Faith & Life

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

ONLINE RESOURCES HELP PARENTS CONTINUE KIDS’ FAITH EDUCATION

By Cathi Douglas     5/14/2020

The catechism of the Catholic Church makes it clear that parents are the primary educators of their children – and that includes teaching kids about their faith. 

In the midst of the many issues posed by the novel coronavirus crisis, it’s critical that parents not only lead by their examples – of forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and service – but also teach their kids what it means to be good Catholics. 

Fortunately, even though churches remain shuttered in the face of COVID-19, a wealth of online resources make it relatively simple to share the beauty of our faith at home. 

“The parish, schools, our family, friends, and neighbors all contribute to the formation of our children and are valuable partners and supporters,” says Linda Ji, diocesan director of Pastoral Care for Families in All Stages. “But ultimately, parents are the primary agents of faith formation.  

“This is something I think gets lost in family life these days,” Ji adds, “especially as family life has become so challenging. We wish to empower and equip parents to be what they already are and to give them confidence to teach and guide their children rightly.” 

This is a message, she says, that she must repeatedly hear herself as a parent, and appreciates when God affirms in prayer.  

While some local parishes are offering faith formation classes via Zoom or Google, others are providing hard copy materials and lesson plans to parents, explains Katie Dawson, Diocese of Orange Director of Parish Evangelization and Faith Formation. 

Still, Dawson notes, there remains uncertainty about faith formation classes, including preparation for sacraments such as first Holy Communion, reconciliation, and confirmation. To offer parents both flexibility and creativity, the Diocese of Orange offers a number of resources via a new website, EvangelizeOC.com.  

In addition, Dawson adds, many online resources support parents in their efforts to share their faith, including the Orange Catholic Parents Facebook page, a prayer app called hallow.app, and a website, thefamilydinnerproject.org, among many others. 

“Our priority in this moment is not to approach faith formation as another class, but to use our resources at a moment of human challenge and suffering,” Dawson says. “This is why we need God in our lives to sustain us.” 

Dawson and Ji emphasize that teaching kids the formal prayers of the Church is not as important as praying as family every day, talking about faith to one’s children and spouse, attending virtual Mass together, and inviting God into our daily lives. 

“It’s never too late to offer our lives to God,” Dawson says. “It can be very simple, as simple as saying, ‘Let’s take a minute and ask God to show Himself to us.’ That’s a prayer. ‘Lord, be with us.’ We’re not expecting angels and apparitions. Faith is something that builds.” 

Our present isolated circumstances offer families a unique opportunity, Ji notes. “In the business of life, we rely on the Church community to teach our children, but praying together and talking about our faith should be things we are doing anyway.” 

Even sharing our continuing struggles with uncertainty, depression and anxiety can provide children with valuable lessons about how our faith provides comfort, Ji says. “Health is a part of what God wants for us – our well-being and wholeness. 

“God loves us and wants us to be healthy.” 

One Response to “TEACH YOUR CHILDREN”

  1. Len Beckman

    Linda and Katie’s words are excellent, in showing families the importance of honoring our roles as domestic churches, and the Canon Law stipulation that “parents are the primary educators of the children”. ..What Linda calls “agents of faith formation”
    Having the privilege of three decades on staff at three churches, as YM, DFF, Religious Ed etc. roles, Donna and I knew our role was secondary though important, as the “support staff” for immersing our kids in the Catholic faith. Caught (not the virus!) as much as taught by example and resources.
    Donna went to heaven nine years ago, but as the 1100 at Holy Family Cathedral sending her off tells you, she made a huge impression on the Church and the world. While at St Anthony Claret as DRE/YMs, we (primarily Donna) put together a concise prayer guide as part of the Sacred Heart Kid’s Club. The elementary kids in our program would gain pins for each prayer they memorized as well as put into practice. As a 30 year Catholic homeschooling family, it ist important to do all: teach the prayers, model the faith, actively pray, family Christian service. Unlike the forced “homeschooling” 56 million are experienced, when chosen as a path, Catholic homeschooling is NOT a crime but a beautiful lifestyle.

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