The Interfaith Family School gives parents of interfaith families (Catholic and Jewish) a unique opportunity to become directly involved in their children’s religious education. Students from kindergarten to eighth-grade experience both Judaism and Catholicism at age-appropriate levels. Classes meet twice a month on Sunday mornings in the Frances Xavier Warde School on the campus of Old St. Patrick’s Church. For more information, please contact Erika Schechter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.731.4166.
The Interfaith Family School of Chicago was formed in 1993 by a group of seven families who met through the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group. Today the school has grown to over 70 families and over 115 children from grades K-8. Family School classes meet approximately twice a month on Sunday mornings.
The school gives interfaith parents a unique opportunity to become directly involved in their children’s religious education. The Interfaith Family School curriculum enables children to experience both Judaism and Catholicism at age-appropriate levels. The “problem” of interfaith religious formation has become, for these families, a chance to share with their children an understanding of God and what it means to share two different ways to experience God in our lives.
All classes are taught by parents on a rotating schedule, and all parents are required to teach two or three classes per year. While children are in class, parents not teaching participate in an adult education program. Some sessions feature speakers on a variety of topics; at other times the parents have a discussion related to the school itself.
“We acknowledge that both Judaism and Catholicism are meaningful ways to find God. The Family School provides an avenue for the spiritual lives of our children and to enrich the spiritual lives of our families.”
The mission of our Family Religion School is to produce a setting where, on a regular basis, we will:
- Convey to our children the stories, traditions, rituals and values of Judaism and of Catholic Christianity.
- Explore with our children the common moral code and shared heritage of our two faiths, as well as their differences, and
- Instill in our children a sense of belonging to our Jewish-Catholic community.”
The Interfaith Family School is not intended to be a family’s sole participation in religious activity. By familiarizing children with holidays and rituals, stories from our traditions, prayers, and the teachings and histories of both faiths, the Interfaith Family School classes can help to complement a family’s participation in Jewish services and/or Catholic Masses, or in more traditional forms of religious education.
In keeping with its mission statement, Old St. Pats extends a warm and welcoming presence to interfaith programs that share the mission of “Serving the life and work of the laity in the world.”
Eileen O’Farrell Smith
or visit www.theinterfaithunion.org.
The Interfaith Union is a resource center for people of all religious traditions—Christian, Jewish, Muslim and others—that provides educational support, mentoring, community and faith formation for these families and for the clergy and religious communities that serve them. Its goals include:
In the past several years, The Interfaith Union has grown to serve families in a variety of ways: Celebration of Naming & Baptism; Formation; Education; Social; Worship.
You may think to yourself, “what does this mean?” Does it apply to how long you like your eggs cooked? Maybe how long it takes to get in and out of the shower on a workday? Well, not long ago, a group of young parents decided that the name “Under Fives” defined, in part, who they were – interfaith (Catholic and Jewish) parents of children who are “under five.” HOWEVER, all agreed that it was a most crucial time to continue to explore issues of faith and family formation.
Our mission statement:
We gather once a month, from October to May, in three locations, including Old St. Pat’s. The focus of our meetings are adult discussions, with an emphasis o n topics that are important to interfaith families with young children; to arm you with information to make wise choices as your family grows together. Children are welcome too: they can stay in the room with their parents, or attend the free childcare across the hall. Again, the emphasis is on adult learning.