Supporting Parents When Children Are Preparing for the Sacraments

mother and child showing family Bible

Perhaps the question I am asked most when I’m on the road giving presentations is, “What can we do to get parents more involved?” Even Pope Francis issued a call for parents to “come out of exile” to educate their children.

From start to finish—from the first day that parents bring their children to religious education until the day they complete their formal formation—we should be speaking to parents, not about how they can pitch in to help us, but how we are here to help them. It begins with the mindset that the parents are going to have expectations placed on them. If that sounds heavy-handed, just stop and think of all of the activities that parents enroll their children in which require parent involvement, such as taking their turn to run the hot dog cart for the kids’ soccer game (as one basic example).

One of the best times to place this emphasis on parent responsibility is when children are preparing for the sacraments, especially First Eucharist and First Reconciliation. These are ideal opportunities to gather parents and empower them to help their children prepare to encounter Christ in the sacraments. To support these efforts, our God’s Gift: First Eucharist and First Reconciliation programs do much more than invite children to tear out a page to take home to their parents. God’s Gift invites parents to “come back from exile” and to accompany their children as they prepare to celebrate the sacraments, with resources including the Together Magazine family guide, the engaging video series, and keepsake booklets.

What have you found is the most effective way to engage parents in their child’s faith formation?

About Joe Paprocki 2165 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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