The religious education or catechetical program at St. Dunstan's Basilica is twofold: we seek to pass on the rich teachings of the Catholic faith and to introduce our young people to the person of Jesus Christ.
We strive to impart the doctrine of the Catholic faith in our teaching by using methods that will engage our students & encourage them to connect the Catholic faith to their own lives. We teach the youth in our program how to pray and why prayer is important. We open the Scriptures with them and hope to imbue in them a love for God's word. We spend time teaching the doctrine of the Catholic faith and using examples and activities that reinforce these teachings.
The name of catechesis was given to the whole of the efforts within the Church to make disciples, to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God...and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ. (Catechesi Tradendae #1).
The foremost goal of catechesis is to place the seeker of truth in touch with the person of Jesus Christ, (CT#5) who is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14,6).
We offer classes as of Kindergarten age through to grade 9, with sacramental preparation for First Eucharist and Reconciliation usually taking place in Grade 2, and preparation for Confirmation in Grade 9.
We use the diocesan program "Be My Disciples" from RCL Benziger.
For the letter from the Religious Education Coordinator, click here
For a schedule of our yearly classes, please click here – Calendar 2019-2020
For our registration forms, please click here – Registration Form 2019-2020
Class times are Sunday mornings from 9am-10:15am from September through April. We meet in the lower level of the Basilica, the Glastonbury Hall. The celebration of Holy Communion and Confirmation take place later in the month of May or June. Exact date TBA.
There is retreat for the Confirmation and candidates and two mini-retreats for those children seeking First Reconciliation and Holy Communion. These usually fall on a Saturday.
The kindergarten/grade 1 combined class focuses on the first stories of Jesus. They share the Gospel aloud in class by participating in activities that reinforce the Gospel message. We expand on this by including teachings on the Bible as God's word, and the love of God our Father as Creator. We also teach the children about Jesus, God's own son who came into the world to save us, and about Mary, the Mother of God. The children learn also about our great helper, the Holy Spirit. They learn about how Jesus founded the Church. They are introduced to the Holy Mass and the sacraments. They also learn the importance of prayer and work on practicing prayers in class.
In Grade 2 we focus on the covenants God has made with His people throughout salvation history. We see the story of God's love and fidelity poured out through the ages leading up to his death on the cross. The children learn about grace, sin, mercy and forgiveness as they prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They also focus on the Mass, the signs and symbols and the real transformation of bread & wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. They learn the different parts of the Mass and how to prepare for Mass and how to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
The Grade 3 class focuses more deeply on the Scriptures as God's word speaking to us. They learn about God the Father, Creator of all things, and how Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to save us from sin. They explore more deeply Jesus' life on earth and his ministry, his miracles and his teachings. They are inspired by the lives of the saints which they read about in class as examples of people who have given themselves completely to God. They learn about the Liturgical year and the sacraments.
In Grade 4 we deepen further in the concepts already covered in previous years and talk more about the theological virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We also teach about the life of grace, the ten commandments, and making moral choices.
The Grade 5/6 combination class is a year where the Scriptures are studied more frequently, and time is spent discussing the great mystery of the Holy Trinity as well as the Paschal Mystery. The youth are taught about the seven sacraments and they break open what the sacraments are, their signs and symbols and the specific effects and graces associated with each sacrament. They also look closely at the lives of the saints, the beatitudes and the great commandment as instruction and inspiration for how a Christian life ought to be lived.
Our Junior Teen program combines youth as of grade 7 through 9. We use the video-based program, Decision Point, which covers church teachings and confirmation preparation over the course of these formative years. Decision Point is the first confirmation program specifically developed to engage young Catholics in a meaningful conversation about the genius of Catholicism. It teaches and inspires teens to respond to God’s grace, and it’s changing hundreds of thousands of young lives.
The younger children are prepared for the gift of Reconciliation and Holy Communion in grade 2. Often, however, we have older children who are seeking these sacraments or reception into the Catholic Church and they are prepared in the age specific level classes and receive extra teaching in readiness for these sacraments. Should you have an older child seeking the sacraments please talk to Father or the religious education director so that the best method of preparation can be found.
For adults seeking reception into the Catholic Church or the Sacraments Holy Communion or Confirmation we ask that you talk with our priest about our Rite of Christian Initiation process or sacramental preparation for adults.