Patti, my co-catechist, met the mom of one of our students who, to say the least, has been a handful. The mom expressed surprise that she hadn’t received a phone call yet this year since “I get a call from his catechists every year!” The mom went on to express her disdain for continuing classes after Confirmation saying, “I don’t see why that’s necessary.” Patti did her best to explain to her that Confirmation is not the end of anything but a beginning of a new chapter in the spiritual journey. She also acknowledged that this student has been a handful but that we have dealt with it in class.
All of this to say that it is no wonder that some of our students show little interest in their religious formation when it is not a high priority for their parents. I’m not about to go on here beating up parents. First, as catechists, we are partners with parents, called to support them in any way we can. If they are not in a place to be the primary teachers of their children when it comes to the Catholic faith, our role becomes even more indispensable. Second, our parish communities must do more to nurture the faith of adults and to empower parents to assume their role as the primary educators of their children in matters of faith. Whether these efforts be called whole community catechesis, total parish catechesis, life-long catechesis, intergenerational catechesis, or, as I like to think of it, catechesis done properly, our parish communities must do more to help adults, such as the mom that Patti met, to grow in their own faith and to give witness to their children.