The registration deadline in order to attend the first class session is August 31. This allows the BCRE Team adequate time to plan for the first sessions, including ordering any needed supplies, sorting middle and high school students into their small groups, and other administrative tasks.
The final registration deadline is October 26. This is after each session (high school / Confirmation, middle school, and elementary school) has meet for three times each.
Requests to register for the current school year after October 26 will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Beginning in mid-August, we will e-mail you with verified class session placements for your children. Registrations received after August 1 will receive notification roughly two weeks after we receive the registration paperwork.
This delay between the spring and August allows the BCRE Team time to recruit and schedule volunteers.
Discounts are available for some volunteer positions. Please see the Registration Form for more information.
We believe that it is important to allow parents to be the primary educators of their children in the way of the faith. Yes, Billerica Catholic Religious Education offers a Home Study option for students in grades 1-8. Please write in the word HOME in the “First Choice” column of the Registration Form.
Families who choose Home Study will receive materials that students complete at home with the assistance of their parents/guardians. Periodically, they will be expected to return an assessment to the Religious Education Office.
- Home Study materials will be distributed in September and then periodically throughout the year, as needed.
- Home Study students participating in the First Reconciliation and First Eucharist preparation are expected to attend all scheduled meetings, rehearsals and workshops, with their parents/guardians (except the parent meeting in October, which is for adults only).
- Home Study is not an option for the Confirmation Program, since Confirmation sacramental preparation is embedded into the catechetical curriculum of the high school formation program.
Unfortunately, no. High School students may not choose to participate in Home Study during either 9th or 10thgrades. CHOSEN is a comprehensive 2-year Confirmation-focused program that builds with each session. It also provides proximal (near) preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
If you have a rising second grader who missed Religious Education in Grade 1, we expect that Grade 1 Religious education be made up in order for your child to be better prepared for receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Some families choose to sign up their second grader for the grades 1-2 program, and postpone sacramental preparation until the second year of Religious Education, when the student is in grade 3. Other families choose to make up Grade 1 at home – please contact the Religious Education Office for more information.
We allow the attendance of a child younger than first grade in Grade 1-5 sessions with some limitations, and at the discretion of the class teacher. Parents must be able to participate in the group activities with their registered children. In general, this means that that crawling babies and wandering toddlers would be excluded. The attending parent must be completely responsible for their younger child with no support from BCRE staff.
You have several options.
First, if possible, you can arrange to attend with another adult. This would be preferable, and might be a great way to involve a grandparent or godparent.
A second option would be to sign up one child for one session, and the other child for another time.
Thirdly, you could take advantage of our Home Study option either of your children.
If none of these are possible, please speak with us about other options.
Since the Grade 1-5 class sizes are likely to be about 16 students at each site, it will be difficult to work with your child at the same time. Parent-Child interaction is a critical component of this program. Therefore, we would strongly encourage you to pick a separate time other then you child’s class to teach, or have an older sibling or another responsible adult attend with your child, so they may work with your child while you volunteer.
Yes, we really require you to attend with your child in Grades 1-5. We believe that it is important to have parents participate actively in the teaching of their children in the way of the faith.
The RelEd team proposes that the older children come with the parent and the younger child with schoolwork or some other quiet entertainment, if no other child care opportunities are available. A “quiet work table” will be made available. Depending on the number of Grade 6-7-8 children at a particular session, the RelEd staff may consider other alternatives.
(Note that there are approximately 110 families who have students in 1-5 and 6-8.)
We understand that it is important for all students to have the same teachers and Small Group Leaders from session to session.
Except in times of illness and other unavoidable time conflicts, teachers will teach and SGLs lead, during the same time periods each session, and therefore have the same children.
Children may switch class times three times in one school year. Please call the Religious Education office at 978.667.3733 Monday-Friday 10a-4pm to arrange this. More than 3 switches will require the approval of the RelEd staff.
Since the CHOSEN program requires an hour and 30 minute class block, and we wanted to allow for Sunday Hospitality, we were pushed into a later start time. There are High School classes available at St. Theresa around the 5pm Mass and at St. Andrew around the 10am Mass.
The BCRE Team, Pastoral Staff, and Bishop Hennessey (our regional Episcopal Vicar, or Assistant Bishop to Cardinal Sean) have found it much easier to have each parish in the collaborative hold their Confirmation Mass(es) in the spring.
Each parish still holds its own Confirmation Mass (St. Theresa has two Masses on the same day). Candidates for Confirmation may choose to receive the sacrament in any parish, though they are encouraged to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in their home parish.
St. Andrew is continuing their tradition of holding their Confirmation Mass at a regularly scheduled 4:00pm Mass on Saturday afternoon.
St. Mary is continuing their tradition of holding their Confirmation Mass on a Thursday evening.
St. Theresa is continuing their tradition of holding their two Confirmation Masses on Saturday, however, since moving from the fall (after 2015), St. Theresa’s Confirmation Masses have been held on a Saturday in June.
Parents will be allowed to choose the parish in which their children will receive First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. While we encourage you to choose your home parish, we realize that some families may choose to receive sacraments at another parish in the collaborative for reasons of family convenience, schedule conflicts, etc.
Home Study is not required for students who are enrolled in Catholic Schools. This is because the students are receiving their catechesis (faith formation) from the school during their school day.
Home study is not required for Catholic School students who are preparing for their First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, however, we expect those students and parents to enroll and participate in the First Reconciliation and First Eucharist preparation program. This is because Catholic Schools (typically) do not offer sacramental preparation, since sacramental preparation and celebrations are intended to happen in parishes.
In general, Elementary and Middle school Catholic Students (Grades 1-8) do not need to attend Religious Education classes.
However, Catholic School who need to prepare for their First Reconciliation and First Eucharist need to enroll and participate in the Reconciliation and Eucharist sacramental preparation program.
We greatly appreciate all Catholic School students to notify the BCRE office, however, so that the parishes may properly track the faith formation of all parish children. There would be no fees, except for those participating in the First Reconciliation and First Eucharist sacramental preparation program.
Yes, they do, since our Confirmation Preparation program, Chosen, is a comprehensive 2-year Confirmation-focused program that builds with each session. It also provides proximal (near) preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
While a number of topics and themes may be also covered in their Catholic High School Theology / Religion classes, Chosen is intended for parish use only, so it will be a unique experience.