The first two months provided a breathing opportunity prior to the launching of the parish programs especially Religious Education. I had a wonderful privilege of meeting the Catechists and the Parents early this week and shared few thoughts. I’m enthused as ever to see parents dropping off their kids to Church for Catechetical instructions. It’s always a blessing and a challenge to carry out the work of God to foster a friendly atmosphere and encourage a climate of inquiry for this will very well help them get an impression of who we are as a Church. Here at St. James, since we don’t have enough classrooms to accommodate the kids on Sunday morning, classes are done during the week.
As I pointed out quite clearly in the pulpit, Faith Formation across the board is central to the parish Vision/Mission. In fact, a huge discussion took place at the Pastoral Council Meeting regarding this matter namely, to strategically lay out a plan to respond well to such a major concern in the parish. An important component in the passing of Faith lies in the accountability of the parents. They shouldn’t leave all the responsibility to the Church. It happens more often that Religious Education is no different from babysitting 101. I’ll drop you in, run errands in the grocery and pick you up after an hour. How’s that?
It does take a community of Believers, united in Christ, inspired by the Spirit, in full communion with the Church, with shared values, well-defined purposes and ideals, to give witness to the truth of the Gospel. Otherwise, it simply will not work. To effectively educate the children about God’s saving acts and our passionate response to it, our approach must be adapted to the current Age and cultural surroundings, forward looking and yet, faithful to Apostolic Tradition.
Again, it does take a village to do it and definitely, not a work left to the Catechist alone. who despite his/her high intensity and enormous amount of dedication, one hour a week of Catholic Education is totally inadequate to instill the Faith. I heard a story about a teenage girl, baptized as an infant, received first Holy Communion, went through the long years of Religious Education and got confirmed but after a few months, left the Church and joined Jehovah’s Witness. It wasn’t news to me and yet, I was alarmed. She confessed, she learned nothing from the Catholic Church despite those years and added that in her new church, there’s a mandatory 7- hour intensive bible study every week. That story left my jaw dropping in disbelief.
One of the main reasons why we, Catholics, have disappeared over a period of time in the hegemony of Secularism and everything it offers is the lack of solid Catechism and serious religious upbringing which, hard to believe, boils down to our desire and willingness to seek and learn the essential truths of our Faith and take responsibility thereof.
My humble suggestion is that there has to be a strong mutual reinforcement between the family as the cradle of Evangelization, led by the parents, the first teachers and witnesses of Faith and the Church as the channel of salvation and the vessel of holiness. Amen.