Religious Education

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For a Sunday School Registration Form for 2015-16, click HERE.  (Tip: when printing, choose “landscape” orientation.)

For the 2015-16 Sunday School Calendar, click HERE.

Letter From Fr. Joseph

Dear Parents:

It is obvious that in every way you excel in devotion to your children and take an active part in their activities.  One of those activities is directly related to the church as well as the home, that is, Religious Education.  No one would ever deprive his child of food, love or secular education.  How much more vital is Religious Education which prepares our children not only for life but for eternity.  The primary place for education is with you in the home, you supplement this by bringing your children to Religious Education classes at the church.

Some parents may object by saying that their children attend church-run primary or secondary schools and therefore get all the training they need.  Unfortunately, it has been our sad experience that while the young receive some faith information at such schools,  they receive no information or experience in their own Melkite Greek-Catholic tradition.  There is no other school in the metropolitan Washington area where your children can receive authentic Eastern Christian formation except here.  No one of you would neglect the physical well-being of your child.  Please do not neglect the commitment that will mean eternal life to your child.

The decision to participate or not in our .Religious Education program is not something that can be left up to the choice of children.  They do not decide where to go to school, when to come home and whether or not to be obedient.  Parents are there to make these important decisions for them until they are adults.  Let me add another comment, Religious Education is not just for children.  We have an entire program of education in the Faith aimed at every age group from Toddlers to Adult such as Bible Study , Liturgy, Church History and  preparation for the Holy Mysteries as well as basic instruction in the faith.

Asking God’s blessing on our children as they begin the new academic year, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ Our God,

Rt. Rev. Joseph Francavilla (Pastor)

Parental Involvement and Faith in the Domestic Church

The role of parents in the Christian education of their children is of vital importance.  The starting point for faith at home is the daily activities of the family.  How family members interact, communicate, make decisions, solve problems – all these are the domestic church in action.

Faith which is celebrated and lived out within the family has certain characteristics:

  1. Spontaneity – Moments of learning and growing come when they will.  Expressing faith at home is best done by making the most of the present.  For example, a visit from a friend or relative is an opportunity to practice Christian hospitality.
  2. Sharing – The dinner table, the family room, the family car, vacations – these settings bring parents and children together intimately and often evoke earthy and honest sharing.  Faith happens in the midst of it all.
  3. Awareness – For faith to thrive in the domestic church, each person must be aware of the needs of the others.  Our program aims at increasing faith in the family by developing the awareness and sensitivity of family members.
  4. Knowledge – It is important for parents to know what the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church is all about – teachings, traditions, worship and morality – in order to share faith in the family.
  5. Patience – Developing faith at home requires a great deal of patience.  Both parents and children need patience with themselves and with one another.  All must learn from mistakes and make strides together.
  6. Celebration – In a family marked by the spirit of celebration, family meals, holidays, days of joy and days of sadness are celebrated as rituals that reinforce faith and love.
  7. Prayer – Faith in the domestic church is characterized by an atmosphere of prayer and a spirit of growing together.

It is our hope that the religious education program here at Holy Transfiguration will provide a link between children and parents to help the family grow in faith.

The Melkite Home

The Importance of the Parents’ Attitude toward Church and Sunday school
The parents’ attitude toward Church and Sunday school is crucial.  There are parents who are habitually late for Church.  There are parents for whom the tiniest little bit of rain will discourage them from Church attendance.  Yet most of these same parents would never stay away from work on Monday morning because of rain.  So the child early learns that work is more important than God.  Is it a wonder, then, that children grow up to adopt a system of values that leaves God out entirely or relegates Him to a hobby or to left-over time.  The child is being taught that almost anything is more important than God and our duties and responsibilities to Him.  Is it a wonder, then, that children can grow up to adopt a system of values that leaves God out entirely?

There are parents who do not take very seriously their obligation for the Christian education of their children.  Children miss classes because of the slightest reason or inconvenience.  The continuity of lessons is destroyed because of birthday parties the child “must” attend or relatives the child “must” visit.  Classes are disrupted continually by late-comers and early-leavers.  After spending time in diligent class preparation the teacher becomes frustrated when parents take less seriously the importance of Sunday school itself.  But even more important is what happens to the child.  The child knows that for important things one has to be on time, i.e., public school for example.  The habit of dismissing Church or Sunday School for insignificant reasons, or the habit of arriving late and leaving early teaches the child that god is not as important as public school or the piano lesson for which one has to be on time.

The parent is the best of teachers.  He and she teach best when they practice what they preach, when they regularly attend Church on Sundays and Holy Days, when they themselves get involved in continuing education.  A child who constantly hears the positive will see the positive.  A child who constantly hears the negative will see the negative.  Parents must take responsibility for the perception their children receive about their church, its ministers and God.  Parents must take responsibility for the attitude of their children towards God and His church.  “Bring up a child in the way he should go…”

Reprinted from: The Christian Home – The Domestic Church

Religious Education

Every Christian has the obligation to grow in the spiritual life and in the knowledge and love of the Lord and His Church.  This responsibility falls upon parents, godparents and the whole of the parish community – young and old alike.  The study of Divine Revelation through the Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition of our Church is an absolute must for the spiritual growth of every member of our parish.

While parents and godparents have a special responsibility in fostering spiritual education within the family, the home being the “Domestic Church” and parents being the first and foremost teachers of the faith, at the same time the parish will always try to provide the best in religious formation and instruction for all age categories.  It is hoped that all parishioners will take advantage of these programs.  Our Parish School of Religion and the adult Religious Education Programs should have a strong priority in the life of our parish and in our individual lives.  Not to take this obligation seriously is to weaken the entire Body of Christ.

Since our Eastern Catholic heritage and our mode of expressing and living out our Christian faith is unique and different, we have the most serious obligation to foster it, preserve it, fully understand it and pass it on intact to our young, to future generations.  Our fidelity to this mission is imperative in a society where we are a minuscule minority and our faithfulness to it contributes to the universality of the Church.

Parents and godparents are again reminded of the necessity of seeing that their children are properly enrolled in the religious education programs of Holy Transfiguration.

  1. All children of our parish, those attending public, private or parochial schools are required to take part in the religious education programs of this parish community.
  2. The pastor will not grant permission for the enrollment of parish children in Roman Catholic Schools unless the parents agree to the enrollment of their children in our own parish School of Religion and will responsibly see to their regular attendance.
  3. Parents who do not enroll their children in religious education classes or do not insure that the child maintains regular attendance cannot be considered “a practicing and active parishioner fulfilling his religious obligations.”
  4. A most important part of nurturing children in the faith is a regular participation in the Divine Worship of this parish community.  Parents who fail to see the regular attendance of their children at the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days, fail in one of the most rudimentary aspects of Christian parenting.

Adult Education at Holy Transfiguration

Participation in the liturgy and the services of the Church has always been the most important way to grow in Faith and in Spirit. Everything the Church teaches flows from the Eucharist and the prayers and petitions that surround it. This is where the mind of Christ, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and the teachings of the Holy Apostles and Fathers are brought out in their fullness.

Formal study and discussion expands understanding and appreciation. We offer on-going opportunities for adult education:

    1. A self-study program based on short readings is always available for those wanting to know more about the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church and our life in Christ. Discussion groups designed to complement the self-study are available once or twice each year.
    2. A Sunday morning study group meets before Liturgy (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.) during the school year. This year’s subject, starting on September 18th, will be the continuity of the people of God under the Old and New Covenants. The approach will be topical: Each Sunday we will follow a topic (e. g., prayer or beauty or marriage) from the beginning to the end of the Bible, emphasizing the unity of the divine teaching through different writers in different eras.
    3. Four-to-six week themed study groups are offered during one or more of the Church’s fasting seasons, especially during Lent.
    4. Individual sessions are available as needed for anyone planning to be married in the Church and for those seeking baptism and/or formal affiliation with the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church.
    5. Our church bookstore is open every Sunday during the school year and after many other services.
    6. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the monthly offerings available across Northern Virginia through the Institute of Catholic Culture, headed by our Fr. Hezekias Carnazzo. More information and archived presentations are available at the Institute of Catholic Culture.