The catechesis of children has long been seen as an important responsibility of the Church. And it is! The problem is with the definition of ‘church.’ The Church is far more than the building where we gather to celebrate Eucharist. It is also more than Father and Sister. The Church is the people of God gathered.
Church documents tell us that “parents [are the] primary educators of their children.” (GDC#226) This was something we agreed to when we presented our children for Baptism. However, these same documents stress that parents can only accomplish this with the help of the Christian community, which was also agreed to when the children were baptized.
With the best of intentions, the development of Catholic schools may have removed from parents the task of handing on their faith. Yet, our experience has shown us that while the parish does do an adequate job of catechizing children, we are mere substitutes for their parents. Unless their parents are deeply engaged in the process, we cannot succeed in the faith formation of children. Pope Francis calls on all of us to share always in all ways possible the Good News that Jesus Christ loves us. Despite our best efforts, we are concerned that our children and their parents are no longer hearing the message.
Because of this, throughout the English sector of the archdiocese now, parents accompany their children to each catechetical session journeying alongside them as both grow in faith in a method of catechesis known as parent coaching. Using this model will give parents the language of faith, so they can share their faith with their children more effectively. It allows for quality one-on-one time with parent and child. The catechist/coach partners with parents guiding them in conversations so that both child and parent can feel comfortable talking about issues of faith, and how our faith relates to and is lived out in the everyday.
Contact the Office of Faith Development at 857-9952, or email.