How to raise committed Catholic kids

Father And Son Praying Before MealA note to readers from Homefaith.com: At Home with Our Faith newsletter was honored with a fourth consecutive First Place award for Special Interest Newsletter from the Catholic Press Association at its convention in Denver in June, 2013.  Judges called the newsletter “an outstanding quick read for busy parents” and praised “the regular material on sustaining a faith life within marriage.”

Also the essay “Wanted: A New Sacrament” by Annemarie Scobey was honored; judges said, “A sacrament for adoption! What a compelling idea! Apart from this intriguing suggestion, this essay is personal, smart, and well-crafted, delivering clear examples of caring parenting in action.”  To get At Home with Our Faith delivered to your home or parish nine times per year, subscribe here.

Homefaith is pleased to present an excerpt from Boston College theologian Thomas Groome’s interview with U.S. Catholic magazine:

What do you think of telling parents today, “You are your child’s primary religious educator”? Isn’t that line often met with a less than confident response?

See, the problem is that parents hear “educator” and immediately they think “school” and that they have to begin instructing their child as if they’re teachers. But this phrase does not mean formal, doctrinal teaching by parents. It really means the family should function as kind of a domestic church. This means that the environment of the home, its values, its language patterns, and its lifestyle have to be suffused with Christian values even though you’re not talking explicitly about God all the time.

In other words, let’s remember the rituals: morning prayers, night prayers, prayers before and after meals, what we put on the walls of our homes, getting a blessing as you go out the door. People have given up on some of these old rituals, but I don’t think it’s possible to raise a child in the faith without them. Even if you don’t go for the old ones, you’ll have to find new ones. And beyond the kindness and justice of the family toward its own members, don’t forget the family’s outreach with works of justice to the community as well.

It takes imagination to raise children in the faith. It doesn’t necessarily take an awful lot of time. But if you get that basic conversion, that initial conviction that God loves me, for example, that’s what you can build on.

So when people say to me, “Oh, what faith will I pass on?” I say, “Your own.”

What about the ever popular Catholic motivator, guilt, to spur parents on?

A bit of guilt might not be too bad. But let’s give people the resources, the suggestions, the networking, and maybe a bit of the guilt that prompts them to be responsible. Tell them you can’t delegate this to somebody else. You can’t drop the kid off for one hour once a week, go grab the groceries, and come back and expect to have a Christian ready to take home. You can’t expect that somebody else will make a Christian for you.

See the entire interview here.

At Home with Our Faith is Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2012 Best in Class award from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

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