Ministry Tip of the Week
Catechists and ministers are fighting a losing battle if they think they can solve the crisis of faith without reaching parents. Have you ever heard the saying, "If you get the students you get the parents"? It's bogus. The exact opposite is the truth. When a child sees his or her parents living out the faith, it's powerful. It's more than powerful. It's transformative. The child has a living and prayerful context in which to understand what they learn in "class."
A living and prayerful context for faith is our goal, and that means the real "student" is the family. Faith is not private. It's personal, but it's not individual. Faith cannot survive without a community, and the faith of a child must be continually nurtured by the wider witness of his or her family, or it will be lost. So when we speak about faith formation, our focus is not the individual student but the whole family. Everyone is involved, or our efforts are undermined. We must reach the parents.
How do we get parents praying with their children, taking them to mass, teaching them doctrine, and applying that doctrine to the practical life of their child (first and foremost through the witness of their own lived faith)? These are the questions the bishops of the world have been discussing, and these are the questions we too must be asking as we strategize about faith formation, lesson plans, service opportunities, retreats, and recreational activities. How can each of these areas in a comprehensive faith formation serve to nurture family bonds of living faith and active charity?