FaithWays - Program One Details 

Welcome to FaithWays

Welcome to FaithWays! We would like to affirm you in your care and concern for the young adolescents of your parish community! We believe that young adolescents are truly a “hidden treasure” of our Church. When their curiosity and enthusiasm are channeled into learning and leading, the results are beneficial to both the young adolescents and our Church!

As Catholics, we understand that faith formation is a lifelong process. As with most “processes” there are particularly critical stages that can significantly affect the outcome. In human development as well as faith formation, young adolescence is one of the “critical points” in the process. Young adolescents facing the challenge of life today desperately need the guidance of caring Christian adults and the support of a faith community. FaithWays is a resource that will help us respond to the needs of young adolescents in your parish, as they develop their values and identify as Catholic young people.

Goals of FaithWays

The challenge of any faith community, and the goal of  St George’s Faithways, is to access the wealth and diversity of resources within the parish so as to provide a meaningful and effective faith formation program for young adolescents which engages their energy, imagination, curiosity, compassion and playful spirit in an exploration of the Catholic faith. 

St George’s Faithways is developed on the theological premise that faith formation is a multifaceted and progressive life-long process; the educational premise that individuals function with different learning styles; the catechetical premise that young adolescents typically demonstrate a conventional/affiliated style of faith development; and the curricular premise that the faith community itself (beliefs, traditions, practices) is the best “curriculum” for faith formation of its members.

Since the “content” of faith education is most clearly understood in the beliefs and practices of the people, then faith formation needs to be understood as an “educational ministry” that is embedded in and involves the entire parish community. Therefore, the opportunities and methods for developing faith are as diverse as the community of faith itself. 

This perspective significantly shifts our understanding of “curriculum.” In her book Fashion Me A People, Maria Harris emphasizes that as church people we must consistently distinguish between the curriculum of education and the curriculum of schooling. She suggests that “curriculum” is about the mobilizing of creative educative powers in such a way as to fashion a “people of God” through the practices of the people.1 This is very different than the traditional notion of curriculum as stacks of teacher guides and student textbooks. 

There are several distinct avenues, or curricular forms, through which faith is formed. The four curricular forms which comprise St George’s St George’s Faithways are Teaching, Prayer and Worship, Service, and Community. These are the avenues through which young adolescents will experience the traditions, explore the beliefs, and engage in the practices of the Catholic community to which they belong. 

FaithWays Program Requirements

FaithWays is designed to be family-friendly and flexible. We utilize a credit hour system to track  progress to our Confirmation program. All students (grade 6-8) attend the same programs. Each year the group moves to the next program until all three programs have been completed.

Students in grade 6-8 will follow the curriculm of our Family of Faith program. This is a transition year from grade 1-5 to our youth ministry based FaithWays program. 

In addition, FaithWays students may then earn additional credit hours for all of the optional programs they attend during the year, and by participating in our reVERB Youth Mininstry program sessions. 60 hours are required for students entering in the sixth grade over the three years. For those beginning the program in another year - see requirements below.

Eighth graders – 15 credit hours plus 5 hours** of service (Total 20)
    Seventh graders – 30 credit hours plus 10 hours** of service (Total 40)
    Sixth graders – 45 credit hours plus 15 hours** of service (Total 60)
**5 hours of service each year - grades 6-8)


Program One - 2018

Family of Faith
This program provides parents the resources to teach the faith to their children within the ordinary life of the family.  The ‘class time’ is Sunday Mass (at a time convenient for them). In addition, there will be a resource available for parents to help them in preparing for the liturgy as a family. Once a month there will be a meeting for parents that will introduce material to them.  They will be provided with a book that offers short 5-10 minute activities that can be done with their children.  The parent decides which activities are developmentally appropriate for their children. 

Parent- Young Adolescent Orientation Meeting (Sept 11- 6:00 p)
- This program is designed as both an informational and motivational session for parents and young adolescents. Participants will have an opportunity to hear about the FaithWays program, meet other participants, meet volunteer leaders, and discover how they can become involved in the coming year.  (no credit hours) Required Session

Optional Programming

FaithWays - Optional Program Registration form for students located here

FaithWays - Optional Program Volunteer registration form located here

Celebrating World Youth Day  (Oct 28 - 10:30 a) is a celebration of both young and older adolescents.  (1 credit hour)

The Fellowship and Fun Night - (Oct 5 - 6:00 pm)  combines friendship, fun and food in a program designed to build community through camaraderie . The program includes two rounds of team activities which encourage participants to interact with one another in a fun an d cooperative way. The play time is interspersed with breaks for pizza an d dessert.  (2 credit hours)

The Thanksgiving Jubilee Experience (November 11 - 11:30 am) includes a learning session on the Old Testament concept of “Jubilee,” followed by a parish-wide, youth- directed, service project. This activity is designed as in independent service-learning experience.  (2 credit hours)

Parent-Youth Session – Who are We as Family - (POSTPONED) - 11:30 am) This session is designed as a two-hour program for parents and young adolescents to participate in together. Through a variety of reflections and activities, participants will learn about the developmental tasks of families with young adolescents, identify some of the changes that are taking place in their family, and reflect on how their family responds to change. (2 credit hours)

Advent Wreath - (Dec 8 - 1:00pm) Participants will learn about the liturgical year, the season of Advent and the importance of rituals and symbols to help us celebrate Christmas as a “holy day” rather than simply a “holiday.” They will learn how to make an Advent wreath and be provided a prayer service to lead with their families during the Advent season.  (1.5 credit hours)

Christmas Cookie Baking (NOTE NEW DATE  - Dec 15 - 1:00 pm) with Young Adolescents involves young adolescents gathering in small groups to share Christmas stories and bake cookies to be shared with families or people in need or sold at a youth sponsored bake sale with proceeds to help the poor. (2 credit hours)

Baptism of the Lord - This event is designed to engage young adolescents in learning about the meaning and elements of a Eucharistic liturgy through preparing a parish liturgy which celebrates the Baptism of the Lord. This particular liturgy is highlighted as a way to introduce the adolescents to their winter learning theme of “The Story of Jesus” by celebrating Jesus’ baptism. It is also an opportunity for the young adolescents to help all members of the community celebrate their own baptism and call to ministry.  (2 credit hours)

Mardi Gras -(Cancelled) This program is a two-hour event of food, fun, friends and faith. It begins with a festive Mardi Gras celebration of favorite foods and games and then shifts from “feasting to fasting” with a reflection and prayer service that prepares the young adolescents for a meaningful experience of Lent. This event is a good prelude to the Lenten FaithWays service projects.  (2 credit hours)

Movie Night for adolescents - (May 19 - 6:30 pm) This program provides a variety of options for offering fun and interactive video viewing. (2 credit hours)

Valentine’s Celebration – Parent’s Night Out - (Cancelled) This program is designed to allow young adolescents to appreciate and support all parents of the parish by sponsoring an evening of organized child care. It provides both an opportunity for young adolescents to share their baby-sitting talents, and for parents to enjoy an evening for themselves. (3 credit hours)

Soup and Stations -  (March 15 - 5:30 pm - 7:00pm)

Assist the Women’s Guild with the serving of a simple meal of soup to parishioners followed by attending the Stations of the Cross. (1.5 credit hours)

Soup and Stations -  (March 22 - 5:30 pm - 7:00pm)

Assist the Women’s Guild with the serving of a simple meal of soup to parishioners followed by attending the Stations of the Cross. (1.5 credit hours)

Soup and Stations -  (March 29 - 5:30 pm - 7:00pm)

Assist the Women’s Guild with the serving of a simple meal of soup to parishioners followed by attending the Stations of the Cross. (1.5 credit hours)

Lent Service Session - Walking in Jesus’ Footsteps   - (March 31 - 11:30 am)  Walking in Jesus’ Footsteps focuses on the Christian call to serve those in need. It combines a structured learning session with small-group involvement in direct service.  (2 credit hours and Service hours)

Soup and Stations -  (April 5 - 5:30 pm - 7:00pm)

Assist the Women’s Guild with the serving of a simple meal of soup to parishioners followed by attending the Stations of the Cross. (1.5 credit hours)

Soup and Stations -  (April 12 - 5:30 pm - 7:00pm)

Assist the Women’s Guild with the serving of a simple meal of soup to parishioners followed by attending the Stations of the Cross. (1.5 credit hours)

Exploring the Sacrament of Baptism -  (April 14 - 11:30 am) This is the first of a two-part program which explores the sacrament of Baptism with young adolescents. In Part One: Understanding Baptism, the participants will discuss the process of being welcomed into a community, experience the primary symbols used in the celebration of Baptism, and discover the important role they play in the sacramental ritual. Part Two: Baptism: Up Close and Personal engages the adolescents in dialogue with families preparing for Baptism.  (2 credit hours)

Parent-Youth Session – Skills for growing as a family - (TBA) This session is designed as a two-hour program for parents and young adolescents to participate in together.   (2 credit hours for session one- 1 credit hour for session 2)

Pizza, Prayer and a Priest - (May 17 - 7:00 - 8:30 pm)

A time for socializing, some prayer and conversation and activities that are meant to help youth form community, grow in faith and learn how they can utilize their gifts in our parish.

Spring Fling -  (May 24 - 6:00pm) This event is designed as a celebration of the season through music, fun, and friends . (2 credit hours)

The Scavenger Hunt - (June 15 - 10:00 am) This program is designed with several options for young adolescents to work together toward achieving a goal. In teams with an adult leader, they will engage in a scavenger hunt which requires group cooperation to complete while simultaneously building camaraderie among the participants.  (2 credit hours)

Year-End Welcome for Incoming Grade - (June 9 - 11:30 am) This activity serves as a way for current FaithWays participants to welcome the incoming grade, and present an overview of the FaithWays program. New participants are welcomed into FaithWays in the spring so they can participate in the summer community building activities. The program plan includes group activities from the previous year of FaithWays programming. Using familiar activities enables current FaithWays participants to feel comfortable and confident in leading the activities for the young adolescents who are entering from the elementary program.  (no credit hours)

Day Hike -  (Aug 17 - 9:00 am) This program offers several options for organizing a day hike. Types of hikes to choose from include nature, urban, rural, “vertical” and historical. Young adolescents will take pride in reaching their hiking goal, and build a sense of self- esteem and community with their peers.  (3 credit hours)

No Place Like Home - This learning session on the topic of homelessness is followed by action suggestions that can be organized as individual, small group or family projects. This activity is designed as an independent service-learning experience that can be slated for summer use or, with slight adaptation to the action suggestions, done any other season of the year.    (2-3 credit hours)

Summer Bike Trip - (July 8 - 9:00 am ) This program offers several options for organizing a bike trip. This event encourages young adolescents to build friendships with peers and adults while enjoying some outdoor exercise. It is a positive alternative to summer boredom and the “couch potato” syndrome!  (2-3 credit hours)

© St George Parish, Westport, MA