ECF = Eastern Christian Formation
ECF News & Information
Classes for public school children will resume in September. Classes meet every Wednesday from 4:30 till 5:30 in the Junior High classrooms of La Salle Academy, next door to the church, during the school year. Registration for our Public School students is open NOW. Please register your child(ren) by using the above e-form or by calling the Parish Office at 570-489-2353.
Please take this obligation seriously and put your child's religious education BEFORE all other activities. ECF not only teaches our children how to become closer to God through prayer, service, and knowledge, but it also teaches them what it is like to be an Eastern Rite Catholic, and the beautiful traditions of the Byzantine Catholic Church.
Our second annual Vacation Bible School, which introduced new "Superheroes of the Bible," ran during the first week of August this year. It was warm outside but we were cool inside the air-conditioned classrooms of La Salle Academy, next door to the church. We learned about David & Goliath, Samuel, St. John the Evangelist, and Mary the Theotokos. We began each evening in prayer, praying a decade of the Rosary to our Mother. We then heard scripture read from the Bible, introducing the character for the evening. Afterwards, we learned and sang a song about that person and did crafts. We also enjoyed delicious home-baked cookies, compliments of one of our parishioners!
Classes resumed in September and we have been hard at work learning our prayers, hymns, and traditions as well as growing in our Catholic faith.
Our Christmas party was a lot of fun as we gathered around Mrs. Covaleski's piano at La Salle Academy and sang Christmas carols. We also heard the Christmas story read from Holy Scripture. Mrs. Noldy provided us with delicious pizza, and Mrs. Mancak sent treats, soda, and crafts. We also enjoyed delicious cookies and cupcakes!
We mourn the loss of our former Coordinator of Religious Education, Mrs. Helen Wartko. Mrs. Wartko dedicated many wonderful years to the education of the youth of our parish, and continued to serve as a consultant long after her retirement. May God grant her eternal rest and may her memory be eternal.
Holy Ghost Parish held its first-ever Vacation Bible School, "Superheroes of the Bible," this past August. The program, developed by our own Religious Education Coordinator, Joyce Covaleski, focused on several main characters of the Old and New Testament. Each evening began with prayer, chanted in the style of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Then, students were led through a Decade of the Rosary. A story would be read, and then references to the story written in Sacred Scripture were referenced and read. The students created a craft each evening that encompassed the theme and character of the lesson, and then enjoyed a delicious snack, also based on the theme. The Vacation Bible School was attended by over 75% of our current Religious Education enrollment, and a good time was had by all! Monsignor Sekellick also gave each participant a Rosary at the conclusion of the program!
This year, the students enjoyed learning about Noah, Jonah, Daniel, St. John the Baptist, and the Holy Family.
The beauty of this original program is that new persons and stories from the Bible can be introduced each year! The students from this year's program requested David & Golliath, Samuel, and St. John the Evangelist for next year!
The School Year began in September with a party and opening moleban, then we were hard at work! We enjoyed a few visits from Fr. Lewis (while he was still a deacon) and enjoyed his talks with us! We had great parties at Christmas and Easter, as well as at the end of the school year.
Our annual service project, collecting for the Souper Bowl of Caring on Super Bowl Sunday was successful. All donations of cash and food were given to the Bread Basket Food Bank located across the street from our church.
We would love to see more of our students attending our ECF classes and attending Divine Liturgy. We know you're out there... honestly, you will enjoy the company of other Byzantine Catholics and you'll learn a lot about our traditions and your Catholic Faith!
We started the school year off with a fabulous kick-off event on Wednesday, September 2, 2014. We met in the basement meeting room in the Rectory and had a wonderful party with a craft and treats. We then went to the church where we got to explore while we went on a Scavanger Hunt! After we each completed our list of icons and holy items, we gathered together for a moleben, a prayer service during which we asked for a wonderful school year. We are looking forward to a great year!
For Halloween, we received yummy treats from our teachers... and there were NO tricks!
As part of preparations for Christmas, we made ornaments and decorated a Jesse tree! It was a lot of fun, and we were amazed at our creativity! A Jesse tree is like an Advent calendar, but it is a Christmas tree decorated with symbols of Christianity. It is named from a line out of Isaiah:
Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots."
Our annual Christmas party was so much fun! We enjoyed Ms. Noldy's delicious pizza, followed with snacks and homemade goodies! We made a cute angel craft and we exchanged gifts and cards. We also sang Christmas carols! It was a lot of fun and a great expression of Christmas spirit! A special thank you to all of our teachers, to Msgr. Sekellick, Mrs. Mancak, and Ms. Noldy!
We were very happy to have a visit from Subdeacon Lewis Rabayda, prior to his ordination to the Deaconate. He was very kind to share how excited he was about his ordination and how special it was going to be because our Bishop, the Most Reverend Kurt Burnette, was going to be coming to Holy Ghost for the occasion. He invited all of the ECF students to attend the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 8th at 11:00 a.m., and he asked the altar servers to please serve at his Ordination. Lewis is going to be ordained a priest sometime in the near future, and he is very excited for that, as well.
Everybody was a winner in our celebration of Souper Bowl Sunday, in conjunction with the national effort of the Souper Bowl of Caring. We collected several full bags of nonperishable groceries, which were donated to the Bread Basket Food Bank across the street. This food bank provides a bag of free groceries to anyone that comes to their door. Our older students visited the food bank when we brought our donations over; the staff was very welcoming and explained to our students how the food bank helps those who are in need. They showed us a sample bag of groceries, and they showed us their shelves, which were pretty empty. They were very grateful for our donations and look forward to seeing us again! They also invited our older students who are looking for service hours, or just interested in volunteering, to come any Wednesday from 3:00 till 5:00 to help out!
We had two young men receive their First Penance and Corporate Communion this year. Congratulations and God's blessings upon Alex & Sean!
Finally, we wrapped up the year with a great party. Mrs. Covaleski talked about Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost and taught us hymns for each season. Then we made an awesome craft while we enjoyed some delicious cookies, compliments of Mrs. Mancak!
Looking toward the summer, Mrs. Covaleski reminded us about the GCU's Family Day at Knoebel's on Sunday, May 18th. She also said that we are going to have a Vacation Bible School this year, so watch for information on that!
We began our year with a fabulously fun kick-off event where we made our own yummy ice cream sundaes, and we made a great fall craft! We then went over to the church where Msgr. Sekellick gave us a "behind the scenes" tour of the church! We got to go behind the Icon Screen and up into the Choir loft, and we even peeked up the stairs to the bell towers! We explored spooky storage closets that have long been forgotten in the Choir loft, too! Then, we took part in a Moleben, a short prayer service during which we prayed for a great school year. Some of us even participated in the choir! It was a lot of fun!
The Greek Catholic Union hosted a St. Nicholas Party on December 8th, which many of us attended! The Choir of St. Cecilia from La Salle Academy provided entertainment by singing some great Christmas carols. The food was incredible, under the direction of Maria Noldy & her team of great chefs and bakers! The entire event was beautifully orchestrated by Mickey Mancak & Greg Barkowski! St. Nicholas came to visit and brought a gift and a book for each child! A wonderful time was had by all! Then, on December 18th, we had a fabulous Christmas party where we spent some fun time together, enjoying delicious goodies and making crafts.
In February, on Super Bowl Sunday, we celebrated by taking up a collection for national Souper Bowl Sunday. Every penny and every can donated was given to the Bread Basket of NEPA, our local food bank that provides food free of charge or question to local needy families.
We had a wonderfully prayerful Lent and learned about the beautiful traditions of the Byzantine Catholic Church. We had the opportunity to attend Lenten Vespers at several local Byzantine Catholic Churches, during which we were able to meet other Byzantine Catholics including clergy! We ended Lent by partipating in the processions of Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord at Pascha!
Toward the end of our school year, our second grade students received their first Penance and First Corporate Holy Communion. They were dressed so nicely; the girls wore beautiful white dresses with sparkling veils and the boy was dressed very handsomely in a dark suit. The Liturgy was beautiful and the children fully participated, prepared because of their attendance at our ECF classes. It truly is faith formation at it's best and how wonderful it was to witness this milestone in the faith formation of these children!
We closed our school year with a little party where we enjoyed each other's company and delicious sweet treats made by Miss Micki and Miss Joyce. We are hoping for a restful summer vacation, but we are looking forward to getting back together in the fall! Miss Micki "retired" after over 30 years of volunteering in our ECF program. We wish her well in her retirement, but she'll still be helping out at the GCU's St. Nick Party and the reception for our First Holy Communicants. Thank you for your many years of service, Micki!!!
The religious formation of our children is regarded as a serious responsiblity of both parents and the Church. ECF Classes are required for our parishioners who attend public school and are in grades Pre-K through 8th. Students of La Salle Academy attend Byzantine Religion classes as part of the school curriculum. As part of their religious formation, it is also expected that students will attend the Divine Liturgy every weekend with their families. Children learn by doing, and participating in our worship and in our traditions is a wonderful way to make a lasting impression on the next generation of our church. Please do not neglect this important responsibility.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, GRADES PRE-K THROUGH EIGHT takes place on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in our Holy Ghost school building (La Salle Academy) from September through May.
Students of La Salle Academy receive their Byzantine Religion classes at school as part of the curriculum and are not required to attend ECF classes on Wednesday evenings. They are required to participate in rehearsals for the Good Friday procession, First Penance, and First Holy & Corporate Communion. Notifications of these rehearsals will be sent home to the children involved.