Monday, September 20, 2021

Faith Formation Program 2021-22 Guidelines and Information

 Hello Parents,

We are just a week away from our first day of in-person classes for Grades K-4 on Sunday, September 26 & Wednesday, September 29.  Grades 5-8 will do an Independent lesson at home Week 1(Sept 26 & Sept 29) and begin in-person on Sunday, October 3 and Wednesday, October 6.

First day of Class
On the first day of class for both K-4 and 5-8, we will meet in the Church for a short opening session.  Parents will have the chance to meet their child's teacher. We will then have a short opening prayer service and give the teachers a few moments to talk to their class.  

Please be advised, that this first class will be shorter than our normal class time.

Grades K-4
Sunday, September 26 8:30-9:30am
Wednesday, September 29 4-5PM

Grades 5-8
Sunday, October 3 8:30-9:30am
Wednesday, October 6 4-5PM

Regular Class Times
Sunday 8:30am-9:45am
Wednesday 4:00pm-5:15pm

A calendar of classes is attached to this email. The calendar will cover September-December.  This will give us the ability to make any changes for the 2nd half of the year in case of changes to Archdiocesan, State or Local guidelines.

Health & Safety
We ask that if your child has COVID-19, been exposed to COVID-19, is sick or exhibiting any of the following symptoms that they please stay home. 
  • fever
  • cough
  • trouble breathing
  • symptoms of a cold such as a sore throat, congestion, or a runny nose
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
Before your child comes to class, we ask that you please complete the online health check which will be emailed home each week and available at the top of our website.

If your child is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19, please notify us so that we may notify the parents and teachers that were in contact with him here at class.  If your child has been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that they remain out until the following class.

Masks must be worn by all children and adults when they are in our buildings.

Social Distancing
We are setting up our classes so that we can have 3ft of distance between students while in the classroom. We will be using the cafeteria and a few of the classrooms in the Phoenix Center school building & Walsh Hall for classes.

Arrival & Dismissal
In consultation with the Phoenix Center, we are going to try to limit the amount of people coming and going into the building. We will offer instructions on how this will work once we know where classes will meet.
At dismissal, students will be brought out of the buildings by their teacher: parents can wait outside to receive their children.

Independent Study Weeks
Students will be on an alternating schedule for classes. One week they will be in-person and the following week they will have an Independent Study week, where they will complete a lesson at home with their parents leading the lesson.  You will find all of the lessons listed by day and grade on our website: 

For each Independent Study week, parents can assist their students with reading the lesson, completing any activities in the book and then completing the online chapter review (via Google forms). I will give more details and some helpful hints on how to do this in another email and on our website.

On the health check that you will complete each week, there will be a question asking if your child will be attending class that day. If they are unable to attend, students can complete the lesson for that class as if it were an independent study week. 

Students will be given a book on the first day of classes. This book should come with them to class every time they meet.  Students should also bring a pencil or pen.  
Usually, we have shared supply boxes for our younger students but this year, we are asking that they have their own. I will ask teachers to let you know of any supplies that will be needed (crayons/markers).  If a teacher is doing a special project, we will supply glue sticks and scissors for each child in the class to use.

Homeschool Program

You can pick-up books on Sunday, September 26 & Sunday, October 3 from 9am-12pm. Weather permitting, we will set-up outside of the Parish Center in the driveway. At this time, you will receive your child's workbook and a homeschool information sheet.

You will find the list of lessons for each grade online on our Faith Formation website beginning September 25.  Lessons for September-December will be posted.  Each week, we ask that you read the lesson with your child, complete activities in the book and complete an online chapter review (Google Forms). Lessons should take 30-45 minutes to complete. We ask that you follow along with the syllabus and complete the lessons by the date indicated so that you do not fall behind.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me so that I can do my best to assist you and your family as we begin a new year of learning and growing in faith.


Monday, August 30, 2021

Faith Formation Program 2021/22 - Update 1

We are still finalizing our program with the guidelines given to us from the Archdiocese. I know that many of you are looking for concrete answers, but I thank you for your patience with us as we do our best to put our program together for this year. I wanted to take a moment to answer some frequent questions that I have been getting about our program for the 2021-22 school year. 

What will the schedule look like for this year? 
Our schedule is ready, however, where classes will be able to be held is holding us up from releasing it. As you know, we share our school building with the Phoenix Center. Due to the special needs of their student body, classrooms are not always adaptable to our needs. In addition, we are working out details on how to clean and sanitize the building both after our classes on Sundays and in-between them on Wednesdays. With that being said, we may not have as many areas available to us as in the past. The most likely possibility for at least September-December is that we will have a hybrid option for Grades 1-8. This means students will be in-person one week and do an at-home lesson the following week. Example: September 26: Grades K-4 in-person, Gr 5-8 at-home lesson October 3: Grades 5-8 in-person, Gr K-4 at-home lesson 

Will students and teachers have to wear masks? 
Teachers and students will be required to wear masks in the school building regardless of vaccination status. 

Will there be a virtual option? 
At this moment, we do not have the volunteer staff to handle both in-person classes and a virtual learning platform. If things change, I will let you know. 

Can I home-school my child for the entire year? 
Yes. Home-school is an option for grades 1-8. Students will need to follow and stay up to date with the curriculum by completing the lessons at home with a parent and then completing a Google Form with the Chapter review. While this is an option for all grades, we do find that in the sacrament preparation years (Grades 1, 2, and 8) it would be best for students to attend in-person. 

We hope to have more details for you next week, until then we encourage you to register your family for classes for Grades K-8 using the link below: 

Also, If your children will not be in classes this year, please let us know so that we open that spot up for other students. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we again look to navigate a school year that may look different from what we had been accustomed to in the past. Our continued goal is to help support you and your family in growing deeper into a relationship with Jesus, to experience his amazing love and to walk with you in this journey of faith. 

May God Bless you and your family.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Thank you for a Great Year!

I can't believe that this is our final virtual class for this year! Back in July, I was full of anxiety and was not quite sure how we could make the program work. Among the many things that I have learned during this past year is that St. Mary's Parish is extremely blessed to have the people that we do as volunteer catechists. (I have actually always known this, but it became even more apparent this year!) Those who were hesitant at first, spent time learning and practicing. Those who were more comfortable with technology shared their knowledge. After a few bumps in the road at the beginning of the year, things got easier and here we are! We have completed 26 weeks of lessons and with one more to go, I just want to say THANK YOU! 

Thank you to all of our catechists for the time you spent preparing lessons, looking up activities, sharing your faith and teaching the children of our parish about God's great love for them!

Thank you to our parents for your patience with all of us, your children (and technology), we hope that as you spent time teaching and assisting your child in faith formation that you too were able to learn and grow in faith with them!

Thank you to our students for being present, for completing work on your own and for participating in class discussions and prayer! We pray that this year, while difficult in many other ways, still offered you the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus!

For anyone who may have fallen behind on lessons, they will remain active and available on our Google Classrooms until at least the end of June, so you can go back at any time and catch up on something that you may have missed.

While this is the end of our Faith Formation school year, we will continue to share ways for our families to continue to grow closer to Jesus throughout the spring and summer.  

The best way to grow in relationship with Jesus is by attending Mass as a family.  Being nourished by the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass unites us directly to Jesus, the True Vine! I know that many families have gotten out of the habit because of the pandemic, but we invite you to come, join us at the Table of the Lord!

I look forward to celebrating sacraments with many of you, please pray for our children receiving 1st Holy Communion and those that will be confirmed in June.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Schedule of classes for 2021

Happy New Year to all of our families! We hope that during this year, we can all grow closer to the Jesus, the Light of the World and share his light with all we encounter. We look forward to seeing you all again next Sunday, January 10 for our first class of 2021.

Schedule of classes for 2021

January 3, 2021 - No Class or Work Assigned

January 10, 2021- Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

January 17, 2021 - Independent Learning

January 24, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

January 31, 2021 - Independent Learning

February 7, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

February 14, 2021 - Independent Learning

February 21, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

February 28, 2021 - Independent Learning

March 7, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

March 14, 2021 - Independent Learning

March 21, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

March 28, 2021 - Independent Learning

April 4, 2021 - No Class or Work Assigned

April 11, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

April 18, 2021 - Independent Learning

April 25, 2021 - Virtual Learning via Google Meet at 9am or 11am

Friday, October 2, 2020

Start of a New Year!!

I want to welcome you to St. Mary's Faith Formation Program.  We look forward to walking with you and your family in your journey of faith.  Although this year will look a lot different than years past, we hope to help you and your child to get to know Jesus and learn all about our beautiful faith and what it reveals to us.


You can pick-up your child's books at the Parish Center, which is located on the corner or St. Mary's Place, Monday-Thursday 9-4pm, Friday 9-1pm.  When you pick up the books, we ask that you also sign a permission slip for our virtual learning program this year.  I have attached it to this email in case you would like to complete it at home and bring it with you.  


To log on to your child's Google Classroom, you will use a St. Mary's Faith Formation account that we have created for you.  It is not a Gmail account, so please sign into Google Classroom:


If you do not see your child's Google Classroom:

Be sure that you are on your St. Mary's account. When you open a new tab, it will default to another Google account that is signed in (your personal Gmail or school).  We suggest signing out of other Google accounts to prevent confusion.

Once you are in the St. Mary's Google Classroom, you will see your child/children's classes.  You will need to hit Accept to enter the classroom for the first time.

If you have any issues on Sunday Mornings, please contact Mrs. Joanne Porecco: 

Faith Formation 2020-21

We will be using Google Classroom for our program this year. Each Sunday, you should sign-in with your family's St. Mary's Faith Formation Account (you can use this on multiple devices) you should go to your child/children' Google Classrooms. 


Starting this week... October 4

You will find a new assignment posted in Google Classroom (it should actually post on the Saturday before class). In this assignment, you will find a reminder of our Virtual Class via Google Meet (on weeks when we have them), directions on what to do (read the chapter, do assigned activities, etc) and you will find the Chapter Review.

Entering a Google Meet

The link for the Google Classroom will be posted in the Google Classroom. When you click the link, please be sure that you are in the St. Mary's Account. When the Google Meet opens, it may default to another Google account that is signed in. If this happens, you will not be able to enter the Google Meet.


On Weeks with a Virtual Class

October 4 & 18, November 1 & 15, December 6 & 20

Students will attend a Google Meet Class (30-40 minutes)

Read the Chapter with their families

Complete any activities assigned by the Catechist

Complete the Chapter Review


On Weeks with no Virtual Class - Independent Learning

October 11 & 25, November 8, 22 & 29, December 13

Students will watch a video (10-15 minutes)

Read the Chapter with their families

Complete any activities assigned by the Catechist

Complete the Chapter Review


If you have any questions, please let me know.

I look forward to meeting all of you!



Anthony Armando

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Faith Formation Update #3

I can’t believe we have just turned the calendar to September… As you prepare for a new and definitely different school year, we have been developing our program for the upcoming year of Faith Formation.  

Thank you to everyone who has registered for classes already. If you have not yet had the opportunity to register or have been waiting for more information, I encourage you to register your family for classes as soon as possible so that we can be ready for everyone.   

The Archdiocese of Newark has issued guidelines for all Religious Education programs in light of the pandemic.  All programs in the Archdiocese are to be virtual (no in-person classes) at least until January 2021. They will reevaluate where things stand and provide further information at that time.

What Faith Formation will look like at St. Mary’s Parish for September-December of 2020

  • Classes for Grades 1-8 will begin on Sunday, September 27th. Unfortunately, this year we will be unable to have a Kindergarten class. We will have a calendar ready very soon.

  • Classes will only be on Sunday mornings. There will be 2 sessions: 9am and 11am.  

We will assign students to a session and class according to their class from last year. Many (not all) of our catechists have moved up with their classes to provide some familiarity and consistency for the students.  If your child is assigned to a time that does not work for your family, please let us know and we will make the change.

  • Students will have “live” classes every other week. These “live” classes will be conducted using Google Meet and will be only 30-40 minutes long.  Following the “live” class, students will read the assigned chapter and complete a chapter review.  This assignment can be completed at any time during the week.

  • On the weeks that there are no “live” sessions, students will watch a short introductory video, read the assigned chapter and complete a chapter review. This assignment can be completed at any time during the week.

  • We will use Google Classroom to help parents, students and catechists to stay organized with the work that is assigned. It will also provide a place for students, parents and catechists to be able to communicate with one another.

  • All families and catechists will be provided with an username so that they will be able to use Google Meet and Google Classroom.

  • Students will have hard copies of the student workbooks so that they can use them during virtual class sessions and in case we are able to return to in-person class sessions after January 2021.These will be distributed beginning next week.

  • We invite parents to be present with their children during all of our “live” sessions, but especially for our younger students in Grades 1-4. We will also be sending out a code of conduct to all of our families and catechists to provide a safe environment for all.

  • We will record all “live” sessions for safety purposes. These recorded sessions will not be viewed or shared with anyone, but will be kept digitally until the end of the school year. We will be sending a permission form for parents to sign regarding this as soon as we receive it from the Archdiocese.  Parents who do not wish to have their students recorded can simply have the camera turned off during the class.   

While this year will be different than most, our goal is to provide quality religious education to our students and families. Many of our teachers are just learning this technology so we realize there may be some bumps along the way. We ask for your understanding and patience as we navigate new methods of teaching. We will also be reevaluating things as we move forward and will keep you updated to any changes that need to be made. We hope that during this year of virtual learning, we can help you and your children engage in faith formation in a different way and allow for you as a family to have opportunities for sharing and living out the Gospel message.

We thank you for being with a part of our program and look forward to continuing the journey of faith with your family.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Saint Mary's Church, Nutley, NJ
Faith Formation Program
Registration for 2020-21
We are busy putting together our virtual Faith Formation program for the 2020-21 school year. We will be starting training with our Catechists and looking into the best way to help our families and students grow in faith during this upcoming year. We know things will not be the same with a virtual program, but we are striving to put together a program that helps our students and families to grow in their relationship with Jesus.  

You can use the button below to access the Online Registration form for Grades K-8. Registration for those making their Confirmation will be sent home in a few weeks. Therefore, do not add your 9th Grader using this form.
Registration is simple and can be done online in just a few minutes. Through John Patrick Publishing (JPP) and Parish Giving, you are able to register your children for classes and pay using your credit card or checking account through the secure site that we also use for our parish online giving. 

We ask that you please register your children for classes by September 1st. This will give us the opportunity to better plan our sessions. It will also allow you to relax and take one more thing off of your to-do list! Thank you for your support and we look forward to walking with you and your family in their journey of faith!
A few things you may notice...
There is no choice of days for our classes yet. We are still trying to figure out when our classes will meet virtually and how that will work for everyone. So you do not need to choose a day (Sunday or Tuesday) because there are no in-person classes. We will update you of our plan for "live" sessions as soon as it is finalized.
We lowered our fees. 
We did this because we want to meet the needs of all of our families.
We know that shut downs, furloughs, and layoffs are something that many of our families have had to deal with during the past 4 months. In an effort to make sure that all of our families can afford to have their children receive religious education, we reduced our fees for the 2020-21 school year.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties at this time, please do not hesitate to contact me for payment options.
We can still use help! We are looking for teachers to help us provide quality religious education to our students and families. 

We are also in need of teachers who can assist our catechists with technology.
We do hope that those families that are able to can continue to be generous in their support of the parish through our Online Parish Giving and envelopes. 

Saint Mary's Parish | 17 Monsignor Owns Place, Nutley, NJ 07110