Going virtual to keep everyone safe
St. Emily and St. Thomas Becket Parishes
July 21, 2020
Dear Families,

Cardinal Cupich Message for Religious Education Participants
Cardinal Cupich Message for
Religious Education Participants
In my last communication, I mentioned the options we were considering as we developed the safest and most productive way to work with your child in the coming fall semester.


In the last few days, it has been clear to us that going online in virtual classrooms is our best alternative.


This decision was made with the following elements in mind.

  • The Archdiocese is limiting on site meetings for Religious Education to one per month.  The reason for this is that while students may be in school every day, they will be in a cohort for infection control purposes.  We will be mixing together many cohorts and this exposure should be limited.
  • Staying healthy is a primary goal.  We have catechists, students, and members of families in vulnerable populations. Meeting on site could endanger them.
  • In addition, school itself will be much different this year.  According to CDC guidelines, with masks, social distancing, only easy-to-disinfect items permitted in classrooms, with less movement and freedom than our children are used to, they will have to adjust to a new style of education.  We began to realize that we could provide much more engaging lessons at home and with families than we can if we use classrooms.
  • Kids are resilient.  I was so impressed by our First Communicants this last week.  They were champs when it came to social distance, keeping their masks on, and not socializing. I am confident that they will also be able to adjust well to our new online version of Religious Education.
Of course, if infection levels drop considerably or when there is an effective treatment or a vaccine, and it is safe again, we will return to the classrooms.

What will our new program look like?

  • Your child will have a physical book and have a Bible available (depending on grade level.)
  • There will be a focused lesson plan each class session.  Our goal is that families will see consistency in the delivery platform and the expectations for each lesson. Each lesson will consist of 
    • Via Zoom, meditative prayer done together.  (Families can join in!)
    • Input and discussion for 15 to 25 minutes depending on grade level.
    • Engagement activity done in the home.  Parents might need to be available for coaching or supervision.
    • Accountability / Assessment - Students will show their work, and ask their questions via Flipgrid or a typed form.
  • If you signed up for the homeschool option, it will be folded into this model for the fall semester.
  • Not all instruction will take place on Wednesday at 6:15 PM, since there are multi-child families, and space / devices might need to be shared.  We'll figure out a schedule in the next weeks.
For some of you, this decision will be a relief.  For others of you, it might be a disappointment.  Be assured that it was made with the goals in mind of providing the best option we can to help your child grow in the faith, partner with you in the family in this endeavor, and keep everyone safe until we get that vaccine.

If you have questions or concerns, please let me know.  We are all in dialogue and finding the answers as we look for them.

massesPlease remember that you can now attend Sunday mass at both parishes.  You need to sign up ahead of time, as spaces are limited, and we need to keep track of attendees for 14 days.  For St. Thomas Becket,  sign up here.  For St. Emily,  sign up here.

The dispensation from attending Sunday mass is still in effect, and you may still watch the livestream masses on Facebook and YouTube.

Some of those who must take extra care with infection precautions have chosen to attend a week day mass, where there are many less people.  You can sign up for those with your parish, as well.

I would also invite you to  pray for our First Communicants, most of whom will be receiving the Eucharist during this month of July.   Pray also for our confirmandi, who will be confirmed at masses in October.

Please stay healthy, wear your masks and wash your hands! 

School Supplies for Religious Ed
What students need to have ready

It is recommended that students have a specific backpack or book bag that they use just for Religious Ed.

First Year through Third Grade
Fourth through 
Eighth Grades
1 two-pocket folder
1 box of 24 crayons
2-3 pencils with erasers
1 box of washable markers
1 glue stick
Blunt scissors
Pack of 9 x 11 construction paper
1 two-pocket folder
2-3 pens
2-3 pencils with erasers
1-2 highlighters
1 box of washable markers
1 pack of 3 inch post its
1 spiral notebook
1 glue stick
1 pair scissors
Pack of 9 x 11 construction paper

(Students in grades 5 through 8 are using the Breakthrough Bible. Replacement Bibles can be purchased from the RE office. )

Fourth grade students will receive their Bibles at the beginning of the year.
Quick Links
St. Emily Parish
Catherine Crino, DRE
St. Thomas Becket Parish
Renata Sosin, CRE