Children & Family
Why Participate in Family Ministry at St. James?
Welcoming to Neurodiverse Individuals: We seek to be especially inclusive of those with Autism, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia/dysgraphia, Tourette’s Down Syndrome, and other diverse ways of thinking and interacting. Our leaders receive specialized training. Children are encouraged to move as needed or to use the provided away space for a time if they feel overstimulated, among other accommodations that we are working toward implementing, as we learn how to better welcome all types of children and families. We have discovered that when steps are taken to better welcome neurodiverse individuals, the feeling of welcome and thoughtfulness increases for everyone.
Healthy Friendships and Whole Family Focus: Good friendships have a big influence on a child and so we seek to foster relationships between families and children. Great relationships, however, are not only helpful to children, but to parents as well and so we seek to serve the entire family in this way. We seek to provide opportunity for connection with others in an atmosphere of growth in virtue and holiness.
Earlier Confirmation: It is better to have the strengthening of the graces of the Holy Spirit earlier, rather than waiting to a later time, especially in a world of divisiveness and temptation. The Catholic Catechism states that children are to be confirmed at the age of reason (CCC 1307). Those children who have been receiving ongoing religious instruction and are ready will be confirmed at the next visit of the Bishop, who normally comes to the community once every three years.
Assisting rather than Replacing Parents: We are dedicated to providing to the Catholic education of children and youth by coming alongside and supporting parents in fulfilling their proper duties of fostering growth of Christian life in the family. The Catholic Church teaches that parents are the first and primary educators of their children. We work so that spouses and parents are supported in fulfilling their proper duties of fostering growth of Christian life in the family (Can. 529 §1) by equipping families through a family centric model of catechesis. We provide families with accountability and structure so that both children and adults can thrive.
About the program
Although the home is the first school of Christian life, the place where a person learns tenderness, forgiveness, respect, self denial, and prayer, the parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families, a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.
Need to be Catholic?
St. James accepts children from all walks of life and beliefs and is dedicated to serving the community by partnering with parents who want to raise their children with high moral standards. Neither the child nor the family are required to be Catholic.
Whole family meetings take place monthly during the school year from 12:00 PM – 1:45 PM: 8/13/23, 9/24/23, 10/22/23, 11/19/23, 12/17/23, 1/21/24, 2/18/24, 3/17/24, 4/14/24, 5/5/24
Dads’ Meetings: monthly on Friday evenings. Contact us to obtain the date of the next meeting
Moms’ Meetings: monthly on Saturday mornings. Contact us to obtain the date of the next meeting
Food: Each session begins with pizza so that everyone can relax and connect (RSVP required so we know how much to order)
Content: Dynamic activities and teaching using Sophia Press and Life Teen Materials
Groups: following lunch before the children split into older (9-13) and younger groups (4-8) for age appropriate lessons. Parents also will often have their own group during this time so that they too can grow and learn.
The program is currently designed for children kindergarten through eighth grade (ages 4-13). Parents are welcome and encouraged to be at and assist with the sessions.
A safe environment is provided for all parishioners, from the youngest to the oldest. Mandatory training and detailed background checks are required for all volunteers who work with children. Parents are provided with materials to use in discussing safe environment issues with their children. Learn more about the Safe Environment Policy in detail or register for training.
If you have a reasonable suspicion of abuse, neglect, or maltreatment report it immediately to the Department of Health and Human Services 1-800-96ABUSE. If the alleged abuse involved Ordinariate personnel, (priests, deacons, employees, teachers or volunteers), after contacting the authorities, please contact the Ordinariate Safe Environment Coordinator, Lynn Schmidt: 907-317-6257, SafeEnvironment@ordinariate.net
- More Information on Reporting Abuse
- Parent Resources
- Full Ordinariate Safe Environment Policy (promulgated by Bishop on December 22, 2022)
There is no cost for those on record as giving regularly at St. James. For all others:
- 1 student $110
- 2 students $130
- 3 students $150
- 4 or more students $170
Note: no one will be turned away due to financial inability. Please speak to the pastor for more details.
Registration and Commitment
Help us get to know you and your family so that we can better serve you by getting registered and committing to being part of the program for the upcoming year which means to assure your child’s ongoing attendance (unforeseen changes of plans of course are understandable). We do ask that any registered families give notification about any foreseen absences so that so that we are not purchasing unneeded food. Families are welcome and encouraged to assist with bringing deserts and other food items, but this is not required.
Please contact our director of Children’s Ministry, Colleen Kelley, firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-306-6280
Sacraments of Initiation for Children
Ongoing formation, either in the home, parish, or school is required before receiving sacraments and afterwards.
Rather than mechanistically assigning reception of a Sacrament to a particular age or grade, Ordinariate parishes and parochial communities guided by canon law, involve parents and catechists through concrete markers to help discern, with their child, the time to begin preparation for the reception of a Sacrament. You can read more about the signs of a child’s readiness in Bishop Lopes’ Pastoral Letter on the Holy Spirit beginning in Part IV, The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation.
Assessing for readiness
Preparation for confession, confirmation, and or communion can begin when the parents and the pastor have determined readiness of the child and he or she:
- has reached at least the age of reason (7-11)
- is receiving ongoing instruction in the faith either at St. James, home, or school
- is able to renew baptismal promises
- is regularly attending Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation and the other precepts of the Church
- has requested Confession, Confirmation, or First Communion
Please contact Father Mayer to schedule an assessment meeting with the child so that he can confirm the child’s readiness to begin sacramental preparation.
Why confirmation at an earlier age?
According to the Church confirmation is to be received at the age of reason. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the “Latin custom has indicated ‘the age of discretion’ as the reference point for receiving Confirmation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1307). 
In addition to ongoing formation, attendance of these workshops is required for those children who are completing their sacraments of initiation. The First Communion Workshop is not required for those who have already completed this sacrament. Contact us to learn more about upcoming workshops.
Please see Confirmation and First Communion over at the Sacraments menu
 Though many diocese delay confirmation until 8th grade, 14 confirm at the age of reason: Saginaw, Michigan (1995); Great Falls-Billings, Montana (1996); Portland, Maine (1997); Spokane, Washington (1998); Fargo, North Dakota (2002); Gaylord, Michigan (2003); Tyler, Texas (2005); Phoenix, Arizona (2005); Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (2012); Honolulu, Hawaii (2015); Denver, Colorado (2015); Manchester, New Hampshire (2017); Springfield, Illinois (2017); and Gallup, New Mexico (2019).