Diocese of Rockville Centre

1st Ever Religious Education Week Set for Nov. 11-18, 2007

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, August 13 2007—The Office of Faith Formation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre will sponsor its first Religious Education Week November 11 to November 18, 2007. As part of the diocesan jubilee celebration, there will be a Mass marking the event at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, on November 18. The theme of the week is “A little child shall lead them,” Isaiah 11:6b.

Developed along the lines of Catholic Schools Week, the main goal of Religious Education Week is to “bring a heightened level of awareness of all the time, energy and talent that goes into religious education in our parishes,” said Sister Mary Alice Piil, CSJ, director of the Office of Faith Formation. “We want to excite the people in the parishes.”

With about 120,000 children and about 16,000 catechists in religious education programs, there is a strong need for more catechists and the development of pre-school and high school religious education programs, Sister Piil said.

“We have to change people’s perceptions of what religious education is,” she said. “It’s not about getting the Sacraments. It’s about formation of the Catholic identity of the person.”

Throughout the week, individual parishes will participate in their own ways, and religious education students will recite a special prayer in class. The Office of Faith Formation, in partnership with parish committees, is providing parishes with recommended ways of recognizing religious education during this week. Suggested activities include taking a field trip to the St. Agnes Mass, offering a religious education fair, making prayer chains, and holding food and clothing drives.

“We’re trying to give the children the message that they’re children of God,” said Pam Shannon, director of religious education at St. Ignatius parish, Long Beach, and religious educator in the Diocese of Rockville Centre for 40 years. “They need to see that other adults other than their parents believe in God.”

Activities at St. Ignatius parish may include dressing the children up as their favorite saints, displaying projects in the school auditorium and patching quilts based on a theme from appropriate grade level texts, Shannon said.

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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
Celebrating its Golden Jubilee, the Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 2.8 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 18,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 19,000 first communions and 4,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 22,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. There are also 120,189 total students in religious education. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 59,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (4/20/07)

For more information Contact:
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625
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