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another RC question, about preparation for sacraments and homeschooling.

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Here is my story. I was raised Episcopalian, but when I moved to an area without many Episcopal churches I found myself drawn to the Roman Catholic church. I'd grown up with a lot of RC friends, taken classes on Church History in college, and was very comfortable there. I went through the RCIA process and was confirmed. I moved later, after getting divorced.I ended up back at the Episcopal Church. for many reasons: Because I wasn't up to going through the annulment process and couldn't afford it anyway, and because I had moved down the street from my childhood Episcopal church that still felt like home to me, because my son hated being denied communion at the R.Catholic church when he could receive at the Episcopal church (he has Aspergers probably and was a handful at that time, right after the divorce. He actually punched a stranger at the Catholic Church because he was so upset about not being able to receive communion). I also had a hard time getting him to RE classes because they conflicted with his visitation time with his father. Anyway, I ended up meeting my current husband, and he is Episcopalian. He wouldn't stop me from going to a Catholic church but wouldn't participate, and I wanted us to have our faith be a unifying force, not a dividing force. So I got permission from the Episcopal bishop to remarry and we were married by an Episcopalian priest.


Anyway, my son is now 11 and I wonder sometimes if we will end up back at the RC church someday. And then I think about how NOT well he would do in RE classes, and I wonder if I would do well to catch him up a bit at home, so that if someday we went back arrangements could be made for a quicker entry, so he wouldn't have two years of classes before being able to receive communion. Does that make sense? And if so, what materials would you advise?

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This is going to vary slightly within Churches, but at my home Church, at 11 he'd only have to do one year of classes. (Not that it makes it any easier to handle with difficult schedules, but there is that.)


Some Churches have a home course. The RC Church I am local to now has three different options for communion/confirmation preparation, and one of those is through home study, but there are requirements to attend certain events during the year. So you'd still have to wait a year from returning to the RC Church, and be available for certain times, but he could at least do most of the work at home. (I think there are 6 different "events" attendance is mandatory for).


If you really, truly feel like returning to the RC Church is right.... I'd speak to a Priest, and to the Religious Education coordinator at your local church. Most are very accomodating, and if they don't have a home study program in place may be willing to work with your family situation. I was involved with the RE Program at my home Church and there were some amazing people there.

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I think you'd need to call the parish in question and ask. If they won't agree to a way that works for you, consider calling some other parishes.


FWIW, we are in a very, very large parish, and sacrament preparation is done separately from regular religious education. Sacrament preparation is parent-taught, with just a few parent-child workshops prior to First Communion. Religious education is a weekly program (and some form of regular religious education is required alongside the sacramental preparation), and there is a special needs class available. Also, FWIW, our parish allows children whose families belong to other parishes to get religious education and sacrament preparation through its programs.


My understanding is that quite a few sacrament preparation programs these days are parent-taught.


Also, a First Reconciliation must be done prior to First Communion.

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Each diocese and parish almost makes their own rules about this. Technically, they can't require you to do the classes but they can make it really difficult for you if you don't and they want you to. If you get a homeschool-friendly priest, you can do it all yourself. And other parishes treat you just like the public schools, regardless of what you are doing at home. So it really depends on where you are for this.


At our parish, we are allowed to do religious education at home instead of CCD classes for first communion, but we do have a monthly Sacramental Preparation class that everybody (even parochial school kids) has to attend in the year they receive FHC. Confirmation is a little different. At this time, we are required to do a weekly class AND the Confirmation Sac Prep class, although the homeschoolers in the parish are discussing trying to get the weekly class requirement lifted.

Different parishes treat this differently. It depends mostly on who has gone before you to fight that battle, if necessary, and how involved you are in the parish.


I would guess that since you have not been active in a parish, they would ask you to put your child into either the regular CCD classes or RCIC (RCIA for kids). But you should discuss with the priest first your special circumstances and the special needs of your son. Some larger parishes even have special needs coordinators, and that would probably be the best case scenario for getting accommodations made. If you wait long enough for him to be old enough for regular RCIA, he would do all of it in one fell swoop instead of taking a year of classes for FHC and another year (at least) for confirmation. Not that I recommend staying away, but that would be a possibility for you.


As far as materials go, I use Faith & Life by Ignatius Press. I like it. It is on the list of approved materials by the USCCB, and that sometimes makes it easier for parishes to accept it as alternate material to their CCD materials (which often are not that good). If you are looking for something that is really good by not as CCDish, you might want to check out the Jeff Cavins series for teens or the younger set for kids. I have heard it is REALLY good and not as textbooky as what else is out there.


So anyhow, yes, everything you have said completely makes sense :001_smile:, but you will have to find a parish and priest willing to agree to it. But it would be possible.


Best wishes with what you decide. I hope your path is smooth!

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Ditto on everybody saying to speak to the priest AND religious coordinator. I would be surprised if they didn't work out something with you. DO THAT FIRST.


At home: I don't know the intellectual capacity of your son. Some one mentioned Faith and Life. I HATE that program BUT if you need a gentle start with general catechism, go with it.


My parish uses a company called Pflaum. I don't like it but I put up with because it's required for sacramental preparation. I don't rely on the parish to catechize my kids properly. I attempt that at home as is my duty. The Sunday School thing is really just for kicks.


The one I am using is heavy duty. PM if you want more info.

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