Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to a new year of Religious Education at St. Helena. Whether you are a returning family or brand new to our program, we are so glad you will be joining us this year! I hope you all had a restful and relaxing summer.

This handbook will help familiarize you with the various elements of our program, such as our philosophy, policies, procedures, stewardship, and prayers required at each level.  These elements are designed to meet both the spiritual and physical well-being of your children.

As we enter into our new year, I would like to express my gratitude to the dedicated men and women who have answered God’s call to share their faith with the youth of this parish. Truly, I am elated by the gifts and talent which they bring to our program. I am confident that your children will benefit richly from the Catechists with whom they will journey in faith. These men and women create and administer the program, while providing Sacramental preparation for Eucharist, First Reconciliation, and Confirmation, and for this I am grateful.

Thanks to Monsignor Nicolo for all he does to provide a solid Catholic education for our children. We are truly blessed for all we have at Saint Helena.

Feel free to stop in the PREP office Tuesday evenings between 6 and 8 PM. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 610-277-3573 after 7 PM any evening.

Thank you and God bless our parish families.

Madeleine Fitzgerald

PREP Office 610-279 -3870



In keeping with our parish mission, the Saint Helena Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) strives to convey the four fold dimension of Christian education:

Message:     Teaching sound doctrine in a language and manner appropriate to the student’s level of understanding.

Worship:     Developing within each student a personal relationship with God through prayer, devotions, and the celebration of the sacrament.

Community:     Experiencing personal relationships of friendship, trust, and love within the family, the classroom, and the parish.

Service:     Translating what is believed in the mind and felt in the heart into opportunities to serve those in need.


The safety of all our children attending religious education classes at St. Helena’s is of the utmost concern to us.  It is for these reasons we ask you, the parent or guardian, to adhere to the following guidelines.

Parents and guardians entering St. Helena’s are asked to not go to your child’s classroom.  Access to these areas is not permitted unless you have spoken to Madeleine Fitzgerald or a parent volunteer in the school.  If you feel your child needs to be escorted to his/her classroom, a volunteer will be available to help.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to volunteer as “hall monitors”.  If you are interested, please see Madeleine Fitzgerald.


Tuition is $150.00 for St. Helena’s parish children.    First time attendees at St. Helena’s Religious Education Program are to pay tuition at registration.  A late fee of $25.00 will be charged after the last registration date.


Skipping levels is not permitted.  PREP students are required to complete levels one through six  It is the goal of PREP that each student completes the program with a solid foundation of their Catholic faith.  In order to achieve this goal, it is essential for each student to complete the required levels.

Classes begin promptly at 6:30 PM and dismissal is at 8:00 PM.  In order to derive maximum benefit from classroom activities and formal instruction, students should be punctual and have consistent attendance.  We ask you to help your children arrange their extracurricular activities around instructional time scheduled for the Parish Religious Education Program.


If your child is absent from class, a note must be brought in so that we may record the reason for absence.  Children are not permitted more than three absences during the school year.  Absences could result in your child repeating the grade.


Children should not arrive before 6:15 pm.  There is no supervision in the building before this time.  Please walk your child to the building.  Do not drop your child off in the parking lot.  We realize that this may be an inconvenience to some, but it is necessary to ensure your children arrive safely.  It is also for this reason that access to the street in front of the school is blocked off to traffic.  Classes begin promptly at 6:30 PM.


Children are dismissed at 8 PM.  Teachers will walk the children outside.  You may pick up your child and the children you carpool from the line.  No child will be permitted to leave the parking lot without an adult.  Older siblings in the religious education program are not permitted to accompany younger children to your car.  If you arrive early for general dismissal, we ask that you please wait outside the school until the children are dismissed.  Waiting in the vestibule causes congestion and may delay dismissal.

Early Dismissal

If your child has to leave early, a parent or guardian must see Mrs. Fitzgerald before class or a note must be sent in with your child.  We will need to see your licence before you take your child from school.   Your child will be escorted by a volunteer to the school entrance to be picked up.  We have to use this security measure since we are not familiar with every family.

Your child will be sent to the PREP office and Mrs. Fitzgerald will call home if he or she is sick.  The call can not be made from a cell phone inside the classroom.  A parent or guardian must come into the building to pick up the student and provide a photo ID in order to have the student released.

Late Arrivals

Classes begin promptly at 6:30 PM.  Children should be in their classrooms seated and ready to begin class at this time.  Doors are locked at 6:45 PM for security purposes.  If a child is late for class, the parent is not permitted to accompany the child to his or her classroom.  You must see Mrs. Fitzgerald or a volunteer to have your child escorted to class.

Class Cancellations

In the event the WissahickonSchool District (#314) cancels schools or dismisses early due to inclement weather, religious education classes for that night will be automatically cancelled.  Children from other school districts should listen to KYW News Radio 1060 for our school to be announced as St. Helena’s Religious Education Program.


Thorough communication between parents/guardians and the religious education teachers are extremely important if the objectives of the religious education program are to be met.  Avenues of communication used to inform parents/guardians of major happenings may take one of the following forms: informational meetings; notice sent home with student; email to the parent/guardian; or notice in the church bulletin.

Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to check their child’s religious education folder weekly for notices of importance and to read the church bulletin each week.  Occasionally, a teacher may feel it necessary to contact a parent/guardian regarding a child’s progress in class (e.g. homework, behavior, class participation).  In these cases, Mrs. Fitzgerald will be consulted before a parent/guardian is contacted.  Teacher-parent/guardian communication is encouraged to resolve troublesome issues, and teachers have been encouraged to involve parents/guardians at the earliest sign of a problem.


Good conduct is expected from every child attending our religious education program.  Disruption is class is unfair to both the teacher and the rest of the class.  Serious breaches of discipline, such as constant interruption of the class, destruction of property, insubordination, etc., are cause for a child to be dismissed from class and sent to Mrs. Fitzgerald.  When it becomes necessary, and only after consultation with the teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald will request a meeting with child’s parent or guardian before the child is permitted to return to class.


At the beginning of the school year, each child receives a textbook and folder.  Children should be encouraged to take proper care of these items.  A replacement fee of $20.00 will be charged for lost textbooks.  If available, replacement folders may be purchased from Mrs. Fitzgerald for $0.50.  Pencils, crayons, and markers are the responsibility of each child.

Prayers and Memory Work by Grade Level

Level 1

  • Sign of the cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Meal Prayers
  • Spontaneous Prayer
  • Responses at Mass
  • Genuflection

Level 2

  • Sign of the cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Act of Contrition
  • Meal Prayers
  • Spontaneous Prayer
  • Responses at Mass
  • Genuflection
  • Marks of the Church
  • Seven Sacraments
  • Great Commandment

Level 3

  • Sign of the cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Act of Contrition
  • Apostle’s Creed
  • Meal Prayers
  • Spontaneous Prayer
  • Responses at Mass
  • Genuflection
  • Marks of the Church
  • Seven Sacraments
  • Great Commandment
  • Ten Commandments
  • Corporal Works of Mercy
  • Spiritual Works of Mercy

Level 4

  • Sign of the cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Act of Contrition
  • Apostle’s Creed
  • Meal Prayers
  • Spontaneous Prayer
  • Laws (Precepts of the Church)
  • Holy Days of Obligation

Levels 5 and 6

  • Sign of the cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Act of Contrition
  • Apostle’s Creed
  • Meal Prayers
  • Spontaneous Prayer
  • Responses at Mass
  • Genuflection
  • Marks of the Church
  • Seven Sacraments
  • Great Commandment
  • Ten Commandments
  • Corporal Works of Mercy
  • Spiritual Works of Mercy
  • Beatitudes
  • Gifts of the Spirit

Prayers of the Church

Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!  Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Act of Contrition (Primary Grades)

O my God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.  In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good.  I have sinned against You Whom I should love above all things.  I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.  Our Savor Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.  In His name, my God, have mercy.  Amen.

Act of Contrition (Junior and Senior High)

My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.  I detest all my sins because they offend Thee, My God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.  Amen.

The Ten Commandments

1.   I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery.  Worship no god except Me.

2.   You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

3.   Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

4.   Honor your mother and father.

5.   You shall not kill.

6.   You shall not commit adultery.

7.   You shall not steal.

8.   You shall not tell lies against your neighbor.

9.   You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or husband.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry.

Give drink to the thirsty.

Clothe the naked.

Help those imprisoned.

Shelter the homeless.

Care for the sick.

Bury the dead.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Share knowledge with others.

Give advice to those who need it.

Comfort those who suffer.

Be patient with others.

Forgive those who hurt us.

Give correction to those who need it.

Pray for the living and the dead.

The Beatitudes

Happy are those who are poor in spirit; the kingdom of God belongs to them.

Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them.

Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised.

Happy are those who do what God wants; God will satisfy they fully.

Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will have mercy on them.

Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God.

Happy are those who work for peace; they will be called children of God.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God wants; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended to the dead.  On the third day, He rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

The Mark’s of the Church

One-Our Church is one in Jesus.  We are united in faith and love.  We are to be signs of God’s kingdom of love.

Holy-Our Church is holy in Jesus.  We are holy because we share in God’s life.  We try to love as Jesus did.

Catholic-Our Church is catholic in Jesus.  Jesus’ message is for all people.  Our community must invite everyone to belong, as Jesus did.

Apostolic-Our Church is apostolic in Jesus.  It shows it is faithful to the mission given to the apostles.  Our pope and bishops carry on the work of the apostles.

Seven Sacraments

Sacraments of Initiation

  1. Baptism
  2. Eucharist
  3. Confirmation

Sacraments of Healing

  1. Reconciliation
  2. Anointing of the Sick

Sacraments of Service

  1. Holy Orders
  2. Matrimony

Great Commandment (Law of Love)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.

The Laws (Precepts) of the Church

  1. Celebrate Christ’s resurrection every Sunday (or Saturday evening) and on Holy Days of Obligation by taking part in Mass and by avoiding unnecessary work.
  2. Lead a sacramental life.  Receive Holy Communion frequently and take part in the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation regularly.  Catholics must receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter time.  We must confess at least once a year if  we have committed any serious or mortal sin.
  3. Study Catholic teachings throughout life and continue to grow in faith.
  4. Observe the marriage laws of the Catholic Church and give religious training to one’s children.
  5. Strengthen and support the Church: one’s own parish, the worldwide Church, and the Holy Father.
  6. Do penance, including fasting and not eating meat on certain days.
  7. Join in the missionary work of the Church.

Holy Days of Obligation

  1. January 1-Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  2. During Easter Season-Ascension
  3. August 15-Assumption of Mary
  4. November 1-All Saints Day
  5. December 8-Immaculate Conception
  6. December 25-Christmas

Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to Whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, and to rule and guide.  Amen.

Meal Prayers

Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.  Amen.

Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.  Amen.

Act of Love

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love.  I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee.  I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.  Amen.

Morning Offering

O my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for Thy greater honor and glory, the salvation of my soul, for the intentions of our Holy Father, and for the poor souls in Purgatory.  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.

Mysteries of the Rosary






Finding in the Temple


Agony in the Garden


Crowning with Thorns

Carrying of the Cross





Descent of the Holy Ghost




The Baptism in the Jordan

The Wedding at Cana

The Proclamation of the Kingdom

The Transfiguration

The Institution of the Eucharist

 Prayer for the Faithful Departed

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.


V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

R. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary…

V.  Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary…

V. And the Word was made flesh.

R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…

V. Pray for us, I Holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.  Por forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Regina Coeli

Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!  He whom Thou wast meet to bear. Alleluia!  As He promised hath arisen. Alleluia!  Pour for us to God thy prayer. Alleluia!

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.

Let us pray.  O God, who through the resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ didst vouchsafe to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.  Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!  Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!  To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.  Turn, then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fuit of Thy womb Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.  Amen.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help, or sought Thy intercession was left unaided.  Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.  To Thee I come, before Thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy mercy hear and answer me.  Amen.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.  Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work too, may be holy.  Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.  Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.  Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may be always holy.  Amen.

Prayer to Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen.