Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I am pleased to speak with you about our new diocesan Student Assessments for parish religious education programs (PREP), which will begin this year.
You may recall that one of my four priorities for the future of the Diocese of Wilmington is the “Renewal of Catechesis.” Several initiatives have been undertaken by our Office for Religious Education to support this priority. One particular initiative is the development of student assessments and it represents a specific recommendation from my advisory commission that focused on the Renewal of Catechesis.
As a diocese we want to ensure to the best of our abilities that the children in our PREP programs learn specific aspects and tenets of the Catholic faith in their overall religious education instruction. The assessments are one way to determine what and how much students in religious education have learned in a given year.
It is my hope that the assessments will establish a foundation to involve parents more than ever in their children’s catechetical learning. The assessments will be done toward the end of the PREP season. Students will be asked to review their results with their parents, with the goal of reinforcing what they have learned, while also creating additional discussion about their faith. With this enhanced foundation, I sincerely trust that religious education will not simply stop at the end of the PREP year. The results will then be shared with the next year’s catechists, helping them to prepare their classes with knowledge about how their new students performed in their prior grade.
Our children are assessed in virtually everything they do, including sports activities. As such, the assessments should be viewed only in a positive manner. They are merely one dimension of a holistic catechesis. Over time, our hope is that students will develop a greater sense of confidence and understanding about their Catholic faith.
For those who may have additional questions about the assessments in your parish program, please see your parish catechetical leader.
“Catechesis is a pivotal dimension of the church’s pastoral activity and a significant element in all the church does to hand on the faith” (Nations Directory for Catechesis, 19. C). All of us share in this pastoral activity: parents, family, catechists, clergy and religious. I pray that we all will do our part to hand on our Catholic faith with joy, hope and love. Please accept my thanks for all that you do in your own way to help pass on our Catholic faith.
May God bless you.
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington