top of page
Screen Shot 2023-06-02 at 11.51.07 AM.jpeg

Registration has begun for our new Youth Faith Formation Program (YFF) for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.  If you attended the April or May Generations of Faith sessions, you received your registration packet. If you are new to the parish, are beginning the faith formation journey, or have misplaced your packet, please contact Marcy at the parish office (330-533-6839) for a packet.  If possible, please return your registration packet to Marcy at the parish office by June 12th.  We would like to take advantage of the free shipping for our new textbooks, a savings of 11% if we order by June 15th. 


Please note that registration for YFF will continue through September 1st.

Sacrament reminders:  The diocese of Youngstown requires two years of formation before the reception of sacraments.  First and Second grades are required for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist.  Seventh and Eighth grades are required for confirmation.  Please keep in mind that if your child misses any years between Second grade and Seventh grade, it is possible they will not be invited into Confirmation preparations in Eighth grade.


Kindergarten is a great head start for faith formation.  We highly recommend Kindergarten as a first step in the formation process for our youngest learners.


When it was announced that I would become the sixth pastor of Saint Michael two years ago, one of the issues that quickly surfaced was that of the religious education program for our young people.  Not only had the then Director of Catechesis accept a position at one of our Catholic High Schools, but a wide variety of people offered their suggestions about what needed to happen.  These ranged from “go back to the way it used to be” to “keep it exactly as it is”, to “this isn’t working” (with no offer of what would work), and every possible suggestion in between.  And this was all before I even stepped foot on the property.  One of the greatest blessings was having Marcy Fessler join our team as the Director of Catechesis.  The initial attraction to Marcy was her experience with a Generations of Faith program, but also her previous parish ministry in larger parishes.  Both would serve our parish well.  However, more than these past experiences on her resume, was the incredible enthusiasm and dedication to advancing the opportunities of faith formation for our young people and their families – along with a wonderful work ethic to make things happen.  As much as both Marcy and I were committed to extending the Generations of Faith program for that first year, we knew that we needed to be open to what would ultimately best serve our children and indeed, our entire faith community.  We sought to incorporate a family service dimension into the program, which continues to be successful – at least in the physical goal of the projects.  At the conclusion of the 2021-2022 catechetical year, we decided to continue for another year, but spending even more time in prayer and reflection, as well as researching what might work better. 


In the promulgation letter from Bishop Bonnar for the revised Diocesan Curriculum for Catechesis, he speaks not only of the mandated implementation of the curriculum, but that “a consistent presentation of the faith will lead all of us to embrace our call to Missionary Discipleship and the New Evangelization”.  Some of the major setbacks of the GoF model are the lack of consistent presentations, a continuity of material, and the ability to form relationships between the catechists, children, and families. 


After careful consideration, and hours of prayer and thought, we have announced to our catechists and parents that the Generations of Faith approach to faith formation will end with the conclusion of this current catechetical year in May. Beginning in September, we will be implementing our Youth Faith Formation program (YFF).  This program, while inviting a traditional “timing” model, will invite a variety of support materials to progress our children forward in their learning and comprehension of the faith.  The program will meet weekly (with periodic holiday breaks) from September through April.  The sessions will be from 10:05 – 11:20am.  To accommodate this schedule, beginning September 9th & 10th, our weekend Mass Schedule will be 4:00pm Vigil, 9:00am and 11:30am on Sunday.  The program, while following the curriculum of the diocese, will be text-supported by a series that incorporates various devotions, seasonal opportunities, along with a wonderful “family life connection” component that allows the family to keep involved with what the children are learning.  We will also be offering a monthly parent session to discuss various topics that arise.  We will continue to have additional sacramental preparation sessions for those young people preparing for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. 


Before any of this programming makes sense, families must be committed to the obligation of all baptized Catholics to actively participate in the celebration of the Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.  The “Mass Attendance” cards will continue to be required for any child seeking participation in the Youth Faith Formation program and the reception of a sacrament.

In the letter from Bishop Bonnar referenced above, he also states that “pastors (and many others) are essential in oversight of the curriculum…(and) careful adherence in the implementation of the objectives will empower and enrich our young disciples on their journey of faith”.  As pastor, I very much take this charge to heart.  I thank everyone who has played such an important part in the faith formation of our young people in the past, and we look forward to increasing that gift of faith as we journey together as disciples of the Lord. 

God bless you all. 

Father Lavelle

bottom of page