I’ve written about teaching seventh grade religious education this year. My own son is in eighth grade and will be confirmed in November. The parish eighth grade religious education class has been pretty unfocused in recent years. The bulk of confirmation preparation is done in seventh grade. Soon into the eighth grade year the students are confirmed. A large number of them drop out of the religious education program and the classes seem to flounder. A group of us who have been doing faith formation as part of our family lives for years and years wanted more for our sons. We decided to form a home school group for our boys. We want to focus the boys on where they take their faith and where their faith takes them after confirmation. With confirmation they complete their initiation into the Church. What do they do next?
To help answer this we are working on enrichment activities that point to how we take our faith into the world. Last night we gathered at my house and watched the movie Champions of Faith. This was a great way to begin. This film lets professional baseball players, coaches, and managers speak of how their faith strengthens and sustains them both on and off the field. Mike Piazza, David Eckstein, Jeff Suppan, Mike Sweeney, Jack McKeon, and Rich Donnelly share how they work to keep their baseball careers in perspective by staying strong in their Catholic faith.. In addition to hitting, throwing, and catching, we see these baseball players are attending Mass, praying the Rosary, reading the Bible, and making God the center of their lives. Jack McKeon declares St. Therese was the MVP of the Florida Marlins’ World Series Championship. Hearing these athletic heroes speak of the importance of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist made a real impression on the boys.
I am excited to be embarking on this religious education experiment with my son. I am grateful that our pastor and our religious education director are supporting us in this endeavor. I will keep you posted on our activities.