Catholic Faith Formation

Luana Lienhart, OFS
Director of Religious Education

Forms Available for Download

Children’s Religious Education

The Religious Education office at St. Michael in Old Town remains dedicated to promoting the lifelong faith formation of its parish community. We seek to do so by creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in which our students and their families will develop a hunger and increasing desire to learn more about Jesus and the Church that He founded; remembering at all times that you, the parents and guardians of our students, are their first and best teachers and that all that we do is in support of your great mission. We remember also that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our faith and we will work to foster a spirit of worship among our families.

General Information

Religious Education classes take place every Sunday from 10;00am to 10:50am beginning in  September and ending in May, with appropriate breaks for school and liturgical events.Typically, there are 22-24 classes each year. Currently, we offer classes for students in grades 1-8, but we hope to expand to preschool and high school in the future.

Every grade level has a team of dedicated catechists who plan age appropriate activities designed to keep our students engaged with the Catechism and to help them apply it to their daily lives. Catechists receive support and training from the Religious Education office and all are required to comply with the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Protecting God’s Children Initiative.

Our students study the Finding God Update by Loyola Press. More information about our curriculum can be found here.


Registration for the 2018-19 school year is OPEN NOW, just click here to register online. If you would like to enroll and pay by cash, check, or use a payment plan, please contact Luana Lienhart, OFS, DRE.

Sacrament Preparation

We are delighted to help families with children of all ages prepare to receive their Sacraments of Initiation. At St. Michael in Old Town, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion are received in the 2nd grade; Confirmation is received in the 8th grade. Knowing that life has many circumstances that require flexibility, however, we do offer a Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program for all youth who are in grades 3-7 who wish to enroll in R.E. Classes, but are also in need of sacramental preparation. Please contact Luana, to schedule a conference to discuss RCIC if you think it will fit your family’s needs.

By Archdiocesan policy, all students receiving First Holy Communion and Confirmation will do so only after a two year preparation program.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

The Religious Education office oversees Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the 9am Mass most weeks during the school year. If you are interested in having your child participate or would like to volunteer as a leader, please email Luana Lienhart, OFS.

Becoming Catholic

Whether you are just starting to explore the Catholic faith or have been considering becoming Catholic for a while, we are here to walk with you on your journey of faith. Full initiation into the Catholic Church is constituted by participation in the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. The normative process to prepare for the reception of these Sacraments is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) – a process of spiritual and educational formation that has been handed down to us from the early Church.

Who Participates in RCIA?

Unbaptized Adults: The RCIA is primarily intended for unbaptized adults, who, upon hearing the Gospel message and receiving formation in the Christian way of life, choose to become followers of Christ by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

Adults Baptized as Christians: The RCIA process also serves adults baptized in a Christian denomination or community who are now interested in living out their Christian life in the Catholic Church. Any baptism that has been performed with water and the Trinitarian formula (invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is considered valid; therefore baptism is not repeated. Rather, we welcome these men and women into the full communion of the Catholic Church through their profession of faith and reception of the remaining sacraments of initiation: Confirmation and Eucharist.

Adults Baptized Catholic: From time to time the RCIA includes adults who were baptized in the Catholic faith, but did not grow up practicing this faith or receiving regular formation or additional sacraments. While already a part of the full communion of the Catholic Church due to their Catholic baptism, these men and women are seeking to complete their sacraments of initiation with the celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist.

What Is Involved In RCIA? When Does It Start?

RCIA is comprised of a series of stages of formation (each with a slightly different focus) that are marked by ritual steps transitioning a person from one stage to the next.

Our journey begins every fall with our first stage of formation. During this stage, we meet weekly to reflect on God’s call to us and how Jesus is at work in our lives. There is plenty of time to ask questions and discern if this is the right step for you.  

In November, we celebrate our first ritual which publicly marks our desire to officially enter formation for initiation into the Catholic Church. This ritual moves us into our second stage of formation. We reflect deeply on the Sunday scripture, and examine related Catholic beliefs, teachings, customs and traditions.

At the beginning of Lent, (the 40 days prior to Easter), we celebrate another ritual to recognize our progress of being formed in the faith and signals our readiness to begin final preparations for receiving the sacraments. This third period of formation, which coincides with the season of Lent, is more reflective and prayerful, including many special celebrations and rituals passed down from the early Church.

We celebrate the Sacraments and our full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service (after sundown on Holy Saturday—the evening before Easter Sunday)! However, this is not the end, but rather the beginning of your life as a fully initiated disciple! We continue to meet for a fourth stage of formation, gathering a few times during the Easter Season (the 50 days after Easter) to help launch us into the next step of our faith journey and the rest of our lives as Catholic disciples of Christ.

What Is The “Goal” of RCIA?

The RCIA process is all about conversion—about growth and change taking place in our hearts and minds so that we can more fully live in relationship with God and each other. It is about deepening our faith, and exploring what belief in God means for our lives and how it is reflected in our actions. The purpose of this process is not to be able to check off a class requirement or to see how much information you can learn about the Catholic Church, but rather to assist you in becoming a living, breathing, active disciple of Christ!

A Note for Those With Mixed Feelings:

We are all on a journey. Many of us come to this process with different experiences of life and faith. Your thoughts about starting this process might range from “Great! When can I start?” to “Gee, this seems like an awful lot!” Wherever you are on that spectrum, our parish is excited and open to walking with you as you discern how God might be inviting you into a deeper relationship.

If you are unsure this is the right step for you, know that we absolutely welcome folks who are still exploring. RCIA at its best helps people find their way on their spiritual journey. If in that progress you discern this isn’t the right fit for you, or not the right time, that is ok, too!

RCIA 2019-20

In the spirit of Renew My Church, the parishes of ICSJ and St. Michael in Old Town are collaborating for the 2019-20 year on their RCIA program to better serve those interested in becoming Catholic. We will meet together weekly alternating sites while sharing our catechists and resources.  

RCIA meets on Tuesday evenings, from 6:30-8:00pm at the Immaculate Conception or St. Michael Parish Centers. We welcome visitors to share in our weekly sessions.  

If you have questions or would like to learn more about RCIA please contact Luana Lienhart, OFS, Director of Religious Education.

Luana Lienhart, OFS
Director of Religious Education
St. Michael Catholict Parish in Old Town

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