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PREP Handbook

St. Bridget Parish
Parish Religious Education Program
Student Handbook

Universal Statement from the Office of Catechetical Formation

“The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ:  only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.”  (St. John Paul II)

“Catechesis describes the essential ministry of the (Catholic) Church through which the teachings of Christ have been passed on to believers throughout the ages . . . Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes the teaching of Christian doctrine” of the Roman Catholic Church. (National Directory for Catechesis, no. 1, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Keeping in mind that all the baptized have a right to catechesis, every person, however limited, is capable of growth in holiness (General Directory for Catechesis, no. 189).  Catechetical and sacramental programs are inclusive of parishioners with disabilities and may need to be adapted for some parishioners with disabilities.

St. Bridget Parish – Mission Statement

Saint Bridget Parish is a Roman Catholic community dedicated to being a part of God’s Family in East Falls. With the graces received from the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and theuse of our personal talents, we strive first of all to provide a welcoming atmosphere for worship.
Relying also on the help of Mary, Mother of the Church, we want to welcome all those whose faith has grown either lukewarm or cold, and those who have never known the Church. We wish to serve the wider community as well, with particular attention to the poor and sick. Conscious of our call to teach first by good example to young and old, as Jesus Christ did, we proclaim our love for Him and His teachings, and wish to hand down this treasure of Catholic teaching to all, both now and for future generations of believers.

Our Parish Religious Education Program

While parents are the primary teachers of their children, we see our parish religious education program as an extension of the parents’ responsibility to proclaim the message of our salvation.


As members of the St. Bridget faith community, we stand before God in gratitude and humility for the many blessings bestowed on us. In prayer, the voices of our hearts resound in praise to our loving God. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to the mission of religious education. In word and deed, we spread the message of the Gospel and expound the teachings of the Church.  In hope and prayer, we draw our students to recognize that man was created with a deep longing for God. “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and  for God.” (CCC, no. 27) (CCC — Catechism of the Catholic Church)

St. Bridget PREP program strives . . .

To generate a learning environment where the love of Christ is evident through prayer, compassion, understanding, and respect exhibited by teachers and students alike.

To encourage frequent reception of the sacraments and to teach the sacraments as the means given by God to aid us on our spiritual journey and “To deepen our Faith . . . to connect with the living Tradition of the Church, and to sanctify us.” (CCC, no. 1129)

To inspire students and their families to participate in the liturgical life of the Church by becoming altar servers, lectors, choir members, etc.

To encourage families to participate in outreach and service opportunities in our parish and community.

To proclaim the Good News by word and deed.

To create a “Safe Environment” for students and teachers by respecting each person as a child of God, and by strictly adhering to the norms set by the Church for the protection of our children and young people.

Sacramental Preparation

Any child preparing to receive Reconciliation, Eucharist, or Confirmation must attend PREP classes for two years prior to receiving the sacraments. Consistent class attendance is essential.

Parents of children receiving any of the sacraments are required to attend a meeting usually held in the fall of that particular school year. Children receiving First Eucharist and Confirmation are required to attend a family retreat in preparation for the reception of the sacraments.

First Reconciliation and First Eucharist are usually received by students in Grade 2.
Specific dates vary according to the Liturgical Season. First Reconciliation is received during Lent. First Eucharist is received on a Sunday, usually at a time shortly after Easter.

Confirmation is administered every two years according to the schedule of the Bishops of the Archdiocese. Students in Grades 7 and 8 usually receive Confirmation. Parents must submit necessary paperwork such as Baptismal certificates and Confirmation sponsor letters on required dates. Sponsors and candidates must attend a rehearsal in church as preparation for Confirmation. The dates for a family retreat day, sponsor rehearsal, and Confirmation are decided based on the Bishop’s schedule.


All communications come directly by e-mail to the parents of our children. If this is not available for parents, please speak with the director upon registration.

Classes for Grades 1 through 7/8 are held on Sunday mornings from 9:50—11:00 am. This allows students to attend the   9 am Mass and then come to class or to come to class and then attend the 11 am Mass.

Children enter the St. Bridget Meeting Rooms by way of the steps outside the back door of church. Parents are requested to bring the children to the porch outside the door, and then pick up the children at that same place.

The persons responsible for a child’s religious education, the persons who bring the child to class, and emergency numbers are recorded on the initial information sheet. This sheet will be updated each year. Please bring any other concerns to the attention of the coordinator of the program.

Our parish website has current information and announcements including the schedule of classes under Parish Religious Education Program. In case of snow or any inclement weather or emergency, you will receive an e-mail on Saturday afternoon. It will also be announced on the parish website.


 Recite and (practice) required prayers
 Complete lessons assigned by teachers
 Return papers requiring parent’s signature
 Bring textbook and supplies requested by teacher


 Required Mass attendance every weekend

 Faithful class attendance Excessive absence will be addressed by the coordinator. It may necessitate a repeat of the level which will determine the preparedness for the sacraments of initiation.

 Review with children assignments given by the teacher

 Sign and return important papers


“Through the ministry of the ordained priest, the Holy Spirit makes present at Mass Christ’s Paschal Mystery, His dying and rising in which Christ is offered to the Father to give him adoration and praise to save us from our sins and bring us Divine life.”
(CCC, Appendix A Glossary, p. 519.)

As Catholics, it is our holy and loving obligation and privilege to attend the great gift of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. It is a natural assumption that parents claim the responsibility of role model for those entrusted to their care. As the primary educators and, therefore, the primary role model for a family, loving parents are encouraged to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a family.


It is expected that all behaviors reflect the teachings of the Gospel and exhibit our Christian beliefs. Cooperation and respect for the school environment must be paramount.

Our belief in Christ Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life should be evident in our words and actions.

No child may carry an item that can be construed as a weapon by nature (not necessarily intent), that may put someone in harm’s way . . . e.g. pocket knife.
Scissors are available in school and will be used in a supervised setting.

Students are asked not to bring any kind of food to class. If there is a medical need of any kind regarding food, please speak to the child’s teacher.

Cell phones must be kept in the student’s PREP bag and must be turned off or on vibrate during class.


The PREP program will provide on-going education to the students regarding respect for one’s self and what constitutes a safe environment. The lessons embrace the dignity and respect for all because each person is made in the image and likeness of God. The director will notify parents about these lessons to be given on a certain day. If a parent does not want his/her student to attend the class on Safe Environment, the parent must sign a form stating the decline. Parents may preview the lesson(s) on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia web site.

In these days of uncertainty, it is important that our program have in place a plan for the safety and protection of the children in our care. Our PREP program follows all of the guidelines issued by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Parents/guardians have been asked to discuss any unusual circumstances that would have an effect on a child’s religious formation with the director of the PREP program. If anything unusual comes to the surface, please discuss it with the director of the program.


Fire Exits—in case of any evacuation, there are three doors for exit, the main door, the side door in the larger room, and the door in the hallway that leads to exit by way of the persons living in St. Brendan’s. All teachers are required to bring your class lists and account for all students present that day. Anyone missing at the time is reported to the director of the program.

Lock Down procedures are used to protect building occupants from potential dangers in the building. (e.g. student threat or an intruder) or external threats that may enter the building

Lock Down with Warning occurs when there is a threat or danger outside the building (e.g. fugitive on the run and in area; a medical emergency outside the building).

Lock Down with Intruder occurs when there is a threat or intruder inside the building.

Lock Down close doors, turn off lights, move children away from the windows. Sit on the floor. We may go to the back hallways.

Lock Out procedures are used when the danger is in the building and conditions are safer outside the building. Alternative site would be church.

Shelter in Place Some emergencies call for all to take shelter immediately. Examples are (but not limited to) a hurricane tornado or hazardous waste release in the general area. Procedures are similar to lock down. No one is permitted to enter the building.


The materials fee includes the price of the textbook and various supplies for the PREP program.


Coordinator of Faith Formation Ministry, Sister Margaret Jude Sullivan SSJ
PREP office is in St. Bridget Rectory, 3667 Midvale Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19129
215-844-4126 ext.103 or e-mail
Rectory fax number 215-842-2536


This handbook has been prepared with the assistance of other directors of PREP programs.

Approved by Rev. Joseph Devlin, pastor at the time.
March, 2009 Revised August 2013
Revised 2018 Reverend Robert Feeney, pastor

Universal statement from Office of Catechetical Formation, June 19, 2020    Reverend Bernard Taglianetti, Parochial Administrator

St. Bridget PREP Program Catechist Teacher Requirements

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia requires background checks on all persons who work alone and/or directly with children on a weekly basis. Volunteer religious education personnel recognize the current legal climate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Therefore, we request a background check on all personnel, paid or volunteer.
All personnel when working with children must complete the Pennsylvania State Police Act 34 Clearance Form and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse Clearance Form. The parish will supply the fee for these forms.
In addition, persons are required to attend the Safe Environment workshop presented by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. There is a schedule of these classes on the Archdiocesan

The Religious Education program is responsible for the students registered for the program during the time they are with us. Therefore it is important that the catechist keeps accurate attendance and tardiness records. These records will be collected after the final class and recorded on the permanent record card.

Corporal punishment or any punitive touching of a child is strictly forbidden.

A statement, verbal or written, concerning a student’s behavior must be both accurate and protective of the rights of the individual whose behavior is being described. Such statements must be specific, behaviorally oriented and verifiable. For example: John missed six classes, was late three times, and was sent to the director’s office for fighting three times rather than John is always absent, late most of the time, and always in trouble.

Catechists are responsible for the safety of their students. Catechists need to stay with the children until the specified adults come to pick up the children.

Prayer should be an integral part of every class period. Catechists and students will open and close each class with a prayer. Catechists are encouraged to use a variety of prayer forms, memorized prayers, spontaneous prayers, and prayers based on Scripture stories.