If we want our young Catholics to grow into adult Catholics, then maybe we ought to start treating them like “equals.” As catechists, those we teach are typically baptized and in full communion. They may not yet be confirmed but they are no less a disciple of Christ than any of us adults. Perhaps that’s why Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the youth of Brazil in the following terms:
“You are the youth of the Church,” the Pontiff said. “I send you out, therefore, on the great mission of evangelizing young men and women who have gone astray in this world like sheep without a shepherd. Be apostles of youth.”
The pope spoke to them as full members of the Church (because they are) who have a job to do.
Children love to feel trusted with responsibility. I think that as catechists, we can help our Catholic children grow into Catholic adults by entrusting them with the responsibility that is rightly theirs…to participate in the mission of the Church. Let’s not keep them on the sidelines drawing pictures and making crafts. Like the pope, let’s send them forth with a job to do!