Our Background

A Letter From Our Director of Religious Formation

Dear Parish Families,

We welcome you to the Faith Formation – Core Lesson Process at Saint Bernard Parish Family.  The passing on of faith is the responsibility of every baptized person.  Passing on faith happens naturally in the homes, schools and work places where children and youth see you interact with others.  Formal learning can and does take place at Mass and in the religious education format.  We welcome all to this process.

As adults, we know that we cannot pass on to our children a knowledge of our faith unless we are willing to learn with them.  The best place to learn as an adult is with your child(ren) and you are encouraged to attend and participate at Saint Bernard.  When teaching a small group of children or youth, you will see faith come alive.

We are happy and feel privileged to assist you in the awesome task of religious formation of your children.  We are thankful for our dedicated volunteers, who make the program a success.  Together with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can do great things with the youth and children of our parish family.

We strongly believe that each child is entitled to an on-going education process.  When you brought your child(ren) to baptism you started the process.  A formal program begins in 1st grade and is a life-long process.  It must be understood and conveyed to the youth that faith does not stop at Confirmation.  Rather this is a life journey where one comes to meet God in His time.  Our hope is that through a formal program, skills will be taught along with the history and traditions of the Catholic Church.

A question that you can reflect on with your family is “Why is attending Mass and Religious Formation important to our family?”.  This answer will help to set the attitude for the years ahead.  Children look to their parents and guardians for guidance and affirmation.  What you do does matter!  Attending religion classes without participating at Sunday Mass does not help you or your child(ren) grow in their faith development.  (It would be like teaching your children to swim and never letting them go in the water.)  We look at the Eucharist as the source of our life.  It is where we, as Catholics, find support and nourishment for our faith journey.  Please plan to participate weekly with your child(ren) at Mass.  It is really their right and your responsibility, as you promised God on the day of their baptism.  In turn, we, as community, promised to help you. So, when you need any assistance, please come to us.

Geri Nehls
Director of Religious Formation


A Letter From Our Religious Formation Commission

The purpose of the Religious Commission is to further the teaching mission of the Church within the parish and local community.  It acts as an advisory body to the educational leaders in the parish by providing direction, formulating policies, developing goals and giving support for recruitment.

The Parish Director of Religious Formation and the Youth Coordinator are essential resource persons assisting the Commission in fulfilling its purpose with the implementation of goals, and the writing of regulations which flow from the policies.

The key of the Church in any age is to preach the Word; to proclaim Jesus Christ, present and active, in a way that is adapted to the culture and the times.  The Director of Religious Formation/Coordinator of Religious Education share this responsibility with the Commission and the teaching staff.  They have chosen to minister to their family in an educational setting; together we strive to assist our brothers and sisters in their journey of faith.


Environment Policy Required by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People Purpose

In an effort to establish safe environments for children and young adults within our parish, all volunteers are required to go through the education and awareness program developed by Virtus.

Through this education and awareness program, the Diocese of Madison seeks to provide educational sessions that train clergy, staff, volunteers, parents and all parishioners to establish safe environments for children and youth that will prevent abuse.

All volunteers are required to attend one 2-hour session “Protecting God’s Children.”  All parents and parishioners are encouraged to attend.  The sessions are free.  The eastside parishes are working together to offer many options for dates and times for these sessions.  Check the bulletin/newsletter for dates for training sessions.  Pre-registration on-line for these sessions is required.  Instructions for registering on-line are available in the Parish Office.  If you do not have e-mail or internet access, you may register through the Parish Office.

In addition, the Charter also requires that each diocese/parish provide programs for parents and guardians to establish guidelines and principles to assist them in their roles as the primary educators in the areas of morals, values and human sexuality and in ensuring their children’s safety, especially safety from sexual abuse.  The Diocese of Madison has contracted with Virtus to use their recently developed program “Protecting God’s Children – Teaching Touch Safety Program for Parents, Guardians and Caring Adults.”  All parishes are required to provide these sessions for parents to attend.

Lastly, the Charter mandates that each diocese “provide education and training” for children and youth about “ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children.”  A curriculum has been designed to provide not only the how of personal safety but also the why.  The age appropriate lessons aim to provide young people with the tools to protect them and to resist the advances of those individuals who do not respect their personal value and who may intend to do them harm.

The lessons also seek to educate them about their God-given value and the need to respect others.  Recognizing that the parents are the primary educators of their children, these lessons are intended to supplement lessons by the parents, as required by the Diocese of Madison.