In his book, Excellence in Ministry (part of The Effective Catechetical Leader series), my good friend Tom Quinlan makes a powerful plea for a significant shift in how we approach families when it comes to faith formation:
I like to say that the “cement is wet” at Baptism and that by Confirmation (and even First Eucharist) the cement of family faith identity and practice has greatly or fully hardened. My strong exhortation for parishes today is to front-load their efforts at impacting family systems. There is much more proverbial bang for the buck in doing front -loaded, early family evangelization ministry than anything later down the road!
I couldn’t agree more! The new Directory for Catechesis hammers home this emphasis on evangelizing young families around the time of their child’s Baptism:
- [The Church] recognizes that some moments are decisive passages in which people more readily allow themselves to be touched by God’s grace and become open to making a journey of faith. (232)
- The community, in the person of the catechists, should take care to welcome, listen to, and understand the reasons for the parents’ request [for Baptism], and provide an appropriate pathway for them to reawaken the grace of the gift of faith that they have received. (232)
- It is good for these formative journeys, in the light of the word of God, to guide the lives of young couples in such a way that they may become ever more aware of the gift and mission they have received. (232)
With that in mind, Loyola Press is proud to introduce a wonderful new resource for welcoming, accompanying, and evangelizing young families: Springs of Faith.
Springs of Faith is so much more than the perfunctory baptismal prep—that “hoop” that parents are made to “jump through” to “qualify” for infant Baptism with no follow-up.
Springs of Faith, available in English and Spanish, is designed for young adults and families who long for a community of faith and are considering having their children baptized in the Catholic Church. The Springs of Faith experience is very catechumenal in nature with an emphasis on accompaniment throughout three phases—Discover, Encounter, and Share—which provide an array of opportunities for participants to connect with one another as they grow in their own faith and embark on the journey of raising their children in the Catholic faith.
Let’s get to families while the “cement is still wet” and welcome, accompany, and evangelize young parents and their children as they take their first steps on this faith formation journey! For more information about Springs of Faith, contact your Loyola Press Educational Consultant.