Help Catholic Children Grow Into Catholic Adults

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!

About Joe Paprocki 2375 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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