At St. Mary’s we encourage students to base their lives on the teachings and examples of Jesus. We strive to increase the students’ understanding and reading of the scriptures. We promote the value of spending time in personal prayer and developing a real relationship with Christ. We nurture students’ belief that God is a real person in their everyday lives.
The religious education program at St Mary’s is an authentic and relevant presentation of the Catholic faith. It is faithful to the standards of the Diocese of Omaha and the mandates of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our program encourages students to be challenged to grow as persons and believers in today’s world. Christian values are incorporated into all aspects of our curriculum. Students learn Sacred Scripture, the Creed, formal and informal prayer, and social justice at grade appropriate levels. Students participate in daily prayer during the school day and at seasonal liturgical programs. The program is intended to complement the work of the parents and the parish in assisting with the lifelong process of religious education of the student.
Students attend a specifically prepared school-wide Mass each week. Holy Days of Obligation are also observed. Parents are always invited and encouraged to attend these Masses.
Each class also has several opportunities to prepare and participate in the celebration of the school-wide Masses. They do the readings, petitions, bring up the gifts, announce the songs, and assist the priest as altar servers. One of the priests also celebrates a special Mass with each of the grades and explains each part as he celebrates the Mass. Our students regularly plan and participate in liturgy. It provides wonderful lessons in learning about the Mass, learning to work together, and serving the St. Mary's parish community. It's pretty impressive to see 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders (or any grade level student) get up in front of everyone at Mass and deliver a reading. This happens through careful preparation and guidance from teachers. It's a “real world” application. Not only are students living out their Catholic faith, they're also developing speaking and leadership skills, and therefore gaining self confidence.
Our Sacramental training program is an important portion of the faith formation classes. It is a parish wide program. Students in the second grade prepare for and receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. The Confirmation program starts in the seventh grade and finishes in eighth grade with the celebration of Confirmation. All Catholic students receive these sacraments in parish wide celebrations. Parent meetings are held to keep parents informed and to assist them in helping their children on this faith journey.
Kindness and Caring of Others
We incorporate the Boy’s Town Training program at St. Mary’s. This program helps students develop and live out a value system that respects the dignity of themselves and others, and encourages them to reach out to others in compassionate service. Throughout the year students participate in community service projects that promote peacemaking and concern for the poor and most vulnerable of our society.
In order to promote kindness and caring for each other, each of the lower grade classes is matched up with one of the upper grade classes. The older students act as” mentors” to the younger students. The younger students look up to their buddies and the older students thrive in their roles of guardians. Each week they attend Mass with their “buddies.” During the school year, the buddy classes get together to do various activities. It may be making cards for service members, placemats for a nursing home, having lunch together, making blankets for a shelter, having a recess together after Mass, or just reading and sharing time with each other. During the year the students develop a great appreciation and mutual respect for one another and the classes look forward to their times together.