Do Young Children Have the Capacity for a Relationship with Jesus?

The Catholic Parents' Survival Guide: Straight Answers to Your Kids' Toughest Questions by Julianne Stanz - author pictured next to book cover

Enjoy this excerpt from The Catholic Parents’ Survival Guide.

Question: Do young children have the capacity for a relationship with Jesus?

—Javier and Gloria, parents of one

Answer: Yes, children have a very real capacity to understand and develop a relationship with Jesus. Let me share this story with you. When my daughter was 3 years old, she could be a bit of a challenge at Mass. Coming forward to receive Holy Communion, for example, was always interesting. She would accompany me and wave and smile at people and whisper little greetings to her friends along the way. One Sunday, as I was kneeling in prayer after communion, she asked me if Mass was almost over. I replied that very soon we would sing one more song, say goodbye to Jesus, and go home. She then darted into the middle of the aisle, kneeled for a few moments, and began to wave at the altar. Our pastor saw her and waved back. At the top of her voice she loudly exclaimed, “Not you, not you! I am saying goodbye to Jesus before we go home!” Despite the interruption, we all smiled, and it gladdened us to know that in our daughter’s heart Jesus is as real to her as the people she sees before her. Oh, that we would all approach Jesus with the same childlike simplicity and trust!

—Wayne and Julianne, parents of three

About Julianne Stanz 80 Articles
Julianne Stanz is the Director of Outreach for Evangelization and Discipleship at Loyola Press and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. She served previously as Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay. Julianne infuses her talks, retreats, and seminars with humor, passion, and insights from her life in Ireland. A popular speaker, storyteller, and author, Julianne is married with three children and spends her time reading, writing, teaching, and collecting beach glass. She is the author of Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church, Developing Disciples of Christ, Braving the Thin Places, and co-author, with Joe Paprocki, of The Catechist’s Backpack.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.