Religious Formation (CCD)
A sower went out to sow … (Mk 4:3) Remember this parable that Jesus shared with his Apostles? We hear this Gospel story every year in the cycle of church readings. Do we really pay attention to the underlying message? After all, Jesus used parables to teach lifelong moral lessons. This gospel story is the basis for thinking about evangelization. Jesus is the first farmer. It is Christ who has sown a seed of faith in our hearts and that seed is the Word of God. Today Christ continues to plant that seed through the Church and the Holy Spirit. Only some of the seeds fall on good soil – those who are open in their lives to a personal relationship with Christ and to solidarity with their neighbor. (GDC15) All the baptized are called by God to mature faith and have a right to sufficient catechesis (GDC16) (religious instruction). Christ proclaimed the children to be privileged participants in the reign of God. Therefore, those who have given life to children and baptized them in faith, must also provide them with ongoing catechesis. (GDC177) Catechism is the name given to a written work that contains a summary of all the beliefs of the faith that is used as a teaching tool. (USCCB) Various members of a child’s circle of life play a role in catechesis. The family is the essential and first place where catechesis occurs, complemented by the school or religious education program. (GDC178) As young people enter school, parents, catechists, and school teachers should collaborate to use every suitable moment to lead the child to Christ. GDC 179)
The above statements taken from the General Directory for Catechesis, are provided to help our parishioners, especially parents of our youth, to understand deeply the importance of religious education and where it “fits” in family life and growth. Teamwork is essential in a child’s religious formation. Parents have the primary responsibility for the religious education of their children and our CCD volunteers are “adding to” what is taught at home about our Catholic faith. A religious education program cannot assume the full responsibility of faith formation of youth. You can help us help you by encouraging children in their quest for a deeper understanding of God and His Church. Involving young people in various activities which prepare them to grow in faith will animate the formation program and reach them where catechesis itself cannot. (GDC185) Parents can be powerful witnesses by their own religious commitment, and especially by faithfully attending Mass as a family every Sunday and by receiving the Sacrament of Penance frequently. The home environment is also important. Let your home be one of prayer. Monitor what your children watch on television, especially TV programs which are contrary to Christian values and practice.
Attend, my people, to my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth
I will open my mouth in story,
drawing lessons from of old.
We have heard them, we know them;
our ancestors have recited them to us.
We do not keep them from our children;
we recite them to the next generation,
The praiseworthy and mighty deeds of the Lord,
the wonders that he performed.
God set up a decree in Jacob,
established a law in Israel:
What he commanded our ancestors,
they were to teach their children;
That the next generation might come to know,
children yet to be born.
In turn they were to recite them to their children,
that they too might put their trust in God,
And not forget the works of God,
keeping his commandments.
Catechesis is lifelong; it never ends. (GDC186)