Advice and Strategies for Forming Our Children in the Faith

September 14, 2018

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community:

I would like to thank those parents that were able to attend last night’s presentation, Keeping Faith Alive at Home. I hope you found it worthwhile. It is an important topic. At a time when so many are questioning the Church and looking for a reason to walk away, it is important that we stay connected to our faith and lay a solid foundation that will enable our children to do the same. My goal was to present ideas and strategies that are practical rather than theoretical.

Beginning today, and continuing for the next couple of weeks, I will be summarizing the information from last night’s presentation.

What follows are the first few points:

I began by sharing a few common mistakes parent make when it comes to the faith formation of their children. First, they relinquish their formation responsibilities, shifting them to the school – “It’s a Catholic school – that’s their job!” Maybe that is done out of laziness, but more likely it comes from a place of uncertainty – “Do I know my faith well enough to teach it to my children?”

Second, some parents think of faith as a things-to-do checklist. Once they have “forced” their children to go to Mass on Sunday, they consider their work done.

Finally, as the battle of formation continues, and we appear to be losing, we throw in the towel. Then we roll the dice, hoping our children will make faith a priority later – “when they get married or have kids of their own.” Are we willing to leave that to chance?

I then began sharing some advice and practical ideas parents can use to help in forming their children in the faith. I encouraged them to make the ideas their own – adapt them to their own family situation.

#1 – Be a student of your faith

The more comfortable and knowledgeable you are about your faith, the better equipped you are to share it with others. Every Catholic home should have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church readily accessible. You don’t have to read it cover to cover or memorize it, but it should be available when you want to clarify a point or when a question arises – “I’m not sure what the Church teaches on that topic. Let’s look it up together.”

There are many other great resources out there. Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire website is especially helpful. It offers information on a variety of Catholic faith topics. Bishop Barron is a gifted presenter and has a way of explaining complex teachings in simple, easy-to-understand language.

Read, stay current, ask questions – dig into your faith. Show your children that knowledge and truth serve as powerful armor in the fight for our faith.

I will continue next week with some specific ideas to consider and strategies to employ.

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