St. Elizabeth Seton Religious Education Parent Handbook

Welcome to Saint Elizabeth Seton’s Religious Education program! We feel privileged to share with you the awesome work of forming your children in our Catholic faith. We hope that this Parent Handbook will be a helpful guide. The Religious Education staff is here to serve you. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

After many years of service to our church community as director of our Faith Formation Program, Stacy Henkelman is stepping down to focus on other volunteering opportunities. Sarah Clayton and Jen Dowler will be stepping in to help run the program.

Contact Information

Sarah Clayton

Jen Dowler (515) 505-9794

Office Phone: (515) 989-0659

Office Hours: Wed 7:00-9:00 pm, Sundays 10:00 am-11:30 am

2566 Scotch Ridge Rd, Carlisle, IA 50047 PO Box 35

Enrollment & Attendance

To enroll children in St. Elizabeth Seton’s Faith Formation Program, families must be registered members of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and baptized. Please see the Faith Formation Coordinators for parish registration papers or complete the online registration form. Please contact the Faith Formation Coordinators if you are not a member yet and or need to discuss baptism.

Children will be placed in the same grade level in the Faith Formation (FF) program as he/she is placed in school. Exceptions to this rule are if the child has skipped ahead in grade level in school, or if a child is new to the FF program with no previous classes. So much is learned each year here at St. Elizabeth that each and every grade is so important to your child’s learning and growing in their Catholic Faith. St. Elizabeth’s Faith Formation program is here to meet your child where they are in their faith journey and help them grow. It will be up to the parent to collaborate with the catechist and /or FF coordinators about what needs to be done to assist your child on their faith journey.

Children are expected to be in class and to make attendance a top priority. Again, only through attendance and class participation do children achieve the full benefits of the FF program. Every child is expected to faithfully participate in each grade. Our program is designed to build on and deepen the teachings of the previous grade. Learning lost due to an absence can never be replaced. This is especially true in the sacramental classes. So much is covered that it is imperative that attendance is top priority. Through regular attendance, children are better prepared to receive their sacred sacraments.

Required attendance is 90%. Family emergencies and illness can not be avoided and are labeled as excused absences, Also, children of divorce when the child is away and not able to come to class is considered an excused absence, missed classwork, in this case, will be made up. Parents are to notify the FF coordinators by calling the office at (515) 989-0659 to report any absence or if a child needs to leave class early for such reasons. Unexcused absences will be made up and assigned by that child’s catechist. This outside work will be handed into the child’s catechist by the next class meeting. Another requirement is good attendance for the year prior to and the year of a sacrament, unless a child participates in a special sacramental process.

The Role of Parents

At their child’s Baptism, parents undertake the responsibility of providing for their child’s Christian formation. By word and example, parents teach their children-from birth and throughout life. Our Faith Formation program exists to assist parents in that task. Although each of our catechists works diligently to help children grow deeper in faith, the parents’ role in the faith formation of their child is absolutely essential.

  • Help your child grow in understanding by talking about what he/she learned in Religious Education.
  • Teach your children to pray by spending some time in prayer with them each night.
  • Bring your children to Mass every Sunday and do your best to help them understand and appreciate its importance.
  • Prepare for Sunday Mass by reading the Sunday readings with your family sometime during the week . The text of the Sunday readings is available online at
  • Provide a good Christian example for your children by continually striving to live your life according to the Gospel.

What We Expect of Parents

  • Our Catechists take weekly attendance. Please make sure you are getting your children to class. Just as it is important to attend any other sports practices to be good at their sport, it is also very important to attend Faith Formation classes ro grow in their faith and Catholic knowledge.
  • Communicate with the Faith Formation office regarding any special needs and about any upcoming absences.
  • Be active in your child’s learning.
  • Attend and participate in Sunday and Holy Day liturgies with your child.
  • Be an example of faith to inspire your child.
  • Assist the Religious Education program by volunteering your time and talents.

Emergency and Custodial / Non-Custodial Parent Information

In the event of a weather emergency during class, such as a tornado, children will be taken by their catechist to the church into an interior room. Parents will be notified once the situation is safe to make those calls. In case of fire, the children will be taken to either the North or South parking lot (depending on which building the children are in) by their catechist. Parents again will be notified when the situation is safe to make those calls. Both emergency plans are clearly posted in each classroom on the door. In order to make these calls, it is the parent’s responsibility to always make sure that the church has current emergency contact phone numbers. It will also be the parent’s responsibility to notify St. Elizabeth of any address changes. This can be done by calling the office at (515) 989-0659 with that information.

The computer program (Connect Now) that St. Elizabeth uses to deliver information is capable of only sending information to the Primary parent listed for the child. Non-custodial parents (or Secondary Parents) of FF children will be responsible for contacting the church with their current phone number and address in order to receive periodic information that is sent out.

Tuition and Fees – 2022-2023

1 child- $75

2 or more children – $150

Catechist fee: FREE

Fees are due prior to the start of the first class period to the office at:

St. Elizabeth Seton, 2566 Scotch Ridge Rd, PO Box 35, Carlisle, IA 50047

A $5 / month late fee will be added until paid in full without a payment plan.

Anyone in need of a payment plan or assistance is asked to make arrangements with the FF coordinator prior to the first class period. As of September 2020, ALL REGISTRATION FEES FOR FAITH FORMATION WILL BE PAID ONLINE THROUGH OUR PARISH WEBSITE. GO TO THE “GIVING” TAB ON THE WEBSITE TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE PAYMENT.

Class times

FF classes are held every year the first Sunday after labor Day through April. Sunday classes (grades K-4) begin after mass from 10:00-11:30. NO CLASSES WILL BE HELD THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH.

Wednesday classes (grades 5-10) are held from 7:00-8:15.

Weather Related Cancellation

It is the parent’s responsibility to sign up for the Remind Text Service under the FF coordinator as this will be the “go-to” for this and many other important messages. FF will follow the Carlisle Community School District as far as Wednesday night classes go. If the school district has no school or an early out, then there will be no FF classes. If the weather turns after Carlisle School dismisses, a Remind Text will be sent out as well as posted on the local TV stations. Again, Remind Text will be the “go-to” service for communication. To sign up for the Remind Text, text the message: @stlizzy to the number 81010.


Parents assume responsibility for the supervision and transportation for their children to and from FF classes, including immediately following dismissal.

No child can be permitted to participate in any off-site activity unless the required emergency form/ permission form has been completed by the parent or guardian and is on file at the parish. Off-site activities have adult chaperones present on a one to eight ratio.

Sunday morning children will meet after mass in the front row pews next to the organ with their classmates. The catechist will walk with them to their classroom. If a parent will be dropping off a Sunday morning child, that parent will be required to walk their child into their classroom. Too many times a K-4 child has been dropped off on a Coffee Sunday (first Sunday of the month). Again, there is no class scheduled on this day and possibly no catechist or FF coordinator available to get in touch with parents to come back back to pick them up. Do not leave your child until you leave them inside their classroom with their catechist.

Sunday pick up will be at the NEW CHURCH ENTRANCE. Parents are to come inside the hall to pick up their child. After Christmas Break, pick up will be at their classroom door. We do not have a “pick up lane” and the parking lot is too dangerous with cars coming in and out for these young kids to not be escorted by a parent.

Wednesday night students can be dropped off and picked up ON THE SIDEWALK in front of their classroom building from the new church entrance. Parents are asked to pull into a parking spot or along the sidewalk before their child is to approach the vehicle to avoid any accidents. This is so important due to the darkness of our parking lot. The sidewalk areas in front of the classroom buildings are the best lit areas.

Catechists /Volunteering

Catholic Catechist: “The role of a Catholic Catechist is to catechize (teach) the faith of the Catholic church by both word and example.” (Wikipedia)

St. Elizabeth’s Faith Formation program is and has been a valued asset to our parish due to our faithful and dedicated volunteer catechists. St. Elizabeth just would not be able to offer this valuable service without them. Catechist and volunteer opportunities are always available to anyone. If you are interested in volunteering, please notify the Faith Formation Coordinators. Catechists are offered FREE TUITION FOR THEIR CHILDREN.

Each Sunday class will have an adult catechist assisted by another volunteer. Wednesday classes will have an adult catechist. Depending on class size, need, or availability of volunteers, there may or may not be an assistant volunteer. It may be necessary then to implement a parent rotation to assist a class as needed.

Substitute catechists are also very much needed and appreciated. Substitute catechists must be available to teach when needed for a catechist that may be sick or out due to a family emergency or obligation. Substitute catechists are awarded half-price fees for Faith Formation for their children for their service and willingness to be “on-call”.

Special Program Features

St. Elizabeth’s Faith Formation program offers many opportunities for its students and their families to grow in their faith. During the FF year, each class grades 5-9 will have a service opportunity to assist with Coffee Sunday needs or the Knight’s of Columbus pancake breakfasts. That information will be on the FF calendar showing which class assists on which Sunday.

Second graders celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

Tenth graders celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.

Social justice activities are sponsored throughout the FF program. Every year, the FF students and their families help local shelters without St. Vincent DePaul group. Sack lunches are packed for shelters, Thanksgiving dinner groceries are boxed, and Christmas gifts and food are donated and packaged for local families asking for assistance during the holidays. The Confirmation class sponsors and makes two dinners a year for the St. Joseph’s family shelter as well. Sunday students before Easter make cards for the Carlisle Care Center residents.

Summer camps and retreats are available and encouraged through Diocesan programs. The St. Thomas More Center in Panora, IA hosts CYC (Catholic Youth Camp) which is a summer camp offered to children in grades 3-12. DCYC (Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference) is located in Des Moines and offered to children in grades 6-12. It is a one day retreat with separate tracks for middle and high school students that explores and celebrates the Catholic faith. The Bishop is there to speak and celebrate mass with the kids.

Related Opportunities

Sacramental preparation and celebration is offered to children at 2nd and 10th grade. A special process has been designed to provide preparation for families and children who were unable to celebrate initiation sacraments (Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation) at those grade levels. This process is open to all ages. The parish contact person for this is the FF coordinators who will then get you in contact with the Parish Minister in charge of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process.


First Reconciliation

-Baptism is a prerequisite for the reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Students must be in the 2nd grade. Parents and guardians must be registered and active members in the parish. Students must attend the required FF classes and complete any preparations assigned. Parents must have a registered copy of the student’s Baptismal record on file in the parish’s office. (This must be obtained from the office of the parish in which the child was baptized. IT IS NOT THE BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE and will not be accepted. Baptismal records are kept at the parish of one’s baptism and it is this record that we are interested in).

First Communion

Baptism and First Reconciliation are prerequisites for First Communion. Parents and guardians must be registered and active members in the parish. Students must attend the required FF classes and complete any preparation assigned. If new to the parish, a copy of the student’s records must be on file in the parish office.


Baptism, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion are prerequisites for Confirmation. Parents and guardians must be registered and active members in the parish. Students must attend the required FF classes and complete any preparations assigned. If new to the parish, a copy of the student’s records must be on file in the parish office. As per diocesan norms, the student must have at least two years of formal FF in the parish specific to Confirmation prior to the celebration of the sacrament.



St. Elizabeth Seton FF uses books from : Sadlier, Ascension Press, and

Classroom Behavior

Students and parents are required to read and agree to the following. behavior requirements.

I will : Be respectful of others.

I will: Treat others as I wish to be treated.

I will not: Harass or threaten other students or adults.

I will not: Use offensive language or actions.

I will: Be respectful of authority.

I will: Follow the directions of my teachers.

I will: Respect the right of the teacher to teach without disruptive behavior.

Behavior Consequences

A letter sent to parent(s)/guardians with a description of the inappropriate or disruptive behavior.

Parent(s) / guardians may be contacted by the parish priest.

Students may be asked to leave the Faith Formation program if the behavior problem continues and every effort has been made to correct the situation.

Faith Formation Staff

Pastor: Rev. Nick Stark

Faith Formation Coordinator: Sarah Clayton

Assistant Faith Formation Coordinator: Jen Dowler

Music Leader: Lisa Rosch


Kindergarten: Katrina Dowler and Audra Dowler

First Grade: Patty Bucklin and Michelle Fournier

Second Grade: Kevin Sinclair (with Jackson and Abby Barry)

Third Grade: Amanda Christensen-Hildreth and Nancy Judge

Fourth grade: Jen Dowler

Fifth grade: Jody Mohwinkle and Katie Egan

Sixth grade: Melissa Septer and Katie Schnoor

Seventh grade: Jerrod Kliegl and Brooke Campbell

Eighth grade: Krystal Maher and Theresa Mast

Ninth grade: Lori Malek

Tenth grade: Dick Harmon

Parent Board of Education

Father Nick Stark

Sarah Clayton

Jen Dowler

Jenny Sinclair

Jerrod Kliegl

Leslie Becker

Leah Heidemann

Jill Roling

Katie Schnoor

Tony Smith

Becky Petersen

Melissa Septer