One of the saddest things I hear is when people explain that they don’t practice their Catholic faith because they don’t find a connection between it and daily living. I believe that it is the job of every catechist and every homilist to show how our faith connects with daily living.
Too often, when we talk about getting parents more involved in their child’s faith formation, we jump to the fact that they don’t know their Catholic faith and the Catholic Tradition and that we need to remedy those deficiencies. As a result, we end up offering (or requiring) programs for parents that are little more than “C.C.D. for Grown-Ups”—programs that focus on Church teachings and doctrinal formulas when parents are desperately seeking help in their daily living.
In his book, Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home, my friend and colleague, Tom McGrath says:
I believe that God is revealed to us through the ordinary events of family life. You don’t have to become someone you’re not in order to experience this revelation. You just have to pay attention to the subtle ways God operates in the life of your family.
If we hope to make progress in helping parents to embrace their role in the faith formation of their children, we first need to help parents to make a profound connection between faith and daily living. One of the best resources that I highly recommend is the Together Magazine, edited by the very same Tom McGrath whom I quoted above. This magazine is so engaging and so relevant. It doesn’t come across as churchy or pious and yet contains such depth and speaks to parents with great respect, helping them to see how God is intimately involved in their everyday lives. The Together magazines are designed to assist parents as they accompany their children through First Eucharist and First Reconciliation and are a crucial ingredient in the God’s Gift sacramental preparation program. And, rather than have me drone on and on about what I think of this resource, see for yourself with these great samples!
Some sacramental prep programs pay lip service to “parental involvement” but offer little to make that happen. I wish that my wife and I had something as substantial and helpful as the Together Magazine back when we were preparing our own kids for the sacraments!