Families of Faith Handbook

Saints James and Patrick Parish

Families of Faith Religious Education Program

Contact Information

Pastor: Fr. Chris Comerford

         [email protected]

The mission of the Saints James and Patrick Families of Faith Religious Education Program is to provide a quality Catholic message of Jesus Christ as savior. We, as the Catholic Church, teach and assist families to help children to become followers of Christ.

According to the Restored Order of the Sacraments, children receive the following sacraments during their corresponding grade level:

First Penance - Second Grade

Confirmation & First Eucharist - Third Grade

Saints James and Patrick Handbook

This handbook contains our policies, procedures, and expectations. While some policies may seem unnecessary, our society dictates that we have policies in writing so that all expectations are read and known by all.  It is our hope that many of the policies will not have to be enforced. 

Policies in this handbook may be amended at any time by the pastor.

Parents should discuss this handbook and its contents with their child(ren).

Role of Parents:

Parents are the first teachers of their children. The Church recognizes that the family has the primary responsibility of nurturing Christian values. Parents serve as role models for their children. Our Families of Faith program reinforces the religious ideals and practices that students learn in their homes.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we learn from #2226, “Education in Faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have a mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The Parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.”


Ss. James and Patrick Families of Faith Program admits students of any race, sex, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to the students in the program.


All students must register each year. Information about registration will be sent to all students previously registered and posted in the bulletin. Newly enrolling students must provide a copy of a baptismal certificate. If your child has not been baptized, please speak to the Pastor or Pastoral Associate.


There is no cost for attending adults. Cost for Children: $25 per family & Book Fee: $15 per child. The $25 fee is waived if you're volunteering to be a catechist, adult discussion facilitator, or activity helper. Thank you!


Attendance is expected by at least one adult family member and child(ren) at one of the two sessions offered each month (see schedule for details). Consistent attendance is necessary for building a firm foundation of faith. The content taught each session represents a step on a journey toward a deeper understanding of our beliefs and traditions.

 If your family is unable to attend a monthly session, please notify the office. Because liturgies and reconciliation services are such an important part of faith development, each student is expected to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligations. We also expect that students will attend the Penance services as offered throughout the year. We ask that each family participate fully in the parish community.


Jesus taught us to be loving, caring and forgiving. Everyone is expected to behave as Jesus taught us. This behavior is expected at all times and extended to all persons. Sexual harassment of/by persons will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary action.

All materials in classrooms or the church are to be used in a respectful manner. If anyone incurs any damage, the family will be held financially responsible.


The classroom catechist handles ordinary discipline. If a student’s behavior is continually disruptive, several steps may be taken:

1)    the student may be warned by the teacher/coordinator & returned to class

2)    the student may be removed from class and parents notified

3)    the student, parents, catechist, coordinators and Pastor may have a conference to discuss the behavior


Families of Faith meets one Wednesday evening (6-8pm) and one Sunday (11:15-1:15am) a month at the St. James Parish House. There is an extra Wednesday session for children once a month. The schedule is here. 

In the case of separation/divorce, please let the coordinators know if a non-custodial parent is not allowed to transport a child.

Mandated Reporting Abuse Hotline: 1-800-25-abuse 1-800-252-2873

Ss. James and Patrick Parish complies with the Illinois Child Abuse Reporting Law. All catechists and staff, as mandated reporters, are required to report situations of abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities.


Any student found smoking, in possession of, or participating in any way with drugs/alcohol or in possession of a weapon while at a session or session related activities will be subject to disciplinary action. State Law (SB 765 Juvenile Court Act) mandates that law enforcement MUST be notified when a firearm is brought onto parish property.


#4715 from the Handbook of Catholic Education Policies for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois states: “Students with A.I.D.S. who are enrolled or who are seeking enrollment shall be permitted to attend School or Families of Faith sessions.  Persons who are known to have A.I.D.S. should be individually evaluated by the pastor, appropriate administrator(s), physicians, and other professional personnel in order to determine if their behavior or physical condition poses a high risk of spread of disease. One of the purposes of the evaluation is to prepare a specific plan for education of the student.”

Protecting God’s Children

We want your child’s educational experience to be rewarding. In no way do we want the children to feel uncomfortable or afraid. It is with this in mind that the Diocese of Springfield has adopted the “Protecting God’s Children” program. The Diocesan “Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors” states “on a regular basis, educational programs on the methods of recognizing and preventing sexual abuse of minors will be offered to Church personnel.”

ALL volunteers of any capacity are required by the diocese to have attended a Protecting God’s Children class and passed a background check.  Please watch the bulletin for dates and times of available classes.

Catholic Prayers and Practices

The Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  This prayer is used with Holy Water as Catholics enter and leave the church. A cross is traced on the body using the right hand, beginning at the head, moving to the breast and then from the left shoulder to the right shoulder.

The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Glory Be to the Father: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Blessing Before Meals: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Blessing After Meals: We give you thanks for all thy benefits, Almighty God, who lives and reigns forever; may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Simple Acts of Contrition:

  • O my God, I love you above all things.  I am truly sorry for all my sins, and I thank you for forgiving me.  Help me to stay close to you and to remember always your wonderful laws of love.  Amen.
  • Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.

The Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
  4. Honor your father and mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

The Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist,

Anointing of the Sick, Penance, Holy Orders, and Matrimony

The Beatitudes:

  1. Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  3. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
  8. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  9. Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and speak falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for My sake.

The Memorare: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.   Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To you I come; before I stand, sinful and sorrowful.   O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Hail Holy Queen:   Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.  To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.   O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Mysteries of the Rosary:

The Joyful Mysteries:                                  The Sorrowful Mysteries:

The Annunciation                                           The Agony in the Garden

The Visitation                                                 The Scourging at the Pillar

The Nativity                                                    The Crowning with Thorns

The Presentation                                              The Carrying of the Cross

The Finding of the Child                                 The Crucifixion

     Jesus in the Temple

The Glorious Mysteries:                                The Luminous Mysteries:

The Resurrection                                              Baptism of the Lord

The Ascension                                                  Wedding at Cana

The Descent of the Holy                                   Proclamation of the Kingdom

    Spirit upon the Apostles

The Assumption                                                The Transfiguration

The Coronation                                                  Institution of the Eucharist

How to Pray the Rosary:

  1. Make the sign of the cross and say the “Apostle’s Creed”
  2. Say the “Lord’s Prayer” (Our Father)
  3. Say three “Hail Marys”
  4. Say the “Glory be to the Father”
  5. Announce the first mystery and say the “Lord’s Prayer”
  6. Say ten “Hail Marys” while meditating on the mystery
  7. Say the “Glory be to the Father”
  8. Announce the second mystery and repeat numbers 6 and7 until completing all the mysteries.

Fatima Prayer: (may add this prayer after each “Glory Be” in the rosary)

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

The Precepts (Laws) of the Church:

  1. To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.
  2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed. (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday—no meat on all the Fridays in Lent)
  3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
  4. To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
  5. To contribute to the support of the Church.
  6. To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

The Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love, Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit:                 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1. Charity                                                     1.Wisdom

2. Joy                                                           2. Understanding

3.Peace                                                        3. Counsel

4.Patience                                                    4. Fortitude

5.Kindness                                                   5. Knowledge

6.Goodness                                                  6. Piety

7.Generosity                                                 7.Fear of the Lord

8.Gentleness                                                           (Awe and Wonder)





The Theological Virtues:                          The Seven Capital Sins:

1.Faith                                                         1.Pride

2.Hope                                                         2.Covetousness

3.Charity                                                      3.Lust



The Cardinal Virtues:                                  6. Envy

1. Prudence                                                 7.Sloth

2. Justice

3. Fortitude

4. Temperance

From the Epistle of St. James: 1:22-23 
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass.
Breastplate of St. Patrick: Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.