Religious Education » Religious Education for Children

Religious Education for Children

Grow, Pray, Serve

Cross in sunset

Dear Ascension Families,
Welcome! Thank you for exploring our Religious Education offerings at Ascension Parish. The goal of religious education is to help parents nurture in their children a lifelong desire “to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.” (Rite of Baptism)  We support parents by creating a learning environment for children beginning at age 3 and continuing through 8th grade. Our program combines class sessions, celebrations and service in order to pass on a living faith to our children and enhance the overall spirit of the Parish community. We look forward to Growing, Praying, and Serving with you and your family.  

Our parish Faith Formation Team - including Tim Smyth, Peggy Swanson, JaneAnne Campbell and Christi Walkup - has been working hard to plan for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. While the future is always unknown, we are planning to have in-person classes for our children beginning this Fall 2021. 
Ascension offers three program options for religious instruction for children in grades PK3 through 8th to support your child’s learning style. Classes are held September - April.
Traditional Religious Education
Traditional Religious Education-(TRE) is a text-based faith formation program that uses the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies for 1st-5th grades and the Catholic Connection Handbook for 6-8th grades.  The program is designed for students to learn about our Catholic faith, teachings and traditions.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd-(CGS) is a Montessori-inspired faith formation program. Our specially trained catechists facilitate the children’s discovery of God, who is revealed to them in the church’s sacred scriptures, prayers and teachings.  The CGS program has three multi-age levels for children in grades Pre-k through 6th.     
Special Religious Education (SPRED) is a program of the Archdiocese of Chicago and is a one-on-one religious education program designed for children who have cognitive disabilities. Ascension’s SPRED program provides religious education and sacramental formation for children ages 6-10. We meet twice a month during the year from September through April. 

All ages are served through a collaborative effort of parishes. In our community St. Giles provides the program for persons 17-21; Ascension ages 6-10; St. Bernardine ages 11-16; St. Vincent Ferrer 22 and over. The goal is to provide religious development support and inclusion for special needs individuals accompanied by adult catechists for their entire life span.


Questions? – If you are interested in finding out more information about this ministry as a participant or as a catechist, please contact the RE office at 

Please call our office at 708.848.3099 for more information.
Families may register for the upcoming 2021-2022 program year beginning August 9 through August 27, 2021. View additional Registration details on our Registration webpage.
The Archdiocese of Chicago requires one year of religious instruction prior to celebrating the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. In addition to RE classes, supplementary sacramental preparation for First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation is required. If you have a 2nd or 8th grader that did not participate in Religious Education classes last year (2020/21), please contact the RE office at to discuss with our staff.      
Please consider joining us as a catechist for any of the faith formation offerings. We will provide you with training and support. In addition to your support, you will receive a 50% reduction on your tuition fees.  If interested in becoming a catechist, please reach out to Tim Smyth at
The Faith Formation Team of Ascension Parish
Tim Smyth, Peggy Swanson, JaneAnne Campbell and Christi Walkup