St. John’s Offers Religious Education Program


by Terry Rogers



Judy Purcell, Director of Religious Education at St. John the Apostle/St. Bernadette, Harrington, says that the program provides faith instruction and prepares children in Pre-Kindergarten through 10th Grade for the sacraments. Purcell explained that there is also a program for older teens and adult workshops available as well.

“Religious education at St. John’s/St. Bernadette’s contributes not only to the personal reflection and development of young people but should also heighten respect for the beliefs of others and help build a diverse, but cohesive society,” Purcell said. “The learning fosters children’s love of God and guides them toward a life of discipleship. Our program is a spiral curriculum that ensures consistent progress and development of children’s knowledge of our Catholic faith. We try to help children respond to the Church’s essential mission to evangelize and be Disciples of Christ. Part of the process involves integrating Scripture as well as the traditions of our Catholic faith.”

During the classes, sacramental instruction is provided for second grade while confirmation classes are offered to 10th grade students. Throughout the year, there are seasonal courses that help adult members deepen their faith, Purcell explained. The church also offers a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program which is a process developed by the Catholic Church for prospective members who wish to join. Candidates are gradually introduced to aspects of the Catholic beliefs and practices. The RCIA program meets on Wednesday evenings at St. Bernadette Church in Harrington.

“Research shows that regular attendance at religious services is linked to healthy, stable family life, strong marriages and well-behaved children,” Purcell said. “In the article “Why Religion Matters Even More:  The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability,” Patrick F. Fagan, a William H.G. FitzGerald Research Fellow in Family and Cultural Issues in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation writes that the practice of religion also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crime, substance abuse and addiction. In addition, religious practice leads to an increase in physical and mental health, longevity and education attainment.”

The article also reports that understanding religion’s contribution to America’s constitutional order is fundamental to the nation’s continued prosperity due to the extent that religious practice promotes a civil society. Purcell stated that religion is a powerful antidote to many social problems, some of which have reached historically high incidence levels.

“The Turning Point,” which is a study of the Gospel of John, is an adult program which will hold its first class on September 18.  The classes explain how those described in the stories presented are transformed by their experiences. Each program lasts approximately 90 minutes and a small continental breakfast proceeds each session. Breakfast begins at 9:30 AM with the class beginning at 9:45 AM. There is a $25 registration fee. Anyone interested in attending should contact the Parish Office at 302-422-5123 or Deacon Bob at 302-503-3199.

“Why Do We Do That?” is another program being offered at St. Bernadette. This program is for anyone who wants to know why they say and do the things they do in Mass.

“It also explains why we do all of that “Aerobic Prayer,” all the standing, kneeling, sitting and standing,” Purcell said. “This course is on the Biblical Basis of the Mass and is offered in two-two session courses. The first session will begin with Part I on Wednesday, September 26 and Part 2 on Wednesday, October 3 from 7:30 to 9 PM. The second session will have Part I on Thursday, September 27 and Part 2 on Thursday, October 4 from 2 to 3:30 PM. All classes are held in the St. Bernadette hall.”

Religious Education courses for children will be held on Sunday from 9 to 10:30 AM and from 12:30 to 2 PM at St. John’s in Milford. Classes will also be held from 11 AM to 12:30 PM on Sunday at St. Bernadette’s in Harrington. To register for any classes, contact the church office at 422-5123 or stop by the office at 506 Seabury Avenue in Milford Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 AM until 2:30 PM to obtain a registration form.