Spirit and Light – Religious Education & Formation


We are excited to announce an update to all the Religious Education programs in the Oak Park area! Historically there were separate religious education offerings in each of the four Oak Park Catholic Churches as well as the Family Mass Community. Over the past few years, there has been some collaboration between those religious education departments. This year, that collaboration will be even stronger.

With a unified Religious Education, families will be able to discern which religious education model works best for them, empowering parents to truly be the first teachers of their children. Religious education will be more responsive to unique situations. Some classes have a Montessori style learning environment with experiential opportunities. Others have a more traditional classroom and use a textbook. Additionally, one has families coming together to share prayer and engage faith.

This unified religious education is a part of Spirit and Light: A Catholic Collaborative for Living Faith. It is a catechetical resource for the Catholic Community in Oak Park and the surrounding areas. Its mission is welcoming all and sharing Christian faith within the Catholic context.

Here is our latest information about program offerings, start dates and the “how to” registration process for the 2023-2024 school year.

2023-2024 Program Offerings

PRESCHOOL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAM (PREP) is designed to give pre-school children (ages 3-5 years – PK3, PK4 and K) an introduction to basic Catholic Christian Principles

  • PREP (PK3, PK4 and K) at St. Giles Campus / McDonough Hall – Room A & B
  • Classes offered on Sunday during 10:30 am Mass

CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD (CGS) is a faith formation program based on the Bible, the Liturgy of our Church, and educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children and Catechists gather to further experience their relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and their life in the church. The CGS program has three multi-age levels for children in grades Pre-K through 6th. Here is the age breakdown: CGS – LEVEL I – 3 to 6 years old (PK3, PK4 and K), CGS – LEVEL II – 6 to 9 years old (GRADES 1, 2 and 3) and CGS – LEVEL III – 9 to 12 years old (GRADES 4, 5 and 6). CGS classes meet three times a month.

Ascension Campus:

  • CGS – Level I (Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday)
    Sun. 9:00 am – 10:15 am / Tue. and Wed. 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm / Wed. 9:30 am – 10:45 am
  • CGS – Level II (Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday)
    Sun. 9:00 am – 10:15 am / Tue. and Wed. 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
  • CGS – Level III (Wednesday)
    4:30 pm – 5:45 pm

St. Giles Campus:

  • CGS – Level I (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday)
    Tue., Wed., Thu. 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm / Sat.,10 am – 11:15 am
  • CGS – Level II (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday)
    Tue., Wed., Thu. 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm and 6:00 – 7:15 pm / Sat. 10 am – 11:15 am
  • CGS – Level III (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday)
    Tue., Wed., Thu. 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm and 6:00 – 7:15 pm / Sat. 10 am – 11:15 am

FAMILY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION is an opportunity for the entire family, parents, and children in Grades 1-6, to grow in faith. The child along with parents attend a monthly meeting where there is time for family conversation as well as age-appropriate activities. The remainder of the month, students work with parents at home using a textbook.

  • Family RE – Catechesis (Grades 1-6) at St. Giles Campus / McDonough Hall
  • Monthly Meetings on Sunday from 9 to 10:15 am

TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (TRE) is a text-based faith formation program for 1st – 8th grades. The program is designed for students to learn about our Catholic faith, teachings, and traditions.

  • Located at Ascension Campus / School (Grades 1- 8)
  • Classes offered on Sunday (9-10:15 am) or Tuesday (6:45-8 pm)

MIDDLE SCHOOL MINISTRY is a religious education opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students. Learning occurs primarily through discussion and activities at tables with a table leader. Students meet in person twice a month and have an at-home activity once a month.

  • Middle School Ministry (Grades 7-8) at St. Giles Campus / McDonough Hall
  • Meet twice a month on Wednesday (4:30-5:45 pm or 7-8:15 pm) with a monthly at-home activity

SPRED (Special Religious Development) is a program of the Archdiocese of Chicago whose purpose is two-fold: the inclusion of the developmentally disabled into the liturgical and community faith life of the parish and the formation of a small faith community where both special friends and their catechists nurture their faith.

Ages 6-10 Years Old:

  • SPRED at St. Giles Campus
  • Classes are offered twice a month on Wednesday from 6-7:15 pm

Adults 22 Years Old and Older:

  • SPRED at St. Giles Campus
  • Classes are offered once a month on Mondays from 6:30-8:15 pm

SPRED is not available for registration through our online form – Please contact Kelly McCreary at the Spirit and Light Office for SPRED Registration at 708-434-1554 or kmcreary@spiritandlightcenter.org.

How to receive an Electronic Registration Form

  • For families who had a child registered in our program during the 2022-2023 school year – On August 10, 2023, we will send via email an electronic registration form to all families through our Flocknote platform from our “Spirit and Light” Religious Education Office. If you do not receive an email on August 10, please contact us at 708-434-1554 or slreligioused@spiritandlightcenter.org.
  • New families to the program can submit their registration through the link available below. Families could also contact the religious education office at 708-434-1554 or slreligioused@spiritandlightcenter.org for further questions and information.

Click to Register as a New Family ONLY

When do classes begin?

All program calendars will be available and posted online by August 29. Please read carefully for program start dates and programs that have parent meetings prior to classes starting.

  • PREP – Class begins on Sunday, September 17 at 10:30 am during mass at the St. Giles Campus.
  • CGS – While CGS classes start the week of September 11, there is a required parent meeting after morning masses on Sunday, September 10 at 11:30 am. Come and see your child’s atrium (classroom), pick up important documents, and have any questions answered. The meeting is offered at each campus: Ascension campus (Parish Center) and St. Giles campus (McDonough Hall). Please attend the location where your child is registered so you can see the exact CGS environment where your children will be throughout the year. Parents may attend with or without their children.
  • Family RE – Class begins on Sunday, September 10 at 9 am on St. Giles Campus.
  • Traditional RE (TRE) – Sunday classes begin on September 10 at 9 am with a brief Parent Meet and Greet in the Pine room. Tuesday classes begin September 12 at 6:45 pm in the Pine Room with a brief Parent Meet and Greet.
  • Middle School Ministry (MSM) – Parent only meeting on Wednesday, September 6 at 7 pm in McDonough Hall. Classes start on Wednesday, September 13.
  • SPRED – Open house on Wednesday, September 20 at 6 pm in the SPRED room on St. Giles Campus (6-10 years old).

2023-2024 Tuition Fees

  • (1) Child Family – $300
  • (2) Children Family – $450
  • (3 +) Children Family – $550
  • No Sacrament Fee is included on this Tuition Amount – If your child is eligible for a Sacrament this year, that fee will be paid at a later time – More information will be provided no later than mid-September.

A CALL FOR CATECHISTS – You are invited to become a catechist of any of our Religious Education Programs – There are opportunities to share your faith with our children (3 years – 8th grade). No experience is necessary except for an open heart and a willingness to share your faith with the future of our collaboration. A benefit to being a catechist, if your child is enrolled in the program there will be a 50% reduction in your tuition.

If you would like to be a catechist or volunteer for any of the faith formation offerings, do let us know. If you have any other questions, we would love to hear from you. Please email the Religious Education office at slreligioused@spiritandlightcenter.org or call 708-434-1554