Religious education classes start this coming Monday evening and I am once again teaching seventh grade. My real passion is teaching the parents but the religious education program is geared for teaching the kids. So, that is what I am doing. Last year I hoped for an indirect trickle up effect. I tried to motivate the children to share their lessons with their parents. This year I am going for a more direct approach. I am going to have three or four class sessions where the parents are invited to join in and learn alongside their children.
The first of these will be during our second class session. At that time I want to introduce the concept of the domestic church. Each of us as individuals has a role to play in Salvation History. However, each of our families also has a distinct calling to evangelize as a family unit. I am going to play the Cardinal Arinze webcast, Five Pillars on Which a Family Stands, and then allow parents and children to discuss how they can strengthen these pillars in their own families. After laying this groundwork, when we cover various topics during the year, I will give concrete ways these topics apply to our families and fit in the Five Pillar framework.
Perhaps at the beginning of Advent I would like to do a session on the Liturgical Year. I will talk about ways of incorporating the rhythm of the Liturgical Seasons into the rhythm of our family lives. Since the Advent and Christmas seasons offer so many opportunities to do this, I would like to help these families plan for these seasons.
The last week of January I want to do a session on Sacramentals. February 2 is Candlemas. This is a day when we traditionally have our devotional candles blessed. Since it falls on a Saturday this year I am going to speak with our priests about inviting parishioners to bring their candles to the Saturday morning Mass and have them blessed. I would use our class session prior to this feast to speak of the use of candles and other sacramentals.
I think I would also like to work in a session on the saints and intercessory prayer. The seventh graders are required to do a report on the saint whose name they choose for their Confirmation name. It is important they realize the saints are more than historical figures. They are the Church Triumphant and are waiting to join us in prayer. They are a very real part of the Church community. Since Easter falls fairly early this year, I can do this right after Easter and it will still give the kids plenty of time to complete their saint report.
I am very excited because the Director of Religious Education as well as her assistant are very supportive of bringing the families into the religious education process. Please keep this endeavor in your prayers.