Grow in Love
An Introduction for Priests and Parish Workers
Welcome to the Grow in Love website. We hope that this page will provide you with some information about the Grow in Love series.
Grow in Love is a new Religious Education series for Catholic primary schools. It is based on the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland. This curriculum was approved by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and was granted recognitio from the Holy See in 2015.
The Grow in Love series uses current, child-friendly methodologies to teach children Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer. It makes a real and serious effort to reach out to parents through the children’s book, every other page of which should be done by families at home.
Grow in Love also helps children to become aware that they belong to a parish family. In Junior Infants/P1, we explain that the church is the place where the family of God go to pray. From First Class/P3 on, we help the children learn about the sacraments of Reconciliation and of Holy Communion. Here, our emphasis is not on the first celebration of these sacraments, but rather on the fact that these sacrament are celerbated regularly in the parish family, and that the children are now ready to participate in them.
In order to make concrete the link between school and parish, we encourage priests and parish workers to make regular visits to classrooms in Catholic primary schools. In order to help you to do this, Grow in Love: A Guide for Priests and Parish Workers when Visiting Classrooms has been prepared. It is available from Veritas.
There are other ways in which priests and parish workers can support Religious Education in Catholic primary schools:
- Each Grow in Love programme is divided into themes. There are approximately ten themes to be completed by each class each year. Each theme ends with a prayer service. This can be led by the teacher but it can also be led by a parish representative. Chat with the classroom teacher about this possibility. The prayer service can take place in the school or in the church.
- As children learn about the church in every Grow in Love programme, there is an opportunity to bring children in every class group to the church, and to give them a tour of the church building. Again, chat with the classroom teacher to arrange such a visit. Remember to show the children the sacred vessels, vestments, etc.
- Although parental engagement is necessary at every class level, families are often most conscious of this responsibility around times of sacramental preparation. This is therefore a most opportune time to involve parents, for example in parish-based sacramental preparation programmes such as Do This In Memory. Other ideas for parishes to consider at this time include:
- Establishing a team to lead in the preparation for and celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
- Organising a meeting at the beginning of the school year for parents/guardians and school representatives.
- Writing to all parents /guardians encouraging them to participate in the Eucharist and any parish initiatives for families.
- Organising for a group to visit the homes of families whose children are preparing for First Holy Communion.
- Organising a meeting in preparation for the first celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during which the theology and spirituality of the sacrament is explained.
- Organising a meeting in preparation for the children’s first participation in Holy Communion during which the theology and spirituality of the sacrament is explained.
A final note: Some parishes also support Catholic children who attend schools other than Catholic schools by providing Religious Education classes after school hours. These classes are not confined to times of sacramental preparation, although that is often the time when parents become conscious of their desire for them. The teachers who teach these classes have heretofore developed their own resources. With the publication of the Grow in Love series, a parallel programme for Catholic students who attend schools other than Catholic schools has been developed. Those who teach these classes will need to purchase the relevant teacher’s kit from Veritas. Within that kit, there is a code for entry to the teacher’s resources pages of the Grow in Love website. Teachers will find the programme for Catholic children who attend schools other than Catholic schools in those pages.