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Religious Education Year begins on Monday

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.


Barb, sfo said…
Can I move to your parish and enroll my kids in your class?
Oh yeah, I don't have any 7th-graders. But Middle Sister can look the part without trying too hard.
Catholic Mom said…
I would love to have you and Little Sister taking part in the class. The truth of the matter is that a Catholic Family who really lives the liturgical year and the Sacraments doesn't need a lot of catechesis. That is my goal. Parents should do such a good job teaching their children that we catechists are obsolete. I don't see that happening soon, but imagine what parish life would be like if that were true.
Ebeth said…
Parents SHOULD do a good job teaching their children, you and I think alike on this. Adult formation is my major interest. I taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade CCD in Houston and wanted the same thing you are talking about. So, I wrote an introduction memo to all the parents about the homeword, family assignments, and to ask question, "I am just a phone call away." Nothing. Then, I had a family project that needed to be brought in after Christmas. 1 project came in. Then, I caught parents as they were picking up their children and asked how they liked their CCD books, Most said, I haven't even looked at it, he/she keeps it in the bookbag most of the time." I was disillusioned, that's why I want to focus on adult formation. That's where the key is.

The parents that I have talked with about religion education at home have told me that:

1. They don't have the confidence to teach their children about the Catholic faith, and;

2. They don't have the resources, or don't have time to look for resources, and;

3. They are depending on the parish to do the work for them as society has dictated to them as how it is to be. Parents are not the teachers, a professional is.

Now we both know that that is not correct, but it is the mindthink of today's parents.

Even if you gave them a list of books, or an online resource for the books, you may get some of them to purchase a book. I wish I knew the secret of getting parents interested, confident, and to prioritize passing down the faith to their children.

Denise, maybe somewhere in my failure to reach my parents, you can see a window of hope. If you do, please let me know!!
Anonymous said…
Sounds wonderful...God bless
JLF said…
I think you have some wonderful ideas to involve the parents in the catechesis of their children. Most of us can do with a little reminder of our vital role as the teachers of our children. I hope the year goes well and that the parents of your students are encouraged to take a more active role in learning and teaching their faith. I'll pray for you, your students, and their families.
deanna said…
I hope your plans go well. I am a DRE and each year we have classes that we invite the parents to join in on. The parents of 1st and 2nd tend to come the most. In 7th grade no one usually joins in. Keep up the great work and update us. Peace.

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