A Eucharistic Community joined to worship, serve and know God.

Parent Handbook

Religious Education 



The Catholic Church has issued many documents that describe the ministry of catechesis.  This program is based upon the principles and guidelines found in these documents.  The General Directory for Catechesis, The National Catechetical Directory, The Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as diocesan statements on the ministry of catechesis provide a framework for our parish programs.  The following is a summary of the most important directives provided by these documents and a clarification of how they help guide the catechetical program  in this parish.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Pope John Paul II from Catechesi Tradendae as he describes what is entailed in the ministry of catechesis:


            Catechesis is an education in faith of children, young people and adults

            which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted,

            generally speaking, in an organic an systematic way, with a view to

            initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.




The National Catechetical Directory further clarifies what elements should be a part  of a quality catechetical program.


Like other pastoral activities, catechetical ministry must be understood

in relation to Jesus’ threefold mission.  It is a form of the ministry of the

word, which proclaims and teaches.  It leads to and flows from the ministry

of worship, which sanctifies through prayer and sacrament.  It supports the

ministry of service, which is linked to efforts to achieve social justice…





Guided by the principles found in the documents of the Church concerning the

ministry of catechesis, the catechetical program of Saint Callistus Parish will include

the following elements.



            The story of Scripture and the teachings of the Church will be

            communicated within the context of the faith story of each student and

            the signs of the times.



            Efforts will be made to form Christian community among the students

            through interaction and faith sharing.



            The participants will experience many forms of Catholic prayer and

            worship to help them become prayerful people.



            Participants will be called to service and justice, which is inherent in the

            message of Jesus and the teachings of the Church.


Religious Education Program

Mission Statement


Religious Education and formation of Saint Callistus Parish are meant to provide structure and foster growth in Christian living.  Our purpose is to provide opportunities so the faith of all members becomes living and active through the light of formal and informal instruction.


This educational ministry, supplemental to that of the instruction by the individuals family is offered on the pre-school, elementary, junior, senior high and adult levels.

Message, Community, Worship, Service

Vision Statement


The Community of Saint Callistus provides a warm environment so that all will be able to grow in awareness of the Love of God through knowledge and the practice of a faith sharing community to show the love of God to others.






Saint Callistus Catholic Parish strives to be a Christian community faithful to the Gospel and the Catholic Tradition.  The parish is, in reality, a community of communities:  students, faculty, townspeople, commuters, laborers, all united in the endless struggle and search to know, love and serve God, self and one another. The unique diversity of the parish offers at once a challenge and a rich resource for learning.


The goals of Saint Callistus Catechetical program are:

  • To provide a program of formal religious instruction for the children and youth of the parish.
  • To support parents in their roll as primary educators of their children.
  • To offer sacramental preparation to children and youth.
  • To help youth discover the richness and challenges of Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
  • To build a strong Catholic identity among the youth of the parish.
  • To allow youth to experience the Church as community.
  • To deepen the prayer life of children and youth.
  • To motivate youth to live lives rooted in charity and justice based on the moral teachings of the church.
  • To expose students to the liturgical and sacramental richness that is part of the Catholic Tradition.
  • To enable students to become responsible, self-reflecting, loving and praying individuals.
  • To make programs that meet diverse spiritual needs available to adults of the parish.





Saint Callistus religious education program does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, physical or mental challenges.


Any family that is registered in Saint Callistus parish may enroll their children in the catechetical program. In order for their children to be admitted, the family must complete the appropriate registration and student information forms and indicate that they have read and accept the policies contained in this handbook.  Parent are also required to fill out a health form on each of the children they seek to enroll in the program.


Students are typically enrolled in the grade in which they are currently attending in school, unless other arrangements are made with the religious education leader.  An exception to this may be necessary to meet specific requirements for sacramental preparation.


A general registration session for all children not already attending religious education class will be held in September. Families who wish to enroll their children at other times during the year may do so by contacting the religious education leader.




All students are required to have their religion text book for class.  Failure to do so results in confusion not only for the child but for the Catechist. If the text book is lost, he/she will need to purchase a new text from the Religious Education Office.



Families with children who were not baptized at this parish are requested to bring a copy of the baptismal certificate, along with any other sacramental records, when the initially enroll their child in the program.  Children who have not been baptized will be accepted into the program provided the family intends to have them baptized and is willing to enroll them in the children’s initiation program for further study.




Catechists that teach the classes in the religious education program are volunteers.  The parish has made every effort to screen them to insure that they are capable of handling the responsibility involved in this ministry. The parish also offers training courses that increase the skills needed for the catechists to be successful. The religious education leader supervises the catechists in order to help them fulfill their responsibility.  As parents you are asked to recognize the challenges involved in being a volunteer catechist and support them in whatever ways possible. If any problems arise however, please first contact the catechist to discuss the situation. If that does not lend to satisfactory resolution, please contact the religious education leader. All parishioners have the right to final recourse from the pastor of the parish.




Children who are enrolled in the parish catechetical program are expected to be in attendance for each scheduled class session.  It is the responsibility of parent(s) to insure their presence.  If your child is to be absent, you are asked to contact the religious education office in advance.  Attendance will be taken weekly and the parent(s) will be called by the religious education leader if the child is absent and we have not receive prior notification.




When a child has been absent from class, a written excuse from the parent should be sent to the Religious Education office on the day the child return with the reason for the absence.




Each class session builds on the material covered in preceding classes. Children who are absent miss a great deal and will have to make up the material covered in the missed class.




Classes are held in the Parish Center.  Parent(s) are asked to bring their children before the start of classes.  Supervision will be provided for students during the stated class times.  The program is not responsible for supervising children arriving more that 15 minutes early, nor for the activity of the children 15 minutes after dismissal.  Please pick up your child promptly at the end of class.  Children walking from school will be supervised before and after snack in the Church Hall.  Children are to be picked up only by parent(s) or their designee.  Parent(s) are to notify the religious education leader if someone other that the parent or designee is to pick up their children.  While all reasonable attention will be given to car-pools and the like, the police will be notified immediately if a child is seen leaving in a car not recognized by the religious education staff.



Pre - School and Kindergarten classes are held on Sunday morning during the 10:30 Mass.  Elementary classes are held on Wednesday afternoons from 3:15 to 4:30pm.  Grade 6-12 meet on Sunday evening from 6:00PM to 7:30PM. Post Confirmation class will be offered Sunday afternoon that would include prayer, and an activity.   According to Diocesan policy Saint Callistus will follow the 40 hour class time.



Catechists are encouraged to assign work for the children to do at home with the assistance of their parent(s).  Parent(s) are encouraged to ask the children about homework after each class period.  Also, the text have parent pages to take home for review.



Parent(s) will be sent a progress report for each of their children twice a year.  The reports will be sent at the end of January and at the end of April.  The report in January must be returned to class.




Saint Callistus religious education leader will maintain a file for each student/family.  Included in this file will be registration form, copy of children’s Baptismal Certificate, record of sacraments received at Saint Callistus, along with attendance and performance records.  Parent(s) can review these records during normal working hours by contacting the religious education leader.  These records are the property of Saint Callistus and are available to all the professional staff of the parish.  This material will not be released to anyone outside those mentioned above without the written consent of the parent(s)/



Saint Callistus parish follows the Diocese of Erie Curriculum Guidelines issued by Bishop Donald Trautman in January of 1995.  Textbooks and other materials used in the classrooms of Saint Callistus are in conformity with the teachings found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and have been selected to most closely match the Diocesan Curriculum.  They have also been chosen because they offer catechists the resources necessary to conduct classes, which include all the elements of the ministry of catechesis.  Presently the textbooks used are:

            Pre-School,  Elementary,  Grade 6-11, and Confirmation use the text designated by Bishop Trautman - RCL.



All of these texts have been evaluated and found acceptable by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Catechism of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Parents who would like to examine the text material should contact the religious education leader or pastor.




Some parents, especially those who home-school their children instead of sending them to public school, may choose to offer catechetical instruction to their children at home.  Because the pastor is responsible for all forms of catechesis in the parish, it is the parent’s responsibility to communicate to the pastor or the Religious Education Leader that they wish to offer catechesis to their children at home.


The Diocese of Erie has specific requirements concerning home schooling.  As a parish of the Diocese of Erie, we follow these polices and guidelines.  If you are interested in home schooling, please contact the Religious Education leader for a copy of the diocesan guidelines concerning home schooling.  Once you have read the guidelines and feel that you would like to undertake this project, please contact the Religious Education leader as he/she has been delegated to oversee this process in the name of the pastor (except for interviews prior to the reception of the sacraments.)




The parish follows the diocesan policies for the sacramental preparation.


Children are prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation  during the second grade.  The preparation involves family workshops (parent meeting(s)), a retreat day, catechesis at home, along with classroom preparation as found in the regular classroom text.  First Reconciliation will be held during a Lenten Family/Communal Reconciliation Service.


Two other opportunities are provided through the religious education program during Advent and Lent.  Parents are encourage to bring their child to the Sacrament of Penance at other times throughout the year.


Students are prepared for First Holy Communion in the third grade. The preparation involves family workshops (parent{s}), a retreat day, along with regular classroom instruction.  First Holy Communion is celebrated during weekend mass set by the pastor of the parish.


Confirmation is celebrated for the students in the 12th grade at Saint Callistus Parish.  The preparation involves weekly meetings with the youth, a retreat, an evening of reflection and parent meetings as well as twenty-five hours of service to the parish and/or community. Confirmation is celebrated in the Fall of the Senior year.  These dates are typically announced toward the end of January or early February.


Celebration of Liturgy and the Liturgical Year:  In an attempt to help children and youth understand more deeply the power and mystery of the sacred liturgy, they will be given the opportunity to celebrate the seasons of the liturgical year.  Youth will also be given opportunities to plan and celebrate paraliturgies (prayer services) and Eucharistic liturgies (Mass).  Insofar as is possible, parent(s) will be notified of such occasions and will be invited to attend.  The students will participate in the Stations of the Cross and the serving of the Soup Supper.







Everyone  involved in the program is challenged by the words and example of Jesus to respect each person’s right to be treated not only with dignity and respect but also with love.  In order to provide for a safe and well ordered program in which students and catechists can learn to follow Jesus’ call to love, some rules for behavior are necessary.  Students are expected by their behavior to make the classes safe and positive experiences for themselves and their classmates.  The program exists for student growth and in turn students are expected to carry out the following responsibilities.


1.     Show respect to catechists, other students and program personnel.


2.     Treat the property, good name and physical safety of others with respect.


3.     Be present only in the areas of the building for which they have permission at a specific time.


4.     Act in a safe manner in and around the building.


5.     Use voice and display actions in a manner appropriate for a classroom.


6.     Be respectful of the study time and others.


7.     Use of, or possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco is strictly prohibited.    Such items will be seized and parents notified immediately.  The child will be immediately removed from the environment.



Good discipline is self-discipline and is always aimed toward growth.  We recognize that children may make mistakes and the role of the catechist at times will be one of guiding and correcting those mistakes in a positive manner.  These corrections will always be done with the best interest of the child in mind and at no time will Saint Callistus accept the demeaning or intimidation of children in the name of discipline.






            At the time of the first correction, the student will be warned.


            Students whose behavior becomes a continual problem in the classroom will be sent out of class to the Religious Education leader.  Anytime a student is sent from class for disciplinary reasons their parent(s) will be contacted either by phone, in person, or in writing.


            If the student’s behavior continues to be a problem, the student will be removed from class and the parent (s) will be contacted again.  In order to return to the classroom, the student and parent(s) will meet with the catechist and the Religious education leader to resolve the issues.  At this time the parent(s) may be asked to sit in on the class for a few weeks to observe their child and his/her interaction with the catechist and other students.


            As a last recourse, when a conflict between a student and catechist cannot be resolved, the parent(s) will be asked to finish the year at home with the child.  The child will be treated as one who is being home schooled and the parish will follow the Diocesan guidelines concerning homeschooling.


            The child will be admitted into the program in the next calendar year with no prejudice.





            Saint Callistus pastor is required by the Pennsylvania Revised Code and Diocesan Policy on Child Abuse to report suspected or actual child abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.  All other staff members of Saint Callistus, both paid and volunteer, are bound by Christian conscience to report suspected or actual child abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.  All parish staff and volunteers have participated in an in-service training on child abuse identification and reporting procedures.








            In order to ensure a safe and Christian environment, it is forbidden for anyone to possess a weapon or anyone to possess a weapon or any object/material/substance that could be used as a weapon or confused with a real weapon by any reasonable person (toy gun, etc.) in the buildings, or within the geographic boundaries of Saint Callistus, or in any location used by the parish to conduct any catechetical activity, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any activity related to the religious education program.


            Weapons or potential weapons will be confiscated by the religious education leader when this action does not place the religious education leader in danger.  If the student has used a weapon against another person or will not surrender the weapon or offending object/substance immediately and willingly, the local police will be called first, followed by notification of the parent(s).  This is a zero tolerance policy.


            Any student who violates this policy will be subject to immediate  parish disciplinary action over and above any civil/criminal action brought by injured parties.


            The student will be removed from the religious education class and an alternative method of religious education will be negotiated with the parent(s) for the remainder of the year.   Judgments about readmittance to the program for the following year will be made on a case by case basis and this decision is at the sole discretion of the pastor.


            If the incident involves an exchange of bodily fluids (for example, as in a wound which breaks the skin), the student(s) will be asked to submit to medical tests for transmittable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B as recommended by a doctor. These tests will be at the parent(s) expense.  In the name of being a community of Christians motivated by care and respect, this policy asks that the results of these tests, which are governed by guidelines of strict confidentiality, be openly shared with the respective parties on a need-to-know basis.







            Respect for the dignity and worth of each individual is a basic precept of Catholic doctrine and therefore of Saint Callistus parish.  Each person is entitled to work in an environment free from discriminatory practices such as any form of harassment based on race, sex, creed, color, age, or disability including sexual harassment.  Parish leadership wishes to be vigilant regarding harassment whether between or among catechists and/or parish leaders, among students or between catechists/parish leaders and students.  Such behavior will not be tolerated and if persistent harassment is proven, the offender will be dismissed when this is appropriate.  Harassment of all forms is illegal as well as immoral and individuals will be encouraged to seek legal protection when necessary.


            The term “harassment” refers to behavior that is not welcome, that is personally offensive and that fails to treat others with dignity and respect.  It includes treating someone unfavorably because of their race, sex, creed, color, age or disability.  Harassment may take the form of discrimination, unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct, including but not limited to:


Verbal conduct such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs or unwanted sexual advances, intimations or comments.


Visual contact such as derogatory and/or sexually oriented posters, photography, cartoons, drawings or gestures.


Physical contact such as assault, unwanted touching, blocking normal movements or interfering with work, study or play because of sex.


Retaliations for having reported or threatened to report such harassment.



            The term “sexual harassment” refers to harassment based on the gender of the offended individual when the people involved are of different “levels” within the parish. It involves threats and demands to submit to sexual requests as a condition of employment, grades or other benefits or to avoid some other loss and offers of benefits in return for sexual favors.  It also means creating a hostile environment for the student or employee such that it is an unfit environment for learning or work.  Examples include, but not limited to repeated unwelcome sexual advances, repeated sexually explicit jokes or comments, or the displaying of sexually inappropriate materials.


            Allegations and complaints of any type of harassment must be reported as soon as possible.  Parent(s) who become aware of incidents of sexual harassment should report them immediately to the pastor or to the Religious Education leader.







Classes may be canceled from time to time because of inclement weather.  The following direction for parent(s) is offered.




To find out if class is canceled, parent (s) should listen for reports on WLMI, the radio station.






There are safety procedures posted in each room for fire and tornado emergencies.  Catechists will instruct the students in these procedures the first week of class.  In case of fire or tornado, attendance will be taken after an emergency evacuation and no child will be dismissed without their parent or guardian.  Parent(s) must check with the religious education leader before leaving with their child to avoid unnecessary search and rescue operations.








Should a student become ill while in class, parent(s) will be contacted according to the information provided on the student medical form.  If the parent is unavailable attempts will be made to reach a backup person listed.  The religious education leader will make every effort to keep the child comfortable until he/she is picked up.  Medication will not be administered to the child.




Children are not to bring medications with  them to religious education classes without advance permission of the religious education leader.  It is the responsibility of parent(s) to notify the religious education leader immediately of any changes in allergies or dietary restrictions.




Catechists are asked to report any injury to the religious education leader immediately.  If an injury occurs, first aid will be administered in strict accordance with the Blood-borne Pathogens  regulations of the Diocese of Erie and the parent(s) will be contacted.  If the injury requires immediate medical attention, the religious education leader will call the appropriate emergency services, followed by a call to the parent(s).  A first aide kit is available in the religious education offic



Parents will be notified regarding any event or field trip for which the children will be taken off the parish grounds.  No child will be required to attend such an event. However, if the child does desire to attend a field trip or special event, the parent will be notified with a letter about the event.  No child can be taken on such trips without the required permission/medical forms.  At this time you will be told of the time of departure and arrival.