and open to children. They must intend fidelity and their mutual good. They must also have the physical and psychological ability as well as the personal maturity to follow through on what they have intended.

Marriage Preparation

1. Contact your Parish

Preparation for the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony takes place in your local parish. The parish office will put you in contact with the individual in charge of marriage preparation or directly with the priest/deacon you desire to preside at your wedding. Contact your parish as soon as you have made the decision to marry but no less than eight (8) months prior to the anticipated wedding date. Be aware that some parishes within the Diocese of Saint Augustine have much longer lead times due to the number of wedding requests and lack of staffing.  Marriage Preparation at St. Catherine brochure, click here

2. Length of Preparation

The minimal length of marital preparation is eight (8) months. This allows sufficient time for you as a couple to carry out the various parts of the marriage preparation process without becoming overburdened.

3. Documents Required

Baptismal Certificates for Catholics – Catholics are to provide a new copy of their baptismal certificate with full notations. The certificate must be dated within the past six (6) months. When contacting the parish for the certificate be sure you ask that the certificate contain all the notations in their records. If you know the name of your baptismal church and the city within which it is located your local parish will be able to provide you with its address and phone number.

Baptismal Certificates for non-Catholics – Baptized Christians who are not Catholic are to provide a copy of any record their church of baptism may have provided them. If your baptismal church did not provide you with a certificate and does not keep records you will be asked to provide a notarized letter from an individual who witnessed your baptism attesting to that fact.

If you have never been married the parish will provide you with a form to be signed by your parents or two other older relatives who have known you your entire life. These individuals will swear, via a notarized statement, that you have never been married before and have no impediments to marriage. In addition, your parish may publish in the bulletin the bans of your marriage.

If you have been married before and your spouse has died you will need to provide a copy of the individual’s death certificate.

If you have been married before and your spouse is living you will need to discuss with your priest/deacon the situation of the prior marriage. If you have received a declaration of invalidity of the marriage from a Catholic Tribunal he will ask you to provide a copy of the decree. If the marriage has not been declared invalid you are still married in the eyes of God and therefore not free to enter into a new marriage. Your priest/deacon will discuss with you the possibilities for resolving your dilemma through the Tribunal. Please be aware that the parish will be unable to schedule a wedding date as long as you are bound to the prior marriage.

Parental Permission – If you or your intended spouse is under eighteen years of age you will be required to obtain written permission from your parents for the wedding to take place

Civil Marriage License – Priests and deacons when presiding at weddings in the State of Florida also act as civil officials. Therefore, you will need to provide him with a copy of your civil marriage license as soon as possible. At the latest, you should give it to the priest/deacon at the wedding rehearsal. If the priest/deacon is not going to act in the capacity of a civil official you will need to provide him with a copy of your marriage certificate to ensure that your marriage is recognized by the government of the United States of America.

4. Autobiographies

True love is based upon knowledge of yourself and your intended spouse, if it is not, it remains mere infatuation and fantasy. You should understand their concrete expression, that is to say, you should understand your personality and the personality of your intended spouse. When you enter into marriage you and your intended spouse are bringing everything of who you are into the relationship. Nothing is left behind no matter how much you wish that it could be. It is helpful to take some time as you begin a new journey in life to assess who you and your intended spouse are, how you became the people you are, and what you are both bringing into this new partnership.

There is something very definite and final about putting things in writing. It forces us to deliberate, to choose words carefully, to say what we really mean. Writing one’s autobiography can be difficult, perhaps even painful at times, and takes a great deal of effort. It will be its own reward, however, because it will force you to discover your real self. It will help you to begin the discovery of your loved one. It will give you a glimpse through the doors to your future.

We suggest the following outline for your autobiography. Write the autobiography yourself and once complete share it with your intended spouse. When you have completed your life history, may we ask that you mark it “Confidential” and bring it to your parish priest/deacon who is preparing you for your marriage.

Your Parents: Describe the personalities of your parents; how they got along with each other as you grew up; how they treated you; showed affection; emotions; encouragement; allowed you to mature; exercised discipline. Describe your feelings toward each parent in childhood and now; your reaction to your schooling, education, and upbringing.

Your Brothers and Sisters: Older, younger? Describe how you influenced one another and interacted with your parents, both growing up and now.

Your Teachers, Employers, and other Authority Figures: Describe how they influenced you, helped or possibly even hindered in your formation and your reaction to their advice or criticism.

Your Peers, Friends, and Co-Workers: Describe your long-lasting relationships; how you got along with others; your involvement in organizations or causes; your prejudices; your sensitivities; your ability to communicate; to express your feelings; your ability to trust.

Yourself: Describe your self-image (strengths, weaknesses); self-assertiveness; self-control; major interests; goals in life; health history; sense of responsibility; dependability; dependency; punctuality; neatness; use of money; use of your free time; manner of handling anger; rejection; failure; depression; fears; need for affection; emotional breakdowns; problems with alcohol; drug use; gambling; sex; legal problems. Describe your schooling, religious education and work record.

Your Religion: Briefly describe your beliefs, thoughts, feelings about God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Matrimony, prayer, your involvement in Church. Describe your understanding of what marriage is.

Your Fiancé’s Parents: Describe the personalities of his/her parents; how they got along with each other as he/she grew up; how they treated him/her; showed affection; emotions; encouragement; allowed him/her to mature; exercised discipline. Describe his/her feelings toward each parent in childhood and now; his/her reaction to their schooling, education, and upbringing.

Your Fiancé’s Brothers and Sisters: Older, younger? Describe how they influenced one another and interacted with his/her parents, both growing up and now.

Your Fiancé’s Teachers, Employers, and other Authority Figures: Describe how they influenced him/her, helped or possibly even hindered in their formation and his/her reaction to their advice or criticism.

Your Fiancé’s Peers, Friends, and Co-Workers: Describe his/her long-lasting relationships; how they got along with others; their involvement in organizations or causes; their prejudices; their sensitivities; their ability to communicate; to express their feelings; their ability to trust.

Your Fiancé: Describe his/her self-image (strengths, weaknesses); self-assertiveness; self-control; major interests; goals in life; health history; sense of responsibility; dependability; dependency; punctuality; neatness; use of money; use of his/her free time; manner of handling anger; rejection; failure; depression; fears; need for affection; emotional breakdowns; problems with alcohol; drug use; gambling; sex; legal problems. Describe his/her schooling, religious education and work record.

Your Fiancé’s Religion: Briefly describe his/her beliefs, thoughts, feelings about God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Matrimony, prayer, their involvement in Church. Describe his/her understanding about what marriage is.

Your Courtship: Describe how you met; what attracted you to the other; when and how the subject of marriage came up; any pressures to marry; what you look for in marriage; the reaction of your parents and friends to your marriage. Any doubts; any separations or breakups; any signs of breakdown in communication? What you feel you have in common. How you complement one another.

Your Future Life Together: Describe your awareness of and acceptance of each other’s shortcomings relative to your marital obligations. How do you intend to resolve your differences? Describe each other’s intentions concerning children. Do you plan to work, have a large family, etc.? Describe your intentions concerning your family’s religious and secular education. Do either of you plan to pursue a career? Describe your awareness of any problems which might arise concerning your work and your relationship to your spouse and intended family. Any in-law problems? Briefly describe what you expect from marriage.

5. Natural Family Planning

Couples seeking to be married within the Diocese of St. Augustine are required to be instructed in a method of natural family planning approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Diocesan Development Program for Natural Family Planning.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. NFP is not the Rhythm Method. More information is available atwww.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/index.shtml

Registration for NFP classes is available through the Diocesan Family Life Office www.dcfl.org

6. Marriage Instruction

Take FOCCUS or another inventory tool: FOCCUS is an acronym for “Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, and Study.” It is an inventory of questions that an engaged couple takes to help identify and address issues that may need to be worked through prior to marriage. It is not a compatibility test or a predictor of marital success. It is simply a tool designed to strengthen your relationship by promoting discussion about important aspects of married life. You may register for FOCCUS at www.dcfl.org

Attend a Marriage Preparation Course: There are two primary marriage preparation courses in the Diocese of Saint Augustine: Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter. These courses differ in format, but each is designed to help engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage by covering such topics as sexuality, family, and their role in the Church. More information on these programs is available at www.dcfl.org

Sponsor Couple: Your parish may ask that instead of or in addition to a marriage preparation course that have some meetings with a married couple. This couple will share their experiences with you and help you develop your own relationship

Individual Sessions with your Priest/Deacon: The number of these sessions and their content are determined by the priest/deacon who is preparing you for your marriage. At one of these sessions the actual wedding ceremony will be discussed.

Special Situations

1. Cohabitation/Living Together Before Marriage

“Cohabitation” is commonly referred to as “living together.” It describes the relationship of a man and woman who are sexually active and share a household, though they are not married.

The Church is particularly concerned about cohabitation because the practice is so common today and because, in the long run, it is causing great unhappiness for families in the Church. This is true, above all, because – even though society may approve of the practice – cohabitation simply cannot be squared with God’s plan for marriage. This may be why most couples who live together before marriage find married life difficult to sustain.

The Church does not invent laws. It passes on and interprets what God has revealed through the ages. No one in the Church has the right to change what Jesus has taught. To do so would be to deprive people of saving truths that were meant for all time. Our Christian faith teaches that a sexual relationship belongs only in marriage. Sex outside of marriage shows disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and human dignity.

Your engagement is meant to be a time of grace and growth in preparing for your marriage. We urge all engaged couples who are living together to separate. All Catholics should seek to be reconciled with God and the Church by going to confession and by going to Mass and Holy Communion regularly.

Living chastely during your remaining months of engagement will teach you many things about one another. It will help you to grow in the virtues of generous love, sacrificial giving, self-restraint and good communication – virtues which are essential for a good and lasting marriage.

We are sure that you have questions regarding this teaching and more information is available at: http://www.pacatholic.org/bishops-statements/living-together

2. Pre-Marital Pregnancy

In and of itself, a pregnancy will not determine whether to proceed or delay a proposed marriage. However, pregnancy can curtail the freedom of an individual to choose marriage. Are you choosing to marry because you want to form a partnership of the whole of life till death do you part with your intended spouse or are you wanting to give your child a name and avoid questions being asked by the community? You should marry for the former not the latter. To marry someone who you do not love and do not want to be with for your entire life in the Church is to lie before God and will strain your marital relationship.

If your decision to marry was made prior to your pregnancy your marital plans may continue without interruption.

If your decision to marry had not been made prior to the pregnancy the priest/deacon of your parish will encourage you to delay your wedding until after the birth of the child in order that you will not make a rash decision. We want to ensure that you are freely choosing to marry your intended spouse and not being pressured by circumstances into a marriage you are not sure you are ready for.

If either person is under the age of 20, a church marriage in the Diocese of St. Augustine may not take place until after the birth of the child. Permission to marry in this situation must be obtained from the bishop or his delegate. A letter which fully explains the circumstances for the request must accompany the request from the priest/deacon responsible for the couple’s preparation.

Even if you are pregnant you will be required to complete the entire marital preparation process like everyone else who is seeking to marry.

3. Pre-Nuptial Agreements

A pre-nuptial agreement can be defined as an agreement made before marriage to resolve issues surrounding the division of property and support if the marriage ends in death or divorce.

One of the essential properties of marriage is indissolubility. Marriage is “till death do us part.” In order to have a valid marriage, the bride and groom must intend by a positive act of their will a marriage that lasts until the end of life. Having a pre-nuptial agreement can call this intention into question and invalidate the marriage.

When marrying each spouse is to completely trust the other and give everything to the other. Entering into marriage by stating certain things are mine and certain things are yours already demonstrates a lack of trust in one another. This lack of trust is already sowing the seeds for a troubled marriage and eventual divorce.

If you are planning on signing a pre-nuptial agreement inform the priest/deacon preparing you for the sacrament. Let him have a copy of the agreement and explain your reasons for having it. He will discuss the situation with you and do what he can to help ensure that you will enter a valid and life long marriage.

It is common in Florida for intended spouses to be widowed with children and grandchildren. You each have a sizeable estate that you want to leave to them once you die. Therefore, you decide you do not want to combine these assets when you marry. You sign a pre-nuptial agreement that states in the event of the death of one of the spouses (without mentioning divorce) their prior assets will be passed to your children instead of to your spouse. This decision does not call into question your intention regarding marriage for the whole of life and therefore is acceptable. However, the same results can be accomplished through estate planning.

4. Mixed Marriages/Marriages between a Catholic and non-Catholic

Like most religious traditions, the Catholic Church encourages Catholics to marry another Catholic. This is because the family is the Domestic Church. It is the first school of the Christian life. In the bosom of the family, parents are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. The family is the first school of the Christian life.

Differences about faith, the notion of marriage, and other religious sensibilities, especially worship and the education of children can become sources of tension between husband and wife bringing disunity into the Domestic Church. This disunity has the ability to tear at the heart of the union between the spouses or lead to religious indifference.

For this reason, the Catholic Church discourages the contracting of mixed marriages. The Church desires that Catholics “be able to in matrimony attain to a perfect union of mind and full communion of life.” (Matrimonia Mixta, 1970)

However, since people have the natural right to marry the person of the opposite sex whom they choose, the Catholic Church allows Catholics to request “permission” to marry a baptized person who is not Catholic or a “dispensation” to marry an un-baptized person.

This request is made through the priest/deacon who is preparing you for marriage.

Our relationship with God is at the core of who we are. We do not want anything to endanger our relationship with Him. Therefore, when asking permission to marry a non-Catholic the Catholic party will be reminded of the importance of their faith. They will be asked to reaffirm their Catholic faith and promise God that they will do everything to preserve and live it. Furthermore, the Catholic must also promise God that they will, as far as possible, do all in their power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith in order that they may receive all the aids to eternal salvation which the Catholic Church provides for her children.

The non-Catholic party must be informed of these promises which the Catholic party has to make so that it is clear that he/she is cognizant of the promise and obligation on the part of the Catholic. The non-Catholic does not have to agree with the promise nor does the non-Catholic have to convert or promise anything. However, if the non-Catholic has serious difficulties with the Catholic making this promise there is already major disunity in the relationship and additional marital preparation will be necessary.

Catholics are expected to have their marriage in a Catholic Church with a Catholic priest/deacon asking for and receiving the exchange of consent. As your future spouse cannot receive the Eucharist, Holy Communion, it is customary to have the wedding outside the celebration of the Mass.

For a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, it is possible to request permission to be married within the church of your intended spouse by their pastor. You will still need to complete the Catholic preparation program. It is also possible to have your minister be a part of your wedding within the Catholic Church. The priest/deacon preparing you for the marriage can provide more information in this regard. As sacraments take place in churches it is rare for permission to be granted in order to have the wedding take place at the beach, hotel, etc.

By definition, a sacrament is for the baptized. Therefore, to receive the “sacrament” of matrimony you must have two baptized individuals. A marriage between a baptized individual and an un-baptized individual is a natural law marriage but not a sacrament. Therefore, if you are Catholic and marrying an un-baptized individual you may ask permission to have the marriage take place in any location.

5. Place of Marriage

Your marriage is a very significant emotional and spiritual event. It is also an event of great importance to the entire Christian community. Through the exchange of vows between the groom and bride Christ acts and provides a sign and means to express and strengthen the faith of all present, sanctifies humanity, strengthens ecclesiastical communion and renders worship to the Father. It is a very sacred action. As such the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony is to take place in a sacred worship space.

For a marriage between two Catholics, the marriage is to take place in a Catholic Church or chapel. Within the Diocese of Saint Augustine outdoor weddings are not permitted between Catholics unless they take place on the sacred grounds of the Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine.

For a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, it is possible to request permission to be married within the church of your intended spouse by their pastor. You will still need to complete our marriage preparation program. Even though your baptized fiancé is not Catholic they are a member of the body of Christ and you will be receiving the sacrament of matrimony together. As sacraments take place in sacred spaces set aside for worship it is rare for permission to be granted in order to have the wedding take place at the beach, hotel, etc.

By definition, a sacrament is for the baptized. Therefore, to receive the “sacrament” of matrimony you must have two baptized individuals. A marriage between a baptized individual and an un-baptized individual is a natural law marriage but not a sacrament. Therefore, if you are Catholic and marrying an un-baptized individual you may ask permission to have the marriage take place in a non-sacred space.

6. I am Catholic but did not get married in the Church, what do I do?

As you are now aware, Catholics are required to be married in front of a Catholic priest/deacon or have permission to marry in some other way. If a Catholic individual should get married outside the visible structure of the Church without permission the marriage is invalid. The Catholic is living with a person who is in fact not their spouse and is presumed to be in sin making them unable to receive the Eucharist, Holy Communion.

We are glad that you want to remove this sin and come back to the sacraments. In order for this to happen please contact your local priest/deacon.

As you are in fact not married you will ordinarily be required to complete the marriage preparation process required for all couples and marry within the Catholic Church. If you have been civilly married for a significant period of time the priest/deacon has the discretion to adjust the marriage preparation process to suit your particular situation.

As this ceremony will be your actual wedding consider long and hard what you are doing. This wedding ceremony will not miraculously fix any difficulties in your relationship. If you are having any marital problems these should be addressed and resolved before you move forward with the wedding.

Normally a wedding of this type takes place after the Catholic parties have been provided with the opportunity to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The wedding takes place with no pomp and pageantry and is small usually consisting of the priest/deacon, couple, two witnesses and a very small handful of people.

Annulments

What is an annulment?

An annulment is a declaration by a Church tribunal (a Catholic church court) that a marriage thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union.

A valid Catholic marriage results from five elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; (4) they intend the good of each other; and (5) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

An annulment is not just a “Catholic divorce.”  An annulment does not deny a relationship existed.  An annulment does not assign blame.  An annulment does not have any effect on civil divorce or custody issues.  An annulment does not change the legitimacy of any children born from that marriage.  An annulment simply states that what was thought to be a marriage was lacking some quality or characteristic required by the Church for that marriage to have been a sacrament.

Because the Church recognizes all-natural marriages and any children that may have been a product of those marriages, anyone who has been previously married and remarried or is married to someone who has been previously married must receive a declaration of nullity from the Church, even if you were not married in a Church.  An annulment is necessary to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) or the Sacraments of Vocation (Marriage and Holy Orders) and can take many months to complete.

Where do I begin?

If you live in Orange Park or are a parishioner of St. Catherine’s, you may contact Vincent Reilly by emailing him here or any parish priest to learn how to begin the annulment process.  If you are a member of another parish, please contact your parish’s annulment companion or parish priest.

The annulment companion or parish priest will seek to understand the situation of your marriage and help you to determine if this is the correct procedure for your situation or if a different procedure is required. Once they have determined that this is the correct procedure the annulment companion will tell you what documents will need to be gathered and how. They will also provide you with a questionnaire to answer.

Once you have gathered the required documents and completed the questionnaire, the annulment companion will review everything with you and help you to select the grounds upon which the marriage is to be challenged. The annulment companion will compose the formal petition which will be submitted to the Tribunal and ask you to sign it. Everything is then to be submitted to the Tribunal.

Please be aware that the annulment process has not begun until the Tribunal has jurisdiction to accept your case and formally does so. The many months you spent preparing your petition is prior to the start of the case. Every case is different and the Tribunal is unable to provide any timelines regarding the length of these proceedings. Given that the length and outcome of a case are not predetermined no date may be set for a future marriage until these proceedings are closed.

For more information

For more information about what an annulment is, please click here.

For more information about the revised annulment process, please click here.

For more information about the annulment process, please click here.

For more information about the myths of obtaining an annulment, please click here.

For more information about the grounds on which an annulment could be filed, please click here.

For more information about the impediments to marriage, please click here.

For more information about how to determine the type of case is necessary, please click here.

Youth

-NEW- Positively Dangerous Core Team

Open to High School Students

The Positively Dangerous Core Team is a group of youth who commit to a peer leadership retreat that is held during the summer so that they can meet during the school year to help plan and implement youth programs and events.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Offer ideas, suggestions, goals, and directions for all aspects of youth ministry.
  • Participate in the planning of events and programming.
  • Find ways to connect with youth not involved in parish life.
  • Assist with inviting teens to participate in youth ministry.
  • Assure ongoing assessment and recommendations for youth ministry programming.

Qualities Needed

  • Practices Catholic Faith
  • Able to make a commitment and follow-through
  • Ability to work in collaboration with others
  • Desire to learn leadership skills

Abilities Needed:

  • Love for God
  • Love for teens
  • Flexible
  • Ontime
  • Positive attitude
  • Constantly growing and learning

Additional Involvements:

  • Team meetings once a month
  • Parish youth ministry leadership workshops(August)
  • Training as offered

Length of Commitment:

  • August‐June, renewable

5th and 6th Grade Youth Ministry (E.D.G.E.)

This ministry is for students entering 5th & 6th grades. Students will enjoy our high energy activities and monthly faith challenges. Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 6:00 – 7:30 pm in Rooney Hall.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

7th and 8th Grade Youth Ministry (S.P.I.R.I.T.)

This ministry is for students entering 7th & 8th grades.  This ministry is a social and service group that introduces young teens to youth ministry, gives them the opportunity to meet other Catholic teens, and introduces the concept of service.   Students will enjoy our high energy activities, service opportunities, and off-campus events.

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30 – 8:45 pm in Rooney Hall.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

9th - 12th Grade Youth Ministry

SCY

This ministry is for students entering 9th – 12th grades. This ministry is a social and service group that invites teens into youth ministry by providing them the opportunity to meet other Catholic teens, group activities, leadership opportunities, and provide service to our community.   Students will enjoy our high energy activities, service projects, and off-campus events.

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30-8:45 in Rooney Hall.

CoffeeHouse

This ministry is for students entering 9th – 12th grades. This ministry is a discussion-oriented religious program.  The theory of this program is that everyone has questions about God and the Catholic faith and that is good because our faith has the answers for all of those questions!

Meeting Times:  Wednesday nights after Religious Education 7:30-8:45 in Youth Room.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or by email here

Young Adult Ages 18-25

This ministry is for the Young Adults of our parish ages 18-25.  This ministry provides a place for our college-age youth to gather and explore our faith as well as socialize with other young Catholic adults.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here


*All Ministries identified as “adults” are open to all of our young adults.*

To view those please click here.

Altar Servers

Open to Elementary School Students

This ministry opportunity is available to youth in the 5th grade or older; who have received their First Communion.  They assist the celebrant at the altar during the Mass and other liturgical occasions by lighting the candles, carrying the books and candles and other assistance as need by the presider.  Due to the nature of this ministry being an integral part of our liturgical celebration, a commitment to serve when scheduled and training sessions are required.

Training required:  3-5 training sessions with mandatory participation required; training available twice a year.

Time commitment:  At least 1 Mass per month scheduled to serve, available to serve at any Mass you attend.

For more information contact:

Lisa Murphy 904-264-0577 X.324 or email Lisa here

Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts

Open to Elementary, Junior High, and High School Students

St. Catherine’s sponsors Troop 424.

Meeting Times:  Boy Scouts/Tuesdays 7 pm-9 pm Haut Hall • Cub Scouts/Monday 6 pm-7 pm Formation Center

For more information contact:

Art Bilodeau  email Art here

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Time Travelers

Open to Preschoolers, Elementary School Students, and Young Adults can volunteer

Students

Children’s Liturgy of the Word is an age-appropriate Liturgy of the Word offered for ages 5 through 3rd graders at the 10:00 am Mass. No pre-registration is necessary. All children are welcome and encouraged to attend. Just before the Liturgy of the Word begins for the assembly, these children are invited to go with the weekly leaders from the church to the Church Conference Room.  During this special time, the volunteer liturgist leads the children through prayers, songs, and readings that are simplified for children. The children learn about the same Scripture readings as the rest of the assembly. They are taught a simplified main message of the readings and are encouraged to share that message with their parents after Mass. Volunteers are needed to teach the lessons each week, as well as to assist with the supervision of the children. This is a great opportunity for adults and middle school/high school youth to help these eager youngsters learn the Word of the Lord.

Time commitment:  15-20 minutes, during Mass, on Sunday morning • All volunteers and children are still able to participate in Mass

For more information contact:

Roger Davey 904-264-0577 X.324 or email Roger here

Young Adults

A team of parishioners who “go aside” with children at the 10 am Sunday liturgy, to hear the Word of God proclaimed from a lectionary designed especially for children.  Leaders are able to fully participate in the Mass.  Some preparation for each “going aside” is required.

Training required:  Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement.

Time commitment:  Any preparation time throughout the week • 15-20 minutes, during Mass, on Sunday morning • All volunteers are still able to participate in Mass.

For more information contact:

Roger Davey 904-264-0577 X.321 or email Roger here

Ending Poverty In Community

Open to High Schoolers

Epic Moments / Epic Days

Epic Moments:
Are intended to bring the parish together with everyone doing one small action.  Each person’s small action becomes the parish large project.

Epic Moments Projects:  Fill the Pot  • Pack the Backpack

Epic Days of Service:
These are days of formation, action, and service to our community.
EPIC Day Spring’s project is a small food garden for low-income families.  These help with food cost and a healthy diet.
EPIC Day Fall’s project is stuffing stockings full of toiletries for the men and women on the “outside” at the Sulzbacher Center.  Toothbrush and toothpaste are an important part of the stocking. Dental Health is a great need among the homeless.

Scheduled Meeting:  The EPIC moment outreach is done 3 times a year after the 10 and Noon Mass  • EPIC Days of Service are in December and May

Time Commitment:  EPIC moment’s 5 min. commitment  • EPIC Days of Service 4 hours  • EPIC Educational 25 hours

For more information contact:

Cheri Forster at 904-264-0577 x.310 or email her here

I want to know Y (Online)

Open to High Schoolers

You need to know what you believe.  You need to know your faith just as a good musician needs to know the piece of music he is playing. There’s a lot about our faith you may not understand.  We would like you to visit this online ministry to answer the question “WHY do we believe that?” With answers to your questions through the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Just5Days

Open to those in Junior High

This program is for upcoming 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  Just5Days is a five-day experience of service, hands-on learning activities, prayer and liturgy, and community building designed for groups of middle school youth and their adult leaders from Catholic parishes and schools.  The Center for Ministry Development provides daily programming designed just for middle schoolers—lots of visual learning, hands-on activities, movie clips, small group projects, and discussions. Middle schoolers will learn about Catholic social teaching and the importance of justice, and they will have fun doing it. Dynamic prayer services and liturgy engage young participants in full and active participation, making faith more tangible for them.

Training Required:  Adult Volunteers • Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement.

Time Commitment:  1 Week in June

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email her here

Living Stations of the Cross

Open to those in High School

This ministry is a group of 14 actors of all ages presenting the Stations of the Cross from the viewpoint of one who was there.

Time Commitment:  1 Dress Rehearsal • 2 Performances

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Living the Pure Life (Online)

Open to those in High School

This is an online ministry that focuses mainly on chastity.  It is updated bi-weekly with practical advice to help teens “apply” the teachings of our faith to their lives.  It will be packed with real-life examples, videos, and words of encouragement as well as wisdom.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Religious Education

Open for those from Preschool – High School

Our Religious Education program offers instruction to students from Kindergarten through Grade 12.   All Catholic children attending public or private non-Catholic schools are expected to participate in this program.

Our philosophy at St. Catherine’s Religious Education program is that parents are the primary educators of their children. Formal religious education is a necessary element of and a supplement to home teaching and example. Through an enjoyable classroom experience, children are nurtured in the truths and teachings of their faith and are called to worship and serve Jesus as they form their Christian identity and take their place in the Christian community. The curriculum is developmental and builds a broad base of religious knowledge. Our program reflects an integrated learning experience composed of catechesis, prayer, sacramental preparation, traditional Catholic doctrine, biblical studies, liturgy, community building, and other dimensions of vibrant Church life.

Religious Education is offered on Sundays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays and requires pre-registration.  Registration for the following year begins in April.

For more information, visit the Religious Education tab on this page or
contact Roger Davey, Coordinator of Religious Education by emailing Roger here.

Theology of the Body (Online)

Open to those in High School

This online ministry helps teens truly understand Blessed John Paul II’s vision of what it means to be a human person.  I will be packed with real-life examples, videos, and words of encouragement as well as wisdom.

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Urban Plunge

Open to those in High School

This program is for upcoming 10th graders – Freshman in college.  Urban Plunge is a group of teens and adults will be experiencing inner-city life in St. Augustine for one week in June/July during the summer.  We will be working in a soup kitchen, painting houses, doing carpentry, building wheelchair ramps, yard work, heavy cleaning, etc. * (*means whatever else needs to be done for people who have no one else to do it.) Our evening prayer services and Wednesday evening Mass are the highlights of the trip.

Training Required:  Adult Volunteers • Completed background check • Fingerprinting process • References provided and signature required of the diocesan ethical agreement • 3 Community Building meetings  Teen Volunteers • 3 Community Building meetings

Time Commitment:  3 Community Building meetings • 1 Week in June or July

For more information contact:

Rudie Gillett 904-264-0577 X.326 or email Rudie here

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Preschool – Elementary

Vacation Bible School is a wonderful, uplifting experience that can enhance your child’s spirituality and social skills.  Our program consists of a week-long program in June of religious education which utilizes Bible stories, skits, religious songs, and arts and crafts for children age 3 – entering Grade 5.  This is all accomplished with the help of our parent volunteers and our high school youth.  Pre-registration usually occurs in April.

For more information, contact Roger Daveyemail Roger here

Junior High

Each summer an action-packed week of Catholic fun is offered to Junior High students through St. Catherine’s Vacation Bible School.  Designed for children entering Grades 6-8, and enhanced by over many volunteers, the campus is filled with crafts, games, skits, food, music, laughter, and of course, Bible stories.

For more information, contact Roger Daveyemail Roger here

 

Youth Christmas Choir

Youth ages 10-21, Pianists with at least 3 years of experience, and instrumentalists with at least 2 years of experience.

Time Commitment:  Thursdays in December, Practice from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Choir Room •

For more information contact:

Jim Huges 904-264-0577  or email Jim here

Youth Choir

Youth ages 10-21, Pianists with at least 3 years of experience, and instrumentalists with at least 2 years of experience.

Time Commitment:  Thursday Practice from 6:15 pm – 7:00 pm in Choir Room • 1 Mass a month (Mass times change each month)

For more information contact:

Jim Huges 904-264-0577  or email Jim here

Religious Education

Click here to view Confirmation Retreat Flier

Click here to view Apprentice-Catechist-Application

Click here to view the Calendar

Religious Education Information

Our philosophy at St. Catherine’s Religious Education program is that parents are the primary educators of their children. Formal religious education is a necessary element of and a supplement to home teaching and example. Through an enjoyable classroom experience, children are nurtured in the truths and teachings of their faith and are called to worship and serve Jesus as they form their Christian identity and take their place in the Christian community. The curriculum is developmental and builds a broad base of religious knowledge. Our program reflects an integrated learning experience composed of catechesis, prayer, sacramental preparation, traditional Catholic doctrine, biblical studies, liturgy, community building, and other dimensions of vibrant Church life.

Our religious education program offers instruction to students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. All Catholic children attending public schools or non-Catholic private schools are expected to participate in this program. The religious education program offers an ongoing, continuing development of the Christian personality. The program is not a convenience for the reception of the sacraments of Confirmation, Eucharist, and Reconciliation. Just as the sacraments are not isolated events, but rather an integral part of the Christian life, so too, each grade in religious education adds to the development of the Christian life. Our aim is to provide a loving and caring Christian atmosphere in which our parish youth can grow in sound Christ-like attitudes and values.

Religious Education, Encounter, meets on:

  • Tuesdays/Martes 5:00pm-6:30pm  (Grades 1-9)
  • Wednesdays/Miercoles 6:00pm-7:30pm (Grades 1-9 and RCIA)

For more information about Encounter, please contact Roger Davey at (904) 264-0577 or email Roger here.

To see our yearly calendar, please click here. (Currently being adjusted)

To register for Religious Education 2018-2019, please click here.

Religious Information Registration

Please complete the following form to register for Religious Education 2018-2019.  If you are in need of financial assistance with Religious Education, please contact Roger Davey in the Parish Office for the discount code.

Registration Form (This link will open a new page)

Encounter

Welcome to our NEW Religious Education Experience

Are you ready to ENCOUNTER?

Learn more here…

Encounter Newsletter

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 4 – Oct 23 & 24

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 3 – Oct 16 & 17

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 2 – Oct 9 & 10

Encounter, Vol 1, Issue 1 – Oct 2 & 3