St. Mary Student Parish (SMSP) Faith Formation Information


SMSP Faith Formation programs are at-home faith formation paired with in-person Sunday sessions (the  number of in-person sessions depends on the program). Programs offered include: Family Faith Formation, 1 st Reconciliation/1 st Communion, and Teen Confirmation.

SMSP calls on the parents to be the primary educators and role models for their children. This entails attending weekly Mass, attending in-person sessions, and nurturing their children’s Catholic faith by working together with them at home on grade-appropriate workbooks/materials.

Family Faith Formation (FFF)

Grades offered are age 3 & 4 yr. old Pre-K through 7 th grade (Pre-K will be dependent on the number of children who sign up and catechist availability)

Parents engage with their children at home on grade-specific workbooks and materials and attend monthly Family Faith Formation in-person Sunday sessions (Oct.-April). Children attend grade- specific classes led by U of M student catechists, while parents attend adult formation sessions in Newman Hall.

Note: At least one parent is required to attend the in-person Family Faith Formation sessions with their child(ren).

(We plan to have a designated play area for those siblings under age 3. If available, Teen Confirmation student volunteers will watch/play with the children during the parent sessions.)  

FFF In-person Sessions:

There will be two session time options available for PreK (3 &4 yr. old) through 7th grade (session preferences will be available on a first come first served basis).

(Note: The Teen Confirmation program is separate from FFF and meets at different times and days – see the TC description below for more info.)

  • Session 1 (8:15 am – 9:45 am) followed by 10:00 am Mass
  •  Session 2 (11:15 am – 12:45 pm) beginning with 10:00 am Mass

All families will meet in Newman Hall at the start of their assigned session. Catechists will gather the children and go together as a group to their assigned classrooms while parents will remain in Newman Hall for a parent formation session.  At the conclusion of class, children will be brought back to their parent(s) in Newman Hall.  We have scheduled the two FFF sessions around the 10 am Mass for your convenience but encourage you to attend any Sat./Sun. weekly Mass time that works for you and your family.

First Reconciliation/First Communion Sacramental Prep

First Reconciliation/First Communion Sacramental Prep at SMSP is an at-home based program where parent(s) work together with their child(ren) to complete Sacramental Prep workbooks and activities as they learn about and cultivate their understanding, according to their capacity, of the mystery of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Note: Attendance at the in-person Family Faith Formation monthly Sunday sessions is required for 1 st Reconciliation/1 st Communion Prep.

Children preparing for their 1st Reconciliation/1st Communion must be in at least 2nd grade and have completed the 1st grade SMSP faith formation program or an equivalent.

Enrollment in First Rec./First Comm. Sacramental Prep includes but is not limited to**:

  • attending the above-mentioned FFF in-person Sunday sessions
  • attending two additional parent/child Mini-Retreats
  • attending the 1st Reconciliation Service
  •  attending the 1st Communion rehearsal and Mass
  • parents working with their child(ren) on their workbooks/materials at home and turning them in for review prior to receiving the sacraments.
    *These are subject to change. 

Teen Confirmation (TC)

Teen Confirmation (a separate program from the Family Faith program) is also an at-home based program where parents and teens work together on assignments and activities.  In addition, the teens will meet in-person at SMSP (usually without parents), approximately two times per month (September – April).  The TC Sunday sessions generally meet from 3:15pm – 4:45pm. There are some exceptions.

Note: Teens preparing for Confirmation must be in at least 8th grade and must have completed the 7th grade SMSP faith formation program or an equivalent. Enrollment in Teen Confirmation includes but is not limited to*:

  • attending approximately two in-person sessions per month (September – April)
  •  attending a day long Confirmation retreat
  • selecting and spending time with a Confirmation Sponsor
  •  attending the TC Reconciliation Service
  •  attending the Confirmation Rehearsal and Mass
  • completing the TC workbook (and turning in the completed book prior to the end of the program)
  • completing additional assignments
  • completing the DOL assessment
  • completing 30 service/volunteer hours
  • completing a final Confirmation interview

**These are subject to change.

Deadline for registration: September 8, 2023
Registrations received after Sept. 8 will incur a $25.00 late fee and placement may not be available.

Note: Due to space constraints, class sizes are limited and registered St. Mary Student Parish parishioners will be given priority.

For more information and/or the registration link, please contact Karen Foster at

To Become Catholic


Each year, we guide and walk with a group of people who are thinking about becoming Catholic, and those who want to explore the faith and ask questions. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA. RCIA could be helpful if:

  • You want to join us from another faith
  • You want to be baptized in the faith
  • You are baptized Catholic, but haven’t completed Confirmation


    The important thing is to pray, and listen – to stay open to the many ways in which God may be calling to you. Here’s what our candidates from past years had to say about RCIA:

    “I expected it to be kind of intimidating and formal, but it was a great experience and I learned so much. I feel so much closer to God and to knowing about God’s love for me.”

    “I loved the idea of Catholic Social Teaching, and our call to serve others as part of a community of faith.”

    RCIA preparation is held on Wednesday nights, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, from September through Easter. The sessions follow an engaging format of prayer, scripture study, topic presentation and discussion or activity. Want more information? We are happy to meet with you personally to discuss what God might be calling you to explore.

    Contact us:
    Rita Zyber, RCIA Coordinator

    Also note: If you are a Catholic who has been away for a while and you’d like to talk about returning more fully to an active faith life, please feel free to speak with one of our priests. Sometimes a good conversation can make a difference.

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