Parish Religious Education Program


All children attending 1st through 8th grade in Non-Parochial schools should be registered with Sacred Heart Parish’s Religious Education Program.  Students attending the Pre-K and Kindergarten program must pre-register due to the limited size of the classes.  Students attending St. John Neumann Regional School are invited to attend if they wish.

According to Diocesan Regulations all students participating in the C.Y.O. program must be enrolled and participating in either the Catholic School or the Parish Religious Education Program (PREP).

PREP Parent’s Handbook

An Introduction to Whole Community Catechesis

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian Life” (Lumen Gentium).  Catechesis is a lifelong matter, therefore Religious Education, is not exclusively for our children, but should focus on the whole community of faith.  This is called Whole Community Catechesis, and it seeks to establish the essential link between Catechesis and the Sunday Assembly for Mass, the liturgical year, and the whole life of the Church.

A major part of WCC are the Intergenerational Gatherings. 
These gatherings are programs designed to prepare the whole community to celebrate the liturgy in a meaningful way – all generations – families with or without children in the home – single parent families and extended families – everyone in our Sacrament Preparation Programs, Family Program, School families, and those in our Youth Ministry Programs.  Some gatherings are designed to fulfill sacramental requirements.  Families pre-register for the Gatherings and at times pay a fee to cover the costs. Children may not attend alone, for this is a family activity.


The PREP Program follows a level system based on the religious education blocks the students have completed.

PREP Blocks:
Level I-A & I-B
Level II-A & II-B
Level III

Level IV-A & IV-B
Level V-A & V-B
Level VI-A & VI-B
Level VII-A & VIIB
Level VIII

** Each year children must also attend age appropriate Diocesan Mandated Child Protection Catechesis.**


Sacramental Requirements

First Penance:  Completion of Blocks I-A, I-B, II-A, II-B, Penance, and their respective assessments, age appropriate participation in the Sunday Liturgy, and a First Penance Retreat.

First Communion:  Completion of First Penance, Eucharist Block and their respective assessments, Seder Supper or First Communion Retreat, Teaching Mass, and age appropriate participation in the Sunday Liturgy.

Confirmation:  Completion of First Penance and First Communion, Blocks IV-A & B, V-A & B, VI-A & B, VII-A & B, Confirmation; and their respective assessments, age appropriate participation in the Sunday Liturgy, student interview, completion of Confirmation Packet, and the Confirmation Retreat.

Reception of The Sacraments

The Sacraments of First Penance and First Eucharist will be celebrated upon completion of the requirements.  Confirmation will be celebrated upon completion of the requirements and when the Bishop or his representative celebrates the sacrament in the parish.

Block Scheduling allows the students and families to attend religious education classes at times that are more convenient. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults makes it very clear that not everyone is at the same place at the same time on their faith journey.  Block scheduling allows students the opportunity to receive sacraments when they are ready.

Please note:  The Diocese of Allentown requires children to have at least 2 years of Religious Education before the reception of any of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation).

A child who enters our Program at an older age will be interviewed to determine the appropriate Level that they should be attending.  If it is determined that the child should be enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) modified for Children, the DRE will determine the appropriate blocks that the child needs to attend.  The Pastor, the Coordinator of RCIA, the DRE and the parents or guardians will determine when the child will be receiving the Sacraments of Initiation according to Diocesan guidelines.

Kindergarten and Pre-K Levels:  Liturgically based faith formation using the parables and hands-on methods of teaching.  The students meet during the 11:00 Am Mass.

Levels I, II, and IV through VII:  This program follows a more traditional approach to Catechesis.  Pflaum Gospel Weeklies are used for faith formation in these levels.

Levels VII & VIII:  This Program uses Dynamic Catholic’s Decision Point that offers a thematic approach and engages our junior high students in discussion topics about Revelation, The Trinity, Jesus Christ, The Church, Morality, Sacraments, Kingdom of God.  Junior High aged students are strongly encouraged to continue this Program after they have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

First Reconciliation and First Eucharist:  At this time we prepare our students for the Sacraments using “Together in Jesus” series by Pflaum Publishers.

Confirmation:  At this time we prepare our students for Confirmation using “Decision Point” by Dynamic Catholic Publishers.

Home Schooling is available to all families.  Pope Benedict makes it clear that the family bears the primary responsibility for educating children, “It is very obvious that in educating and forming people in the faith the family has its own fundamental role and primary responsibility.  Parents, in fact, are those through whom the child at the start of life has the first and crucial experience of love, of a love which is actually not only human but also a reflection of God’s love for him.  Therefore, the Christian family, the small “domestic Church”, and the larger family of the Church must take care to develop the closest collaboration, especially with regard to the education of children.”
The students will also use “Call to Faith” by Harcourt Religious Publishers.  Parents will meet for a 2 hour informational sessions for each block.  The beauty of the new Program is that all of the students are covering the same unit topic at the same time.  So a parent who is home-schooling 3 students at different levels will only have to attend one session per block.  Assessments are offered at the end of each block.  Age appropriate participation in the Sunday Liturgy is necessary for the reception of the Sacraments.


Special Education:  Parents of students with any type of learning or physical disability should note this on the student’s registration form.

Learning Disabilities:  Every effort will be made to work with the parents and student so that the child may participate in the classroom.  Other provisions will be made for those students who are not able to handle the classroom experience, either by home-schooling or by the parents acting as aides in the classroom.

Custody Issues:  Please include on the registration form any custody issues that involve your child.  If at anytime during the year custody arrangements change please notify the CRE. This information will help us ensure your child’s safety.


All children attending Kindergarten through 8th grade in Non-Parochial schools should be registered with Sacred Heart Parish’s Religious Education Programs.  Students attending St. John Neumann Regional School are invited to attend if they so wish.

Registration forms are available through the Religious Education Office or by using the link above. Registration and payment is to be made by September 1st for the Fall block, & January 1st for the Spring block. If your child is new to the PREP Program and has not been baptized at Sacred Heart, please include a copy of the Baptismal Certificate with registration.

Active Membership is determined by 3 things:
♦ being registered in the parish for one year;
♦ faithful attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation;
♦ the weekly use of the envelope system in support of  the Parish.  Envelopes are to be placed in the collection basket at Sunday Masses or the Saturday Vigil.

Please make registration checks payable to:   Sacred Heart Church.
Registration fees for Catechists and Aides are waived.
Individuals having difficulty paying this fee should contact the DRE to make other arrangements.


Due to the Pandemic, these Procedures are not in effect at the present time.

Please call the Religious Ed Office for information:  610-826-2849

Arrival and Dismissal:   Class time on Sundays is from 9:30 to 10:45 AM.  Please do not send children any earlier than 9:15 AM.  Students attending class in SJNRS building should arrive and leave through the Third Street door.  If you do bring your child to class and the Catechist is not there, please stay with your child until the Catechist arrives.  Please be prompt in picking up your child.  As a safety measure, please pick up your child at his/her classroom at 10:45 AM. Children will be released only to those authorized on the registration form.

Walking Students:  Students who have the permission of their parents to walk home after class should give a note, signed by their parents, to their catechist at the beginning of each block.

Attendance:  If a child misses a number of classes in a block the child will be assessed to make sure that he or she grasped the kowledge.  Repeating a block or home schooling may be required to make up work for that block.  We request that the parent or guardian phone, or e-mail the Religious Education Office before the start of class, and report the reason for absence if possible. If you get the answering machine, please leave a message.

Cancellation of Class:  In the event that classes would be cancelled because of weather please call the Religious Education Office at 610-826-2849, check the PREP page on the Parish website at, or check Channel 13.  We will include an e-mail notification if we have been provided with an e-mail address. Please do not call the Rectory.  Parents and guardians should use common sense in regard to transporting their children.  Rural road conditions may be very different from those in Palmerton.  If weather conditions are too bad where you are located please call to tell us your child will not be attending class that day.  If classes are cancelled due to weather a make-up class will be scheduled.

Suspected Child Abuse:  Suspected child abuse must be reported by the Catechist to the CRE.  The CRE will then discuss the situation with the Pastor, and then the proper authorities will be notified.
All Catechists, aides and volunteers working with children are required to have a background check completed and are required to attend the Diocesan Training Program “Protecting God’s Children”.  Any type of harassment, either sexual, physical (bullying) or psychological by students or any representative of Sacred Heart Parish must be reported to the CRE or the Pastor.

Emergency Procedures:  A child who becomes ill during class time will either remain in the building in which they attend class or be taken to the Annex.  An aide will notify the CRE and the parents will then be called.

Fire and other Emergencies:  The students will be evacuated in an orderly fashion to a safe location on the property of Sacred Heart Parish. If such an emergency occurs parents will be notified by the proper authorities. No student is to be removed from the area without the notification of the CRE. In the event of a natural or other disaster the Catechist will be warned, if possible, and the children will be moved to the area that has been designated as safe by the Emergency plan, whether it be on or off site location. Children will only be dismissed to persons who have been authorized by the custodial parent on the registration form.

Responsibilities of Parents:  Religious Education can be effective only to the extent that parents regularly participate at Eucharist, nurture prayer life in the home, are involved in parish activities, and strive to live daily by gospel values.

Participation at Sunday Eucharist:  PREP (Parish Religious Education Program) can be understood only in the broader context of the Church as a whole.  Children who participate in PREP must also be present when the Church gathers for Eucharist on Sunday.

Rite of Penance:  Children are encouraged to go to Confession with their parents and guardians as frequently as possible.  Parish / Family Penance Services will be scheduled several times during the year for the students.  Parents and Guardians will be informed of these dates in the bulletin and notices will be sent home with the children.


In addition to attending classes regularly, students are expected to participate fully, complete all assignments and conduct themselves in a Christian manner and exhibit that same Christian manner towards fellow students and catechists.

Assessments:  Each student is expected to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the content presented during a block.  At the beginning of the blocks each student will be given a set of questions and prayers on which they will be assessed on at the end of the block.  If a student does not attain an 80% on the assessment they will be asked to retake it.  This may be done in an oral or written format, whatever is best for the child. If the child does not attain an 80% upon the second review it will be determined whether the child can move on to the next level.

Conduct:  If a child is disrupting the classroom, the Catechist will meet with the child after class to discuss his/her behavior.  If the CRE deems it necessary the parents will be asked to come in for a conference and at that time the coordinator may suggest other alternatives for Religious Education.


According to Diocesan Regulations all students participating in the CYO Program must be enrolled and participating in the Catholic School or in PREP.

PREP students must be registered during the year in which they wish to participate in CYO.


Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA):  RCIA is a process for adults and children to become members of the Roman Catholic Church, while completing the Catholic Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). It is a process that gives all who partake a chance to discover more about themselves and our faith.  For more information on our RCIA program, contact the Religious Education Office of Sacred Heart Church (610-826-2849).

Intergenerational Gatherings offer another means by which the adults of the Parish are able to participate in faith formation.  These Gatherings, open to the whole Parish, offer education, faith sharing and a sense of community fellowship.

Scripture Study is a group that meets Wednesday mornings beginning at 9:30 AM to study and discuss Scripture.  Please call Peg Duell for more information.

Sacred Heart Men of Good News is a group of men that meet on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month beginning at 9:30 AM in the Parish Center.



Rectory:                         610-826-2335
Fax:                                610-826-5360
Religious Ed. Office :   610-826-2849


Pastor:  Rev. William T. Campion

Director of Religious Education:  Deacon Edward J. Girard

St. John Neumann Regional School: 
Mary Comensky Principal:   610-826-2354;

Diocesan Victim Asst. Coordinator:
Wendy S. Krisak. Confidential: 800-791-9209;

Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator:
Pamela Russo; 610-871-5200 ext. 2204


PREP Registration Form

Become a Catechist

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