Ministries: Christian Formation


    Karen Adams leads adult education class

    A former Respect Life chair, Karen Adams, spoke on Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae before a large group in an adult education class.

  • Adult Education Group: St. Francis has a strong program of education for adults meeting at 10 a.m. most Sundays during the academic year. Topics are in the liturgical, theological, and spiritual fields and in recent years have included such subjects as:
    • The Communion of Saints
    • St. Ignatius of Antioch: Father of the Church
    • Pope Benedict and the Future of Anglicanism
    • The Papacy and Christian Authority
    • The Messiah in the Old Testament
    • Mary, Mother of the Church
    • Archangels and Angels
    • Sin and Grace
    • An Introduction to Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae

  • The RCIA program culminates with the baptism of the catechumens

    The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program prepares catechumens for becoming members of the Church, culminating in their baptism at the Easter Vigil.

  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA): This program, required of adults seeking to be baptized in the Catholic Church, is an intense study of the basic tenets of the Church, including its theology and sacraments, as well as the components of the Christian devotional life and the social outreach of Christians to those most in need of Christ’s love. Ongoing meetings of the catechumens (those preparing for baptism) familiarize them with what it is to be a Catholic Christian in today’s world. The RCIA preparation intensifies during the season of Lent, when those seeking baptism officially become catechumens (occurring usually on the First Sunday of Lent), continuing with the scrutinies during Sunday Mass when the catechumens are urged onward in their journey, and culminating at the Easter Vigil, when they are baptized and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time. Those interested in the RCIA program should contact the parish office (540-886-2262).

Young People

    High school students in a CCD class

    With Father Wamala looking on, Greg Ridenour leads a high school CCD class meeting outside on a warm spring Sunday.

  • Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Catechists: pass on the faith to the younger members of our parish on Sundays during the school year. Become a participant in one of the essential responsibilities of our church community. Training is provided. The diocese also requires VIRTUS training and background screening for all who participate.

    CCD catechist leads her class in prayer

    A CCD catechist leads her first-grade class in prayer before they begin their studies for the day; their prayer intentions include their ailing pets as well as their family members and the person who became ill during the preceding Mass.

    St. Francis offers CCD classes for children of pre-school age (4) through high school. Kindergarten and pre-school children enjoy the Image of God workbooks, the Faith and Life series is used as texts in grades 1-5, grades 6-8 use Visions and Venture (a new middle-school program which combines the Church’s liturgical year in each take-home lesson along with feast days, lives of saints, and Christian life and prayer), and the high school catechists utilize the Catechism for Sunday morning lessons. In general, classes, which meet at 10 a.m., begin the Sunday after Labor Day and continue until summer break at the end of May; registration for CCD begins in August.

    Children's CCD class

    A CCD instructor asks her pre-kindergarten CCD class to identify the event in the picture, and an eager student quickly replies that the scene depicts the archangel Gabriel and Mary at the time of the Annunciation.

    For questions about volunteering as a catechist or about any aspects of the Christian formation program for young people at St. Francis, contact: Carol Long, E-Mail, Phone: 540-886-2262

  • First Holy Communion: Preparation begins in second grade with the Sacrament of Reconciliation in December. The focus of Reconciliation is the story of the Prodigal Son in relation to sin, sorrow for sin, and seeking and receiving forgiveness. A special “Banner Day” celebrates the upcoming Holy Communion class with the creation of the traditional banner. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is received in May.

  • Bishop DiLorenzo and confirmands

    Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and young people from St. Francis he confirmed

  • Confirmation: The current practice is for confirmation instruction to be included in the CCD curriculum for high school students. Normally young people in the tenth or eleventh grades prepare for this sacrament, which is administered in May by the bishop of the diocese or his representative.
  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA): RCIA classes for children and pre-teens meet throughout the CCD year. Young RCIA members (after the “age of reason,” which is 7) coming into the Catholic Church meet for a community supper before class begins, with adult RCIA members and leaders. The concept of beginning the night with supper is to solidify a community of new Catholics who get to know each other socially as well as come together for solid Biblical and Catholic teachings. Some of our Catholic youth “buddy up” with RCIA youth as peers and friends in the faith attending the RCIA classes as “mini-sponsors
  • Vacation Church School: This summer program is a week of faith and fun for younger parishioners with a professionally prepared program. Volunteers can help organize, teach, or assist with classes, which run Monday-Friday mornings. Contact: Carol Long, E-Mail, Phone: 540-886-2262