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To make a difference, teach the faith

First slide

I’ve tried to keep some sense of normal for my family throughout the summer. I look outside my window and see the bright sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing in a late shower to ease the punishing humidity.  It’s been a busy day. My kids have been riding bikes, playing games and eating me out of house and home.  With the new school year beginning, we need to refocus on their education. What do we want our children to learn — even beyond their school curriculum?

I look at my TV screen and count the rising COVID-19 cases, I hear politicians creating promises that will bankrupt our great-grandchildren and I see violent protests in the streets of our cities. I’m grateful the TV is not a window; the world seems upside down. I wonder what kind of society my children will grow up in and how I can best prepare them?

Children receive many conflicting messages and have good questions; they need clear answers and to understand that God loves them even in uncertain times. Now, more than ever, we should speak the truth of Christ, and be able to defend our faith. We must bear witness to the dignity of every person made in God’s image.

Faith formation is important; what we believe matters. Our education informs who we are and gives us the information we need to live in true freedom.

At this time of year as children go back to school, parishes go back to offering faith formation classes. Public school and home-schooled children come together to grow in the faith in these programs. This year, some parishes will offer online classes, others will offer low-tech at-home classes, and some will meet on site. This is a most necessary ministry and this year many catechists (teachers of the faith) are needed for teaching in different ways. If you need training, it is available.

If you cannot teach, you can still support parish faith formation in other ways. Could you volunteer to contact and support families teaching the faith at home this year? Could you help assemble take-home packages for children? Could you make a donation to your parish faith formation program or commit to praying for the children?

Sharing and teaching the faith gives children a context to all their other subjects and gives a framework to their lives. What they learn as children will be drawn upon in important and decisive moments throughout their lives. Faith formation is a way to make a better future; Christ is the answer to all the world’s problems.

Lienhard is the director of the Catholic Education Center and special consultant for catechetics for the Diocese of Arlington.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020