This afternoon, I met with Deb Breakey, the DRE of St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, to brainstorm a new way to kick off the catechetical year this Fall designed to combat the “drop-off” mentality that so many parents have when it comes to their children’s faith formation.
We are working on designing an experience on the first night of religious education that, in essence, will be an intergenerational event.
- Parents will be asked to gather with their children in the Parish Center where the first half hour will consist of a welcome/greeting, a prayer service that will include a blessing of the children, the catechists, the textbooks, and the parents, and finally, a prayerful sending forth of the children to their classes for the next hour.
- The second half hour will consist of a short video (TBD) on the role of parents in faith formation followed by a brief discussion in small groups. Following this, Deb will go over the nuts and bolts of the faith formation program but will also introduce opportunities for adults to gather to share and grow in faith throughout the year.
- The last half hour will be an opportunity for parents to socialize but also to complete registrations and other necessary paperwork before their children are ready to be taken home (these are all things that Deb finds herself doing on that first night already!).
Our hope is to begin to change the drop-off mentality by engaging parents during the time that their children attend RE classes. I’ll update you as the plan unfolds and develops. If you have any suggestions from your own experience, Deb and I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.