13 March 2010

Religious Education in the Archdiocese

13 March 2010 -Dagupan City. In a letter addressed to all the Directors of the Archdiocesan Schools, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD, laid out the policies that will guide every Catholic School become a school of holistic evangelization. The new guidelines and policies are to be implemented in all the schools under the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. Below is the letter:

Prot. 2010/2/Schools

Dear Father Director:

In pursuit of our mission to make every Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan a school for holistic evangelization; in our desire to truly live up to our self imposed commitment to make Catholic religious education the core of our school curriculum, the following academic policies must be implemented in all the Archdiocesan School of Lingayen Dagupan:

1. All students (pre-elementary, elementary and high school) must receive at least one hundred eighty hours (180 hours) of Religious Education every week using a CBCP approved religious education textbook series. These academic hours allotted for Religious Education are distinct and separate from the Values Education requirements of the Department of Education. The school directors must insure that the teachers for Religious Education are adequately prepared and regularly supervised.

2. All students of our archdiocesan schools—including the non-Catholics–must attend Religious Education classes. The grades in the Religious Education classes must be included in the computation of the general average grade at the end of the school year. A student who fails in any Religious Education subject in the course of the academic year is disqualified from receiving academic honors for that year.

3. Every school must have a First Communion catechetical program for all pupils in Grade II. It is not pastorally sound to delay this sacramental event to a later year as indicated by recent instructions from the Holy See. The schools must also make available a Confirmation Program for all Grade VI pupils. In high school, a special Confirmation Program may be made available for First Year students especially for the transferees. For both events, it is advisable for the students to wear the school uniform in order to avoid added expenses. There should be no additional school fees connected with these sacramental occasions.

4. The School Director must hold monthly adult religious formation sessions for all the teachers in our Catholic schools. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Catechism for Filipino Catholics may be used for these sessions. The Superintendent is mandated to monitor the implementation of this catechetical program for teachers.

5. The School Principal is to be directed to schedule the Religious Education classes at the time of the day when students are most attentive and receptive. Religious Education must be given priority quality time.

6. The rosary is to be prayed daily in the classroom at the beginning of the class day. The Angelus at twelve noon and the Divine Mercy Prayer at three o’clock in the afternoon must also be prayed in the school campus during class days.

7. In collaboration with the parish priest, all students and teachers must be able to make a sacramental confession at least once a year.

8. All students and teachers must carry a rosary in the pocket everyday as a devotional practice.

9. All students and teachers must participate in the Sunday Eucharist. The Director, in collaboration with the parish priest must insure that one Mass within the Sunday schedule is identified as a Mass for Catholic school students and teachers.

10. Religious core values must be integrated in the lesson planning for mathematics, science, language, etc.

The Church has schools because the Church’s mission primarily is to teach. The world does not listen to teachers anymore but to living witnesses. May every school director, administrator, teacher and pupil in our schools be proofs of the presence of Christ in society. May all our schools become beacons of light showing forth that Christ truly lives among His people.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, March 5, 2010

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan