Childrens Religious Education

What is Religious Education at Holy Spirit all about?

At Holy Spirit our goal is to complement and supplement you, as Christian parents, to teach and raise your children in the faith. As parents, you are the primary educators of your children. Our desire is to provide support and encouragement as you seek to fulfill this responsibility. One ways we do that is through CCD classes and we offer much more. Listed below is what we offer through the Holy Spirit Office of Religious Education.

How to contact the Office of Religious Education:

We have a dedicated staff that is eager and willing to help find answers to all your questions.  Our Director of Religious Education, Anson Groves, Office Manager, Mayra Saunders and VBS and CCD Coordinator, Heidi MacLachlan are all available for you.  Please feel free to call or email us for answers to all your questions.  We are located in Holy Spirit School, directly across from Holy Spirit Church.

Office email:  [email protected]
Office phone:  703-978-8925


Religious Education Classes

REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN! It’s not too late to register your child for classes.

All K-12 religious education classes will held in person with an online-only option for those who desire. There is no difference between classes for sacramental preparation such as first Communion or Confirmation.

Online lessons are asynchronous working at your family’s schedule. Classes for the 2021 – 2022 school year begin September 19, 2021.

CCD classes for children in grades K-12

All K-12 religious education classes will held in person, or with an online option for grades 1st – 8th.  Online lessons are asynchronous working at your family’s schedule. Classes for the 2021 – 2022 school year begin September 19, 2021.

We accept children from all parishes and we are never out of space for any child.

For children in grades Kindergarten to grade 12, classes are held on Sundays.  Classes for grades Kindergarten through grade 8 are also held on Mondays (choose which day works best). All classes are held from 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM. Children from all parishes are welcome and we are never out of space for any child. Sunday classes are especially popular since there is Mass at 6:00 PM.  Online classes are an option for those who can not attend in-person classes.

Our high school program has an excellent line-up of teachers. Each teacher will cover a series on a particular topic that corresponds with the Adult Religious Education program. After class, your teenagers can attend the 6:00 pm Mass, and then immediately after they can attend the youth ministry evenings for additional food and fellowship. Learning the faith at 4:30, praying the faith at 6:00, and living the faith at 7:00. We have the complete experience – Food, friends, and faith! Register your children for CCD classes mid September by clicking the button below.

To register your child for Religious Education (CCD) classes beginning the week of September 19, 2021 please click here.

CCD classes for children needing special education

All children are made in the image and likeness of God, and are entitled to all our support, our catechetical efforts, and assistance in receiving the sacraments, which is their right as baptized Catholics.  Our special education classes are staffed by volunteers who are extremely dedicated to these children, some also work in these programs at Fairfax County Public Schools.  We maintain a low student-teacher ratio. Please let us know how we can personally help you.

“The Church continues to affirm the dignity of every human being, and to grow in knowledge and understanding of the gifts and needs of her members who live with disabilities. Likewise, the Church recognizes that every parish community includes members with disabilities, and earnestly desires their active participation. All members of the Body of Christ are uniquely called by God by virtue of their Baptism. In light of this call, the Church seeks to support all in their growth in holiness, and to encourage all in their vocations. Participating in, and being nourished by, the grace of the sacraments is essential to this growth in holiness. Catholic adults and children with disabilities, and their families, earnestly desire full and meaningful participation in the sacramental life of the Church.” – US Conference of Catholic Bishops click here to read more here.

CCD classes for adults

OUR TOPIC FOR THE ADULT CCD 2021-2022 will be announced this September. During Sunday CCD classes for the children, the parents and all adults have the opportunity to learn about the faith too! If it’s been a long time since you were in CCD classes, and you feel like there is more to learn, this is the perfect one-hour-a-week for you! 

Catechists and Volunteers

The religious education program runs on the dedicated work of many volunteers. The greatest talent they have is their love of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, and the greatest skill they have is the desire to help the children encounter the mystery of Christ through the Church’s catechesis. Please consider volunteering as a CCD Catechist, assistant catechist, substitute catechist, hall monitor, office assistant, or school service hour related volunteer.  Click here to register.

Sacraments for children

1) Baptism – If your child (or anyone) is not baptized, we would love to help! Please contact the Office of Religious Education to make arrangements.

2) Confirmation – is a two year program that begins in the 6th grade. Children are prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation during the autumn of their 8th grade year. Children who are enrolled in public schools should enroll in CCD classes.  Children who are enrolled in Holy Spirit School (or any other Catholic school) complete their religious education in the school in preparation for receiving Confirmation at Holy Spirit.  If your child is enrolled in another Catholic school – please notify the Office of Religious Education so we are aware.  Children who are homeschooled complete their religious education at home (please register your homeschool child by clicking here). If your child is older than 8th grade, please contact the Office of Religious Education as soon as possible so we can help you. Confirmation is too precious to be missed!

3) Holy Communion – is a two year program that begins in the 1st grade. Children are prepared to receive their first Holy Communion in the  Spring of their 2nd grade year. Children who are enrolled in public schools should enroll in CCD classes, children who are enrolled in Holy Spirit School (or any other Catholic school) complete their religious education in the school in preparation for receiving their first Holy Communion at Holy Spirit (if your child is enrolled in another Catholic school – please notify the Religious Education Office so we are aware), and children who are homeschooled complete their religious education at home (please register your homeschool child by clicking here). If your child is older than 2nd grade, please contact the Office of Religious Education as soon as possible so we can help you. Every child should receive the precious and life-giving Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

4) Confession – Children in 2nd grade go to their first Confession during Lent in the 2nd grade year, as part of their preparation for receiving their first Holy Communion. During that first Confession service, all family members are invited to go to Confession with the children; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, everyone! All other children enrolled in CCD classes have the opportunity to go to Confession twice a year, during the Church’s penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, during their CCD classes. If your child is older than 2nd grade, and has not gone to Confession, please contact the Office of Religious Education to make arrangements.

Confirmation Retreat Permission Form (Non-Holy Spirit Students)

We welcome students from other parishes who are unable to attend their Confirmation retreat to attend the retreat here on Saturday October 9, 2021 (9:00 AM to 4:00 PM). Parents, please click here to complete the permission form necessary for your child to attend. We will notify your parish DRE of your child’s attendance once the retreat is complete. We may require a pre-retreat meeting with your child to go over any retreat details, safety rules, and conduct expectations.

Sacraments for adults or adults who want to become Catholic

It is our joy to assist all adults who want to receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church. If you or someone you know wants to be Baptized, receive Confirmation, receive Holy Communion for the first time, go back to the sacrament of Confession after a long time, or be married in the Catholic Church, we are here to help! Please email Anson Groves, Director of Religious Education if you would like assistance with any of these sacraments or have more questions – [email protected]


1) RCIA Class – for those who want to become Catholic. Click here for more information.
2) Adult Confirmation Class – for those who were baptized Catholic but never Confirmed.
3) Communion & Confession Class – for those who have not been to Communion or Confession for a long time and would like assistance.
4) Marriage – for those looking to be married in the Catholic Church, or have the marriage blessed.

Vacation Bible School

VBS is a fun, week-long program for rising Kindergarten through rising 5th grade students.  It is held the last week of June.  Teen and adult leaders guide the children through a series of daily activities.  The week is topped off with a family Mass and picnic.  Our next VBS program will be held in June 20-24, 2022. For more information, click here.

Homeschool children

At Holy Spirit, we have a thriving and active homeschooling community. We are very supportive of the parents, who are the primary educators of their children, and we accept all home school children into our activities from all across the area. We recommend registering your homeschool child with the parish, and we require it for sacramental preparation such as Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion, etc. By homeschooling your child, you are taking control of your rights as parents, but with that right comes responsibility; we are expecting you to fully catechize and prepare your child. We are here to support you with resources, guidance, and prayers.  We will then contact you regarding any requirements to receive the sacraments (usually those that are stated in the Code of Canon Law).  Click here to register your homeschool children.

“Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbor. Here, too, they find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church. Finally, it is through the family that they are gradually led to a companionship with their fellowmen and with the people of God. Let parents, then, recognize the inestimable importance a truly Christian family has for the life and progress of God’s own people.” – Pope Paul VI, Gravissimum Educationis 3

Current Families – Subscribe To Our Calendars

2021-2022 Calendar – click here

For Google calendar users you can subscribe to the calendar to add to your own online calendar, which will automatically update if a class is canceled or a meeting changed. Very handy for inclement weather days!

Click here to subscribe to the Religious Education calendar (for sacraments, meetings, etc).

Sunday CCD class calendar Click here to subscribe.

Monday CCD class calendar Click here to subscribe.

For Apple iCal users (iPhone, iPad, Mac) use these links AFTER reading the following instructions. This calendar will automatically update on your Apple device if a class is canceled or a meeting changed.

READ FIRST – Instructions click here

Religious Education (iCal) general calendar for sacraments, meetings, etc, copy this link.

Sunday CCD class calendar (iCal) copy this link.

Monday CCD class calendar (iCal) copy this link.

Military & Government Service Families

Thank you for your service to our country! We love our military and government families.  We understand that frequent moves for your family can interfere with the usual sequence of sacraments for you and your child. We are here to help with all your sacramental needs. Please contact the Religious Education office for any sacraments for your young children, teenagers, and yourselves, especially if you anticipate a TDY or PCS in the near future.

Continuing Education

Learning the faith is a life-long endeavor. The following can help you learn more and answer some questions. The Holy Spirit Office of Religious Education is here to answer your questions: either by email, phone, or an in-office discussion. Don’t let your questions become doubts that diminish your faith.

The Institute of Catholic Culture is an adult catechetical organization, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and dedicated to the Church’s call for a new evangelization. The Institute seeks to fulfill its mission by offering educational programs structured upon the classical liberal arts and by offering opportunities in which authentic Catholic culture is experienced and lived.  You can access their abundant videos and audio, free of charge. They even have an iPhone app so you can listen on the go!

FORMED – An excellent resource for documentary videos, saint-themed movies, and audio books. Click here for information on how to access your free membership courtesy of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Word on Fire  – Word on Fire Catholic Ministries is a nonprofit global media apostolate that supports the work of Bishop Robert Barron and reaches millions of people to draw them into— or back to— the Catholic faith.  They have some of the best video and audio content. We highly recommend subscribing to their commentary on the Sunday readings.

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is a non-profit research and educational institute that promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition. The Center serves clergy and laity, students and scholars, with research and study tools — from books and publications to multimedia and on-line programming.

Dynamic Catholic  –  Dynamic Catholic is ensuring that every Catholic has free access to the very best resources at every stage of their spiritual journey.

Zenit – A non-profit international Catholic news agency which transmits the message of the Pope and of the Church.

Rome Reports – Rome Reports is a private and independent television news agency based in Rome, Italy, specializing in covering the Pope and the Vatican.

Magnificat – Magnificat and the Magnificat Foundation share certain fundamental goals: to spread the Gospel and to promote a deeper relationship with Jesus, his Blessed Mother, and his Church.

Encourage and Teach – The official blog of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.

Protection & Safety of Children at Holy Spirit Religious Education

Under the guidance of our Bishop, who teaches that we must “work tirelessly to protect all young people as a matter of respect for their precious dignity as beloved children of God” (read more here), and our pastor, we take seriously the effort to protect and nurture our children. To read a letter from our pastor Father O’Donohue, please click here. For more information on what we do at Holy Spirit to protect children while teaching the holy Catholic faith, please click here.

Important Information

Staff Contacts

(703) 978-8925

[email protected]

Anson Groves Director of Religious Education

Mayra Saunders Religious Education Office Manager

Heidi MacLachlan CCD & VBS Coordinator

CCD Class Times Sundays & Mondays 4:30-5:45 PM

Classes Begin Sun Sept 19 & Mon Sept 20

First Holy Communion Information (Grade 2)

First Confessions

Session 1 – Saturday March 5 at 11:00 AM

Session 2 – Saturday March 12 at 11:00 AM

First Communion Mass – May 7, 2022 at 11:00 AM & May 14, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Confirmation Information (Grade 7)

Reatreat – TBA 2022

Confirmation Mass – TBA 2022

Confirmation Information (Grade 8)

Retreat (CCD & Homeschool) – October 9, 2021 at Holy Spirit, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Retreat (Holy Spirit School) – October 12, 11am-3pm (during school day)

Confirmation Rehearsal – October 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Confirmation Mass – October 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM