The Lord is near. 

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, 

    with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 

    will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:5b-7

 

Updates from Billerica Catholic Religious Education (BCRE)

 

In light of the pandemic and resulting economic situation of our collaborative, we have had to make a number of adjustments to our religious education programs. The resources we will use in the future have changed significantly, providing new opportunities for us to better serve you next fall and in the future.

 

There is a lot of information in this post, but it is needed because of the complexity of our situation. Please carefully read it all the way through, and ask any questions you may have.

 

While there are many details that remain to be decided about the coming year of religious education, we want to communicate with you some of where our current plans are trending:

 

  1. We are planning to offer a combination of online and on-site opportunities for those registered for the religious education on-site classes, and the same online opportunities with additional resources for those choosing the Home Study option. If we are not able to hold on-site programs at any point during the 2020-2021 school year, we will switch those intended on-site sessions to the online platform Zoom.

 

Our online registration is open and ready to receive your family’s information, so you may sign up for whatever we are able to offer in the next school year. (Please keep in mind that the online registration system was developed based on what we hope to offer.) There will be religious education / faith formation in the fall – what we are able to offer will depend on how the pandemic unfolds and the guidance we receive from the Archdiocese of Boston and local, state, and national authorities.

 

  1. The BCRE Office is aiming toward a mid-August re-opening (pandemic restrictions allowing), then during the program year on Mondays and Tuesdays from 3-5pm. BCRE Programs are aiming toward an early October start, to better allow your family and our team to adjust to whatever decisions are made about schools and children’s activities that normally resume in September.

 

Given the financial pressures on churches and other non-profits during the pandemic and economic downturn, we have needed to furlough staff due to a shortage of financial resources. Most of our staff will not be answering email until September 1. If you have any questions, please reach out to Director of Youth Faith Formation Tony Carbrello at tony.carbrello@billericacatholic.org.

 

  1. Additionally, we have needed to make some permanent changes within the BCRE team. Fr. Paul also recently communicated that there were staffing changes within the collaborative. Our Religious Education Staff are now:

 

Tony Carbrello, recently named Director of Youth Faith Formation, will now assume the responsibilities of all High School (Grades 9-12) ministry, including Confirmation for adolescents. He will have further information for each Confirmation group separately. Tony will receive assistance from Dustin Batista, who will also have additional pastoral responsibilities outside of BCRE.

 

Deb Fergus is the Coordinator of Religious Education for Pathfinders (Grades 5-6), Navigators (Grades 7-8) and Summer Adventure Week.

 

Melissa Gozzo is the Coordinator of Religious Education for Seekers (Grades 1-2), Explorers (Grades 3-4), and our First Reconciliation and First Eucharist preparation program, as well as the Coordinator for the planned family gatherings and special events.

 

Carol Wemmit remains our Office Manager with limited hours.

 

  1. With these staffing changes, we have had to say goodbye to Jim Spinale, who for over thirty years has served as Coordinator and catechist / teacher within the Town of Billerica. His commitment to over a generation of Catholics in Billerica will be remembered by all the lives he has impacted. His love and care for teens in our community will continue through his many other roles and commitments within the town.

 

  1. Home Study will now be administered by the grade-level coordinators operating out of the BCRE office in Billerica Center. Home Study materials will primarily be through online learning platforms. Karen Dubbs, who has served in religious education for over twenty-five years in Billerica Catholic, will continue to work in the combined parish office at One Grace Avenue in Billerica Center.

 

We hope that your families remain healthy and safe during this continued time of pandemic. Although our staff will be limited during July and August, please reach out to Tony with any questions you might have. We will do our best to get back to you.

 

You are in our prayers!

The BCRE Team