Friday, March 28, 2014

Parents as First Catechists

What is the purpose of First Catechists? When your child was baptized, the following (or very similar) dialogue took place:

Celebrant: What name do you give your child? (or: have you given?)

Parents: N.

Celebrant: What do you ask of God’s Church for N.?

Parents: Baptism.

Celebrant: You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Parents: We do.

After years of working in a parish setting, I can honestly say this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, struggle for Catholic parents. They do not feel equipped to be their child's first catechist, they are not willing to serve as their child's primary catechist, and/or they don't understand how to be a catechist for their child. Many kids leave the faith between the ages of 12-18 and parents wonder why. "I took them to Mass every week and sent them to Catholic school or religious education classes. What happened?" I'm here to help!

Whether your child is kicking you in the womb during Mass, a toddler climbing all over the pews, an elementary age child poking their sibling in the rib cage during the homily, or a sullen teen who looks as if he'd rather have a root canal than be at church, I want to provide you with tools and set you up for success in serving as a catechist for your child.

Do you feel equipped to teach your child to count to 10 even though you cannot do long division? Are you confident in teaching the ABC's even though you rely on spell check every day? If you can mumble your way through the Our Father, you are ready to be a catechist. You don't need a degree in theology, have the Catechism memorized, or be a daily Mass goer. You simply need to have a willingness to share what you do know about your faith with your child and be willing to grow alongside him/her. Are you ready? Good. Me too.

Through posting various talks, handouts and curricula I have written as well as writing blog posts, I hope to give you some ideas and tools to share the Catholic faith with your child. I will also share links to some of my favorite resources. I want to help your family live a rich faith life so you can watch your child grow in wisdom, age, and grace.

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