“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
We look to God’s Revelation in the Scriptures and Sacred Tradition as the authentic and complete source of our knowledge about God and God’s will. We recognize that spiritual growth and faith formation is a life-long journey and we take the responsibility to transmit to all peoples the truth that God has revealed. Here are some of the highlights from our faith formation program this past year:
- Fr. Ed facilitated his Catholicism classes on Wednesday nights as a way to offer our community a greater understanding of what it means to be Catholic.
- Mark Shea gave talks on Being Catholic & Incarnational Evangelization on during our Advent Day of Reflection.
- My Catholic Faith Ministries held their Annual Gift Conference at our parish.
- At our Lenten Parish Mission Fr. Norman Fischer brought us to a deeper understanding of Healing Through Witness.
- This year during Lent we began Scared Story. Sacred Story is a 40 week prayer journey based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. His spiritual disciplines invite a deep, personal relationship with Christ. Many of St. Stephen’s parishioners decided to follow Ignatius’ wisdom and engage in the Sacred Story spiritual journey in order to be transformed by Christ’s purifying forgiveness and mercy.
- This year our parish also began Dwelling Place. Dwelling Place is a prayerful, peaceful evening of total immersion in prayer every 4th Monday at 7:30pm. During this evening prayer teams are available for private prayer. It is a great way to be refreshed and soaked in God’s love and tender care.
- During our Fortnight for Freedom Celebration Fr. Gary Zender gave us a rousing sermon about standing up for religious freedoms, while Anne Marie Kelly and John Geis from Vocare spoke to us on religious freedoms and Catholics engaging in the public square .
We continue to offer weekly Bible study classes and weekly classes from returning Catholics and those seeking to enter the Church.
Children, Teens & Family Faith Formation:
- Jesus loved children, and so do we at St. Stephen the Martyr! That is reason why we started Little Saints Preschool at St. Stephen the Martyr! Our first year was a big success! Our ‘little saints’ learn together, play together, and they pray together. At Little Saints Preschool our children know that Jesus loves them very much and that they are a unique and very special person. The strong academic curriculum is used to help the children prepare for kindergarten and to know the beautiful world that God has given us.
- This was also the first year that we offered RCIA for children. The RCIA for children is a process that invites any child age 7 to 14 interested in searching the Catholic Faith to discover what the Catholic Church teaches and believes. It is open to un-baptized children, children baptized in another faith, and children who may be baptized but who have not practiced their Catholic faith regularly. Like the RCIA for adults this process is accomplished in a comfortable, friendly and informal environment designed for children.
- This year’s Vacation Bible Camp “Weird Animals” was a huge success with a greater number of campers participating than any of our previous years.
- Each year St. Stephen’s Sr. High youth are given the opportunity to put their faith into action by doing a week of service during the summer in the Yakima area. This past summer 26 teens and 6 adults from St. Stephen’s traveled to Yakima to serve those who are marginalized.
- This was the first year that our teens participated in a Steubenville Conference! The mission of the Steubenville Conferences is to invite young people into a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ through the Sacraments of the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit. This experience of Christ’s love opens their hearts to become His disciples and embrace the mission of the Catholic Church.
We continue to offer faith formation classes for children, Connections and Life-Nights for our youth, and Quest Retreats for both our Junior and Senior High teens.