Faith Formation News and Notes

September 28, 2017

Dear parents,

Faith Formation is off and running! We have had a great first 3 weeks, and we look forward to building on the excitement and energy that is in our lower level every Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I hope that as your children head home that their conversations continue, and you are also enjoying the discussions.

Now that we have started, we are seeing a few new needs for assistance or volunteers. If you’re going to be sticking around on Wednesday evening, I invite you to consider being a Hall monitor. If you’re someone that enjoys learning and sharing your faith, I ask you to consider being a Catechist or assistant (our 7th grade session is very large and we would like to split them into two groups). If you are only available sporadically, please consider being added to our Substitute list for when a Catechist is sick or has a conflict on Wednesday evenings. We can also use help with attendance collecting and other office help. Please let me know if any of these positions interest you.

Another request stems from our use of Scripture in all grade levels. I would encourage everyone, especially those in 5th grade and above, to bring their Bibles with them to our classes. If your son or daughter does not have a Bible they can call their own, I really like the Bibles from St. Mary’s Press. These can be found here:

We have two housekeeping requests. First, please remind your children that cell phones should not be out or even used during the hour we are together. They can quickly become a distraction, especially if someone is using them to play a game and refusing to stop. Second, fidget spinners and other devices/items. It is one thing if these are being used as a legitimate tool for focus, it is another when it is being used as a prop to distract the entire class. If your son/daughter insists on bringing either their cell phone or a fidget spinner, please remind them of the purpose, and not to allow them to become a problem.

Attached, please find two attachments. One is a flyer for tomorrow evening’s Carpenter Shop with guest speaker, Fr. Aaron Junge. I would like to encourage all who are able to attend. The second attachment comes from the Archdiocese. This is the first of five “NewsNotes” that they are asking us to send out throughout the year. This month’s topic and focus is on the impact and prevalence pornography has within our youth culture.

Finally, this weekend, I would like to ask for you to keep our Antioch retreatants in your prayers. Some of the attendees are our catechists, all attendees are our neighbors. This is a powerful weekend for many of our student parishioners, and our power of prayer can only strengthen that impact.

I wish you all have a great weekend.

God bless,

Joe Weyers

Director of Evangelization

P.S. Jen will be returning soon. She and Clare are doing well, thank you everyone that has asked and been keeping us in your prayer.


June 17, 2017

Hello Faith Formation Families!

We hope this summer is treating you all very well.

We are Joe and Jen Weyers, and have recently taken over the responsibilities in leading the Faith Formation program here at St. Thomas Aquinas. Through a few encounters, we got to know Tyler Wheeler and his family and certainly appreciate why he will be missed. We hope you will trust us to take the reins from him and continue to go forward in assisting all, especially the children of St. Thomas, throughout their faith journeys.

We are a young family, and new to Ames, but only half of us are new to Iowa. Jen is originally from Cascade, Iowa. She went to college in Steubenville, Ohio before becoming a Director of Religious Education in a parish in northern Illinois. It was here that we became friends, and began discerning our relationship. Jen is officially the Coordinator of Faith Formation and will be the primary contact for all things related to Children’s Faith Formation.

Joe was born in Chicago, and grew up in the northwest suburbs of the city. He went to college near Joliet, Illinois and has always had a desire to serve the young church.  He became a Youth Minister at a couple of parishes in northern Illinois. 10 months ago, Joe became the Associate Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Evansville, and for the first time in his life, he left his beloved Chicagoland. Joe is the newly established Director of Evangelization. His role at St. Thomas is primarily with Adult Faith Formation, but will still include a part of Children’s Faith Formation.

Now married for nine years, we have four children, with #5 on the way. Our oldest three are all boys, Max (8), Auggie (6), and Nico (soon to be 4). Mary-Lou is our current youngest, and she will be 2 in mid-August. Baby #5 will be here just a few weeks after. The news of baby #5 coming, and several other unexpected developments while in Evansville, led to us wishing to be closer to family, and thus we began looking for ways to serve the Church in the Ames/Des Moines area.

We are very quickly falling in love with the city of Ames, the campus of ISU, and the people we have already encountered. We are grateful for this opportunity to minister together at St. Thomas Aquinas, and look forward to serving the parish and walking with you throughout your faith journey. If you ever have any questions, concerns, or ideas on how we can serve or assist the parish, please feel free to contact either of us.

Now that we’ve introduced ourselves, let us introduce the new year!

Next Wednesday, Faith Formation registration will begin online. All youth, ages 3-8th grade may enroll in our Faith Formation classes or our Homeschool option. For those looking for a learning experience that is a little more unique, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a 3rd option for those ages 3-3rd grade. All of these options are great opportunities for continued faith growth at any age.

A schedule of the year is available online here. If you're a Google Calendar user, you may also subscribe to the STA Faith Formation calendar for all of our dates to be automatically synced to your devices.

The fees associated with Faith Formation this year will be $25 for those through grade 6, $75 for those in grades 7-12, and there is a family maximum of $200. Please do not allow cost to be a reason to not be involved.

We’ll be forwarding more information here on Wednesday once registration is open, but as we begin, we would like to invite any and everyone to discern a way to be involved with our faith formation program. Whether as a catechist, a prayer listener, a baker, or of the several other ways we could utilize assistance. Your witness as a parent speaks volumes to not just your son/daughter(s) but to everyone in the parish.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, we’re looking forward to a great year ahead and meeting all of you!

God bless,

Joe & Jen Weyers