Christ the King School holds a sacred trust to educate and to form the whole child in mind, body, and spirit. As catechetical and educational ministers, our responsibility is to present the gospel message within an educational program of excellence based on Catholic tradition.
Because religious education is more that the handing on of religious truths, our goal is growth in faith, which implies both formation and transformation, leading students to live the Gospel as members of a believing community. Our program offers students a way to understand themselves as well as the world through the lens of Christ’s message of love, viewing all life as a gift from God.
Christ the King School implements a Religion curriculum guided by the basic principles of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Religious instruction is regularly scheduled, age specific and delivered in a group setting based on well-founded pedagogical truths. The school follows the newly adopted 2009 Archdiocese of Atlanta Religion Curriculum Guidelines to assure that the major components of Catholic tradition are covered at each grade level.
Preparation for First Sacraments
Christ the King School prepares students for the reception of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist as part of the religion curriculum in grade two. To be eligible to receive a sacrament in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, religious instruction is required the year prior to the year of reception in addition to the sacramental year. Even though Christ the King School provides sacramental instruction, first sacraments should be received in the student’s home parish in order to foster and to further the child’s initiation process within that community of worship.
Students entering the school after second grade and who have not received First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, but desire reception, must follow the archdiocesan policy as mentioned above. Please contact the school’s Religion Coordinator and/or the Director of Religious Education in your home parish for more information and assistance.
Catechesis and Prayer
A vital component of a good religion program involves catechetical experiences outside the realm of formal religious instruction and without set expectations and goals. These opportunities have the potential to touch the depths of the heart, leading one to a deeper awareness and realization of the truths of the faith. Christ the King School fosters this type of formation through prayer and community service, which enriches and enlivens our students in mind, body and spirit. Efforts are made to align prayer and community service with the seasons of the liturgical year, so that students gain insight into the mystery of God working in their lives and that of the community.
Christ the King students gather as an entire school community as well as departments for mass on a weekly and /or rotational basis so that students are able to receive the Eucharist often, to participate in liturgy more fully, and to meet in more intimate gatherings so that needs, specific to the of age and maturity of the children, may be adequately addressed. Parents and extended family members are always welcome to celebrate with the school at mass. Celebration dates can be found on the school calendar.
Even though non-Catholic students are not able to receive sacraments in the Catholic tradition, they are always invited to actively participate in the mass by assuming a leadership role, by receiving a blessing at communion, or by visiting with a priest when the sacrament of Reconciliation is offered to students.
In preparation for Advent and Lent, the sacrament of Reconciliation is formally celebrated for students in grades 2-8. Students desiring the sacrament at other times should make their desire known to their homeroom teacher or to the school’s Religion Coordinator, who will schedule an appointment for reception.
Grade levels are assigned liturgical celebrations to plan and to minister throughout the school year. It is inspiring to see young people comfortably and confidently assume leadership roles at mass by introducing the liturgy, proclaiming the scriptures, leading communal prayer, preparing meditations, or leading music as cantors.
Various school-wide, grade level, and department service opportunities are available to students. Some have become yearly traditions, like the 7th grade food drive for the Midtown Assistance Center and the 6th grade “baby shower” for Catholic Charities. Families are notified of events via the school’s website, Ed-line postings, and the Middle School Parents’ Newsletters.
Retreat opportunities are planned for Middle School students during the first quarter of the school year. Sixth and Seventh Grade attend an off campus extended day retreat, while the eighth grade enjoys an off campus overnight experience. Student retreats encompass a wonderful balance of community building activities, prayer, and opportunities for the reception of the sacraments. A yearly retreat is also planned for the faculty and staff, allowing everyone time to stop and to remember who we are, what we are about, and why we are doing it at Christ the King School.
A formal evaluation of the school’s religion program has been ongoing since 2005, utilizing the National Catholic Education Association’s standardize tool: Assessment of Catechesis for Religious Education (ACRE) for grades five and eight. Results provide direction for planning. Individual reports are provided to parents to assist them as the primary religious educators of their children. Christ the King School’s students have consistently achieved well above national averages showing growth in the four pillars of the faith: the creed, liturgy and sacraments,
morality, and prayer.
Each Sixth Grader receives a personal copy of the New American Bible to use throughout their middle school years. The Catholic Encyclopedia is available in the Media Center and in the Middle School Religion Classroom.
An inter-discipline Family Life Program has been incorporated into the curriculum for grades 4-8 based on the 2001 Benziger Series. An overview of this curriculum is provided to parents prior to instruction so that parents are able to continue the class discussion informally at home.
Faculty Certification and Training
In order to maintain the integrity of Catholic religious instruction, and to communicate Christ’s message of hope and love, educators at Christ the King School must earn catechist certification as required by the Archdiocese of Atlanta in addition to the mandated professional requirements by the State of Georgia.
Safe Environment Verification
Every school employee receives instruction in the high standards of attitude, behavior, honesty, integrity, commitment, and accountability that governs Catholic schools, as adopted by the Atlanta Archdiocese as set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults, which was introduced in 2002.
Volunteers who assist at the school or on field trips must have an up-to-date background verification on file at the school as specified in the charter and must be Safe Environment compliant. For more information on Safe Environment please contact Mimi Bryan at email@example.com.
All students receive age appropriate Safe Environment instruction through the archdiocesan program, You Matter. Training is conducted by homeroom teachers or by the Religion Coordinator, along with the School Counselor. Parental consent is requested prior to instruction. Training materials are kept in the school media center for parental viewing and are sent home with children following the school training session so that parents may extend the conversation informally.
Christian Living and Recognition
As a reminder that we are to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” and to respond as Christ’s followers in our everyday life, students and groups who offer communal witness are recognized and celebrated at the end of school liturgies. Students and parents look forward to the following recognitions:
- Middle School Cantor Choir
- Student Council Induction
- Fifth and Sixth Grade Guardian Angels
- Power over Prejudice Committee
- Eighth Grade Alumni Representatives
- Classroom Peacemakers
- Student Ambassadors
- Altar Servers
- Scholarships and Awards
Parental Involvement in Catechesis
Since parents are the primary religious educators of their children, the school encourages parental faith formation through the Parent Volunteer Association’s Spiritual Life Committee. This organization offers fellowship, prayer, and faith formation activities that enrich the parent community. The Spiritual Life Committee offers:
- A Day Retreat for Mothers
- Mass / Breakfast / and Presentation for Dads
- Monthly Parents in Prayer
- Weekly Adoration
- Bereavement and Crisis Family Support
- And volunteer opportunities to support Christian witness in and out of the classroom
Parental input provides a dynamic dimension to the catechetical process and is a vital witness to this faith community that cannot be underestimated. All parents are members of the Spiritual Life Community and are welcome to participate in all activities offered.
Christ the King School parents model Christian service and encourage the school’s participation in community outreach projects, which is an integral part of their children’s religious education. Examples of parent driven involvement are evidenced below:
- For the past five years, the Spiritual Life Committee parents worked behind the scenes to secure donations of food and supplies in support of the students’ Christmas Sandwich Making Project for area shelters
- After hearing the founder of the Mustard Seed Community speak at the School Liturgy on Sept. 11th, a parent volunteered to donate one dollar for each child in the school to use as “seed money” with which to grow for the Mustard Seed Community. This project had hidden blessings for it united families and the entire community. Students and families unleashed their creativity to make their $1.00 grow with garage sales, lemonade stands, rock concerts, read-a-thons, babysitting, weaving and selling bracelets, raffling breakfast with the pastor, bake and donut sales, e-bay toy sales, and the list goes on. In total, the children earned $18,000.00 toward the building of a bakery for the Mustard Seed Community.
- The Parent Volunteer Association’s Spiritual Life Committee serves the community by acknowledging and celebrating family births, hospitalizations, and deaths with homemade bread sent home with children, along with an offer to assist the family. The Spiritual Life Outreach Coordinator keeps a tally of the families acknowledged. On average, 80 loaves of chocolate chip banana bread are baked by our moms and distributed yearly.
- The Spiritual Life Prayer Coordinator assists the Religion Coordinator by scheduling families to lead Morning Prayer over the public address system each morning.