2023/2024 GIFT Dates
October 1, 2023 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
November 12, 2023 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
December 17,2023 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
January 21, 2024 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
February 11, 2024 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
March 10, 2024 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
April 28,2024 - 10:30am - 2pm or 5pm - 8:30pm
Generations In Faith Together (GIFT):
All Are Welcome! Everyone is invited! Yes, everyone. This innovative and interactive model is based in the lived experience of the parish community, the family and household. Its goal is to use the cycle of our Church year to provide opportunities to reflect, pray and learn the theology behind the events we celebrate each year. This learning occurs not by isolated segments of our community, but together; all people of the parish-- adults, young adults, youth, children, single, married, widowed, divorced, families-- coming together.
Why this model?
The US Catholic Bishops have called for a renewal of Christian Formation in a way that recognizes that if we are to pass on the faith in a meaningful way we must renew our focus on adults. “Adult faith formation, by which people consciously grow in the life of Christ through experience, reflection, prayer, and study, must be the central task in catechetical enterprise,” becoming the “axis around which revolves the catechesis of childhood and adolescence as well as that of old age.” (Our Hearts Were Burning within Us, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 2000) In other words, the faith of children can only be developed in the midst of an active adult community, who model and openly live their faith. Therefore our task is to create a community in which our faith is freely discussed, lived and brought into our daily life.
Goals of Intergenerational Faith Formation
* Strengthen our bonds as a community of faith.
*Provide opportunities for our entire community to deepen their relationship with Jesus.
* Better understand the meaning behind the events we celebrate during the liturgical year.
* Support families and empower parents to become the primary catechists for their children.
* Recognize the ability of young and old to learn from each other.
All members of the community are invited to meet monthly for approximately 3 1/2 hours to learn about a topic of our faith. These sessions are offered at a variety of times so that individuals have an opportunity to choose a time that bests fits their schedule. A typical session would involve the following:
Hospitality, Community Building and Opening Prayer
Spend time with your family and parish community. Most times this time will include a meal.
Opening Experience for all ages
Through scripture, movies, trivia, art, drama, discussion this shared experience will set the focus for the session.
Attend Mass as a group
Share in the Eucharist together
In-depth Learning Experience
This part of the session will provide an opportunity to learn about the topic in a deeper way. This learning may occur in the whole group, age specific groups or an activity center/workshop format.
Sharing the experience
The community comes back together to share with one another what has been learned. This is also the time to discuss how what has been learned can be applied at home.
The session ends with a prayer service based upon the theme of the day.
So this is a family program?
Yes--no matter the construct of your family! All are welcome! You may be a single parent, a family with a toddler, an empty nester, a single young adult, a newly married couple, a widow or widower, a family with teens or elementary age children. It is a program that recognizes that we are a family of faith. In GIFT we recognize the importance of the wisdom of the elders in our community as well as the innocence of the youngsters and how we need one another. We would like everyone to feel welcome.
Can I just send my children?
No. Statistics are showing that sending children without an adult is not an effective way to pass on faith to children. It is not realistic to expect our children to learn and live faith if it is not a part of family life in a regular way. We are asking you to make a commitment to our community and to your faith with the promise that it will make a significant difference in the life of your family. Therefore to participate in GIFT it is necessary for children to attend with an adult.
What about Sacramental Preparation?
Those who would like to prepare for any of the Sacraments are expected to participate in GIFT, plus there will be some special sessions unique for the Sacrament for which you will prepare.
Intergenerational Formation addresses today’s issues!
As a Church we are concerned about family life. We are concerned about the decrease in Mass attendance. We are concerned about the busyness of people’s lives. By asking families to come only once a month, to come together and spend time together, we believe this model will take some of the stress off of our families while encouraging them to integrate faith into their home life. We believe that those who participate in GIFT will be more integrated into the life of the community and have a better understanding of Church events. Faith will become then a part of our culture. You are invited to embrace this moment. And remember: All are Welcome!