Religious education is the process by which we pass on the Christian faith to future generations. It is the “essential ministry of the Church through which the teachings of Christ have been passed on to believers throughout the ages.” (NDC, 6)
Parish Religious Education (PRE) should “bring about in the believer an ever more mature faith in Jesus Christ, a deeper knowledge and love of his person and message, and a firm commitment to follow him.” (54) Religious Education should lead one into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through which we participate in the life of the Trinity.
I teach my children about faith at home. Why do they need formal classes?
The parent’s role as “first teacher” is irreplaceable. Parents teach and bear witness to Catholic faith, morality, prayer and religious practice through their example in word and action. However, the Church also recognizes a need for a formal, comprehensive and systematic religious education concerning the faith.
Our parish provides a religious instruction program approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to all its school age children. It consists of age appropriate and approved Catholic faith curriculum.
Should I enroll my child in PRE classes each year?
Yes. The religious curriculum that children receive in their Parish Religious Education (PRE) classes builds upon itself from year to year. Even if you do not plan for your child to receive a sacrament during the current school year, the content of what your child will learn will help them grow in their faith and enter into deeper communion and intimacy with the person of Jesus.
Are PRE classes required in order for my child to receive the Sacraments?
Yes. If you want your child to receive a sacrament (Baptism, First Communion, First Penance, Confirmation), then they must enroll and regularly attend Parish Religious Education classes, in order to adequately prepare for that sacrament.
Does my child's age matter when considering PRE as preparation for Sacraments?
Yes. Depending on your child’s age and grade level, your child may need to attend additional class times in preparation for his or her sacrament. See our Baptism, First Communion, First Penance or Confirmation pages for more information.
My school age child has not been baptized. Can I still enroll them in PRE?
An assessment and determination of religious education programming needs for non-baptized school age children is made in consultation with the pastor on case by case basis. Contact the Director of Religious Education to discuss your situation. Also see our Baptism page.
When and where is PRE held?
PRE for children in kindergarten through 6th grade occurs between the Sunday morning Masses from 11am to 12 Noon in the north building of Catholic Central High School (the building immediately south of the Cathedral). PRE for youth from 7th to 12th grade occurs on Thursday evenings from 6:15 to 8:15pm in the Parish Center and the Ambrosian Room (both rooms located in the basement of the Cathedral).
Download the PRE Calendar
How do I enroll my child in PRE?
The Cathedral conducts PRE registration weekends after all the Masses during mid to late August. Registration forms are available to download here, or hard copies are available from the parish office or at the kiosk in the back of the Cathedral.
Completely fill out the registration form. Ensure your child and parent information is accurate. The child’s parent or legal guardian must sign the form (on page 4). Determine your total family cost (on page 5), and include proper payment when you mail or turn in your form to the office or offering plate. If the child is preparing to receive a sacrament during the year, please also include a copy of the child’s baptism record.
Download the PRE Registration Form
What is the fee for enrolling my child in PRE?
The fee for enrolling your child in Parish Religious Education depends on each child’s specific situation. The determination of PRE fees are based on the cost of textbook materials and shipping. Depending on your child’s situation, your child may require the purchase of anywhere from one to three textbooks. See the PRE Registration Form to calculate your individual program fee.
What about Religious Education for parents?
Spanish speaking adults can attend religious education classes that meet at the same time as their child's PRE classes. Parents gather together with an an adult catechist (teacher) to learn about various aspects of their faith and discuss topics and subjects based on their interests.
English speaking adults: See our Adult Faith Formation page
All adults are encouraged to attend classes at the Catholic Information Center. The CIC provides faith formation and many other classes of interest to all in the Diocese of Grand Rapids.