JEI 4: All About Religious Education

One really cool thing, as a Catholic spouse of an active duty Army soldier, my parish is the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).  My parish is a worldwide parish, filled with hundreds of Catholic communities at installations all over the world; as our bishop, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio is fond of saying in conversations with parishioners, this parish is one in which, “The sun never sets.”  As the sun sets on the United States, it is rising over our fellow parishioners on the other side of the world!  Furthermore, any Catholic serving in the Armed Forces, is automatically a member of this diocese, simply by stating they are Catholic on their initial paperwork, no matter where they are stationed – or deployed!  And, this enrollment extends to their family members, too.  Kinda Totally awesome, right?!

When my husband retires, we will begin regularly attending Mass off the military installation, simply because at that point in time, AMS will no longer be considered our diocese; until then, though, you will most likely find our family in the pews of a local military chapel for Mass.

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Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program?

Like everything else in the military, the installation chapels run on numbers – in order to justify spending any money on any programs, there need to be numbers that reflect the need.  Keeping this in the forefront of my mind, we chose to enroll our four year-old into the religious education program offered through our Catholic community, at my husband’s current duty location.

A secondary perk to enrolling my children through this program?  All of the religious education programs in AMS run the same curriculum standards and objectives, and utilize the same study as a foundational course.  Teachers have some autonomy, but as a parent, I am comforted in knowing the course my son is learning here would be the same as another location if we were handed surprise orders to another duty location, in the middle of the year.

Do you or have you ever taught religious education?  Tell us about it.

When we decided to enroll our son in religious education, I sent an e-mail to the coordinator which said, “Since I figured my son would be attending his own class, if you need a teacher, I have never taught RE, but I’m willing.  Put me where you will, but just not my son’s grade.  Also, just know I don’t think I have the skills to teach small children.”  I was given a class – Confirmation!

Thankfully, we have a fantastic program, and phenomenal support through AMS in order to ensure this year is a success!  And, I love teaching Confirmation!  I absolutely adore watching lightbulbs go off, as a teaching sinks in.

And, the instruction we were given in grad school, “For every hour of group sessions you run, be prepared to spend double the amount of time preparing for that session,” definitely rings true.  We meet for an hour and fifteen minutes each week; I easily spend three hours a week preparing for our lesson.

What are your favorite religious education resources for kids?

I don’t like this question, simply because I am brand new to this world of teaching Religious Education to children.  For home purposes, I have enjoyed Catholic Icing, but I enjoy that in a fantasy kind of way – I imagine myself creating all the little lessons, crafts, food, etc.  For Confirmation, I am thoroughly enjoying the Chosen: Your Journey Toward Confirmation curriculum, which we pair with the worldwide curriculum provided by AMS.

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There you have it – this week’s JEI questions asked, and answered.  What about you, my dear readers?  I would love to hear your responses to these questions, either in the comments below, or on your own blog post, linked to our weekly Zelie Group “Just Enough Information” blog hop.  I am especially looking for more creative ideas for the last question posed today.  So, don’t be shy – help a blogger out!

  • Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program?
  • Do you or have you ever taught religious education?  Tell us about it.
  • What are your favorite religious education resources for kids?

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2 Comments

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  1. I love your take on the military diocese! I hadn’t thought about the implications of needing to standardize the curriculum to facilitate the frequent moves of a military family. I’m glad the support is there!
    Oh I love Catholic Icing too! I forgot to write it on my post, but Catholic Culture is my favorite resource of planning feast days. They have a calendar view so you can see what feasts are coming up and each day has a history of that saint, patronage, recipes, crafts, and other ways to celebrate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I, too, am glad we have some continuous support from installation to installation. It help the transition from each move, as our kiddos get older!

      Catholic Culture, huh? I’ll have to check that one out!! I dream over being a big, hands-on liturgical recipes and crafts kind of mom, but we are already five days behind on our Jesse Tree – so, maybe next year (2017), we’ll be a little better at “liturgical living” and celebrations? 😂

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