With a grant from the Beyond Sunday campaign in pocket, two north St.
Louis County parishes are taking their dream of offering faith
formation to young families and making it a reality.
in the Home is a new initiative that will accompany parents of young
children and encourage them in their role as first teachers of the
faith. The effort, modeled after the Parents as Teachers program found
in many public school districts, is a collaboration between St. Ann in
Normandy and Holy Trinity in St. Ann. It is being funded by an $80,000
grant from the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri — a result
of the successful Beyond Sunday campaign.
Sister Maureen Martin, ASCJ, said that volunteer home visitors will
bring catechesis, materials and other resources into homes to help
encourage parents in teaching their children the faith. “They will be
assessing with the parents, strengths in the home and the parents’ ideas
… and what might you do to strengthen that?” she said. “Whether it’s
praying with a family, celebrating, creating a certain environment in
the home, using Scripture. There are a variety of things we will be
looking at that are indicators of a strong faith.”
About a dozen home visitors are currently undergoing training, and families from the two parishes are
sought to participate in a pilot program, expected to debut in early
2018. Sister Maureen noted that they are specifically looking for
families who have children in the 2- to 3-year-old range.
relationship development is key between the home visitor and families,
she said. “It’s a spiritual conversation that you’re having with a
family and their child,” she explained. The program also is geared to
reach into a family’s home and make a deeper connection with the parish
Home visitors will spend at least a year with each
family. Parents also will be asked to attend a few group meetings to
connect with one another. On the flip side, home visitors will have a
support group to share best practices.
Home visitors’ training has
included visiting the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium at Sacred
Heart Villa. The catechesis program is a Montessori-based model and
includes hands-on learning opportunities. Teachers also have been
trained in Virtue Based Restorative Discipline and have met with a
licensed professional counselor who has worked with families and
Sister Maureen noted that one of the home visitors, herself a young mother,
was asked why she’s involved in the effort. “People ask her why they’re
doing this, and she said it’s because there are so many friends who
don’t go to church anymore,” Sister Maureen said. “She’s hoping to reach
out to young people who are not connected to the Church.”