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St. Francis de Sales

Children’s Faith Formation: The LOOP (Parish School of Religion)

The-Loop-smWe learn about our Catholic faith using our head (knowledge), heart (desire) and hands (service).



The church recognizes your role and responsibility as parents to be the primary educators of your children.  Being a parent in today’s world is an awesome challenge; as a church, we want to be more effective, interesting, and – well, modern – in helping you meet that challenge.   After all, people aren’t baptized to participate in programs!  We become Catholic by practicing being Catholic!  That’s what THE LOOP is all about. 


Grades K, 1st and 2nd

Our youngest students attend on Sunday mornings September through May from 9:30 a.m. until 11:15 a.m..  Students generally remain in their respective classrooms throughout The Loop; this seems to suit their socialization & behavioral skills best as we lay their religious formation foundation, especially as we prepare them to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and holy communion for the first time in second grade. They do, however, gather periodically as one large group to help them begin to understand what “being in community” means to our faith.  They also participate according to their maturity level in special LOOP activities throughout the year.

Grades 3rd, 4th and 5th

As children grow, their faith formation should grow right along with them.  Youngsters of this age realize that the church is more than a building; it’s the people.  Our LOOP sessions for these grades therefore emphasize community by bringing the kids together with their parents for shared learning.  So while sessions are led by trained catechists, parents work together with their children – along with other LOOP parents and children – throughout our meeting.  But it’s certainly not “school!”  Some sessions are heavy on fun to help our families experience living as Catholics as a joyful experience; some sessions involve members of the parish and other parish ministries to help our families experience living as Catholics as a communal experience.  We mix it up in ever-changing ways to help families experience living as Catholics as a dynamic experience!  And because we’re all together, we experience living as Catholics as a social experience!  Sessions generally meet on Sunday mornings September through May from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.; however, many sessions are rolled into activities already taking place elsewhere in our parish.

Grades 6th, 7th and 8th

We help meet the maturing needs of students at this age level through a collaborative effort with our youth ministry department.  Any student in these grades is welcome to participate, whether a student in a public school, homeschooled, or a student at St. Francis de Sales School – all are welcome!  These faith formation sessions are on Wednesday evenings from 6 – 7:30 p.m. from September through May.  Sessions include:

  • FOOD:  Everyone knows the way to a teen’s heart is through the stomach, so we begin by filling up their bellies:  pizza, baked potato bars, pasta, picnic food, etc.  A different delight every week.
  • FAITH: We all learn best when it doesn’t feel like learning…but we all understand the need for catechesis. So each week, there is an engaging lesson that enables teens to “enter through their door;” that is, to draw from their lived experience, current events, popular culture, etc. in a way that grabs their attention and connects with our Catholic faith.
  • FUN:  Enjoying the community of friends is pleasing to God.  “Rejoice..while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.” (Ecclesiastes 9) So we wrap up each session with an activity – some purely for fun, and some to reinforce the theme of the evening (You’ll be amazed at how we can connect laser tag, dodge ball, and relays to faith formation!).

To round things out (and close the loop – get it?), we have a special emphasis on service opportunities at these grade levels.


Further details about these sessions (called Elevate) can be found on our Youth Ministry page.

All grades participate in our “Fruits of the Holy Spirit” focus, where we catechize on four different observable behaviors of people who have allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit to be effective in them.  This year’s fruits are peace, patience, chastity, and generosity.  This focus is a collaborative effort between The Loop, St. Francis School, and our Youth Ministries – what a wonderful example of Catholic community in action!  Learn more about our Fruits of the Spirit focus here (make this link to school’s fruits page)


The LOOP can be valuable in helping you fulfill the commitment that you made at your child’s baptism “of training them in the practice of the faith.” The LOOP is not a replacement of mass for children of school age; rather, it is a supplement to the religious education received at home, especially in instances where children attend public school or are home schooled. 


Nothing is more important than the example that you as a parent give to your children and the faith that you share with them. We would love to have you share that faith in a larger sense by volunteering as a catechist, aide, or hall monitor in our program. No previous experience is necessary; we will provide you with all the materials and guidance you need to be successful.  Please call the Religious Education Office at 740-345-9874 x 222 for further information.


St. Francis de Sales Parish

40 Granville St, Newark, OH 43055

St. Francis de Sales
Newark, OH

Phone:   740-345-9874


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