St. Mary’s School follows the Christian education curriculum prescribed by the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA). The catechism program is structured along the liturgical year and feast days are incorporated into the curriculum.
The CISVA provides a parent program on Human Growth and Development for parents of students in the intermediate grades. This program provides an alternate delivery method of covering the prescribed learning outcomes for human sexuality.
It is mandated by the Archbishop that parents attend the support meetings for this program.
The Archdiocesan-developed child abuse prevention program, "I'm A Gift from God", is taught in Kindergarten to Grade Three; both at home and in the classroom.
Non-Catholic students enrolled at St. Mary’s are also required to participate in our religious curriculum. Students are encouraged to follow the precepts of their own faith according to their denominational standards and attend church services regularly.
Reconciliation & Communion
In Grade Two, the children prepare to receive two sacraments: Reconciliation and Communion. Their journey begins with the Enrolment Celebration held in the fall. The students gather with their parents at Mass and the children renew publically the vows done for them at Baptism – they say a strong “I do” to the faith of the Church. They submit signed promises agreeing to do activities as a family throughout the year to strengthen their relationship with Jesus. These pledges of time and prayer will help prepare their hearts to receive Christ in these new ways.
In February, the children celebrate their First Reconciliation during an evening celebration and the whole family is welcome to attend. Each child meets Jesus in this new special way, understanding that he is always there to forgive their sins and to comfort them. The child receives the Sacrament and the whole family is given a blessing of peace – and then sent forth to celebrate that “the lost have been found.”
In May, the children and their families gather for the greatest feast of all – the Eucharist – Holy Communion! This celebration is held on a Saturday afternoon and involves the students of the school and the Parish Religious Education Program. At this celebration an offering of food is collected and is given to the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Breakfast Program for the homeless. This collection acknowledges that hearts fed with the Body of Christ must now be challenged to be like Christ and help with the needs of the world.
Confirmation is an initiation sacrament. It’s about celebrating one’s commitment to the Catholic faith and promising to maintain a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit.
At St. Mary’s Grade Seven students receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring. Their spiritual journey begins in the fall with the Enrolment Mass. At this Mass, students renew their Baptismal vows in front of the priest, their parents, and the church parishioners. This Mass initiates the students as Confirmation Candidates charged with the responsibility to strengthen their faith for the service of others. Throughout the year, the students complete the Confirmation Program with their classroom teacher. This program follows the education curriculum framework set by CISVA. Outside of school, students attend Mass, Spirit Day, a spiritual retreat, complete service hours, and choose a Confirmation name and a Sponsor to support them in this journey.
The Sacraments mark our journey as Christians building a relationship with Christ. A journey is always easier when accompanied by a friend to share stories and experiences with. The Grade Seven students, who are preparing for Confirmation, have been paired with the Grade Two students who are preparing to receive their First Reconciliation and Communion. Together these “Sacramental Buddies” pray for one another and work on projects together that strengthen a spiritual partnership.
Mass is a way of increasing the faith of our children and building a strong Christian community. Attendance at, and participation in, the Parish Sunday Masses is an essential feature of our school families’ lives. Masses are regularly offered for the whole school, one Wednesday each month. Students are given an opportunity to share in the preparation of the Masses and parents are invited to attend. Non-Catholic students will receive a special blessing at communion.