Parents Are The Primary Catechists
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues…Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2223)
Being a parent can be a daunting task. In today’s society, a parent has to deal with many challenges. As parents, we are responsible for the moral and faith formation of our children. Some parents are unaware of their duties as teachers and models of faith within their homes. Many Catholic parents seem to think that they just need to register their children to receive their sacraments and relinquish their responsibility to the priest, the school and the catechists to pass the Catholic faith to their children. Nowadays, most parents don’t even attend Sunday Mass with their children regularly. However, we know that nothing and no one can replace the influence of the example of a parent on the spiritual life of a child.
Many parents feel less than adequate to teach their children religion. Perhaps this is partly because of a misguided presupposition that “religion” is just a school subject. It is, of course, but it is so much more. The essence of our Christian Faith is not what information we know, but Whom we know. It is all about our relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.
Parents most effectively pass on the Catholic faith by what they do (action) more than what they say (words) to their children. What can parents do?
- Pray at Home: Parents who pray privately and with their children at home show their children the importance of a God-centered life. Opportunities for prayer are as varied as the experiences of life: before and after sleeping, before meals, traveling, playing, studying, etc.
- Attend Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil): Having the entire family participate at Mass every Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is essential. Besides keeping the third commandment to keep holy the sabbath, we participate in the heavenly banquet with God, the choirs of angels, and the communion of saints. When we receive the Eucharist, we are nourished spiritually by the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Sunday Mass communicates the message that we are worth more than what we do, that there we have a Savior who wants to come to us and give us something we can get from nowhere else: total forgiving mercy and eternal life. Consistent Sunday participation at Mass also communicates to our children that we “seek first the kingdom of God,” Who by His grace, helps us align our lives to His will, so that all our relationships and activities are kept in balance and harmony with His teachings.
- Share personal faith stories: What we believe needs to be shared to our children and others, through sharing our personal stories of God helping us in our moments of struggles, temptations, difficult moral decisions, needing forgiveness, etc. Children need to hear how God works in the lives of others to know that He is real, even though they don’t see God.
- Serve those in need (Works of Mercy): As Jesus says in Matthew 25, when we help the least of our brothers and sisters, we do it unto Him. When children witness their parents living the faith as true disciples of Jesus Christ, they have conviction that their Catholic faith is authentic, meaningful, and worth embracing for life.
- Be involved in their faith community: Participation in parish offers families fellowship with and support from other Catholic families who share the same faith and values. When children feel connected, loved and supported by a caring community, they thrive personally, and their faith is strengthened.
St. Rita Family Sundays
To help families connect with faith and each other in community, St. Rita Parish offers four “Family Faith Sunday” gatherings this year at 9 a.m. in Gara hall before families attend the ten o’clock Mass. All families are welcome for breakfast, getting to interact with each other and with other families, and learn about and discuss faith topics as a family. All are welcome to participate on the following days:
- September 29, 2019 – “What Do You Believe?”
- November 3, 2019 – “The Communion of Saints”
- March 1, 2020 – “What Would Jesus Do”
- May 29, 2010 – “Holy Spirit is In Me” (Pentecost Sunday)
Resources For Parents
- https://www.crediblecatholic.com (Current information on faith and science)
- YOUTUBE VIDEOS: Bishop Robert Barron: https://www.youtube.com/user/wordonfirevideo Ascension Press: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVdGX3N-WIJ5nUvklBTNhAw
What is a Catechist
A catechist is a person of faith who is called by the parish or school community to hand on the tradition and teaching of the Catholic Church to others. This call demands that the catechist understand church doctrine and demonstrate appropriate teaching skills. More than that, a catechist realizes God’s voice in this call to serve and recognizes the need for continuing personal growth and faith formation.
- has a strong awareness of God’s grace in his/her life.
- is fully initiated in the Catholic Church (Baptism, Communion, Confirmation).
desires to deepen his/her prayer life.
- is committed to ongoing personal faith formation.
- is open to grow and change as a disciple of Jesus Christ
- is committed to teaching and sharing the Catholic faith with others.
- communicates effectively and interacts well with others.
- realizes the importance of building Christian community.
I WANT TO BE A CATECHIST (BUT I DON’T FEEL QUALIFIED)
Your desire to learn and share the Good News of Jesus is all that is needed. One can start by serving as a parent or adult volunteer in faith formation. Please contact Theresa Costanzo, Director of Faith Formation via email ([email protected]) or phone (626) 355-1292 X223.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles offers formation for catechists which leads to certification at both the basic and advanced levels. Catechist Formation: https://lacatholics.org/catechist-formation/.