A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
Becoming Partners in the Catechism Program
While we are still trying to combat the pandemic, the one concern of all practicing Catholics is the faith formation of children. The diocese of Lafayette is expressing its concern over the present situation of catechesis.
Bishop Douglas Deshotel, after his installation as the bishop of Lafayette in April 2016, said that catechesis was to be one of the top priorities of his ministry to the people of the diocese. “It is an important goal;” the Bishop stated, “the handing on of the faith is the most basic and fundamental call to mission…” His words draw our attention very much because many individuals raised in Catholic homes, who after achieving independence as young adults, now identify as “non-affiliated”, with any religion. (Also refer to my article: “Faith Formation and Its Problems” published in the 25th of April bulletin).
A child is influenced by many factors/persons as they grow. This may be from a priest, deacon, teacher, youth minister, or a robust religious educational program in a parish or even attending a catholic school. A sociological study has revealed that they are not the most influence on a child remaining a practicing catholic from adolescence into emerging adulthood. It is witness of the faith they received from their parents.
The present system of parents putting their children in CCD classes and not having any partnership with the entire program is not yielding the desired result in the long run. Hence the current thinking of the diocese is that a paradigm shift (new approach) should take place regarding the catechetical program. It should become a center of parish life, so much so that it should lead to the ongoing formation and evangelization of all parishioners. “The most imperative thing we can do for the church at this time is to empower parents to be the primary catechists in the lives of their children,” Bishop Deshotel said in his letter to the priests on January 27, 2021.
Hence, the Bishop has requested the office of catechesis (Christian Formation) provide strategies, opportunities, and effective training to prepare volunteer catechists, paid and volunteer directors of religious education, youth ministers, RCIA instructors, as well as any layperson seeking a thorough theological and pedagogical approach to handing on the Catholic faith.
Several free and available resources for ongoing formation are available for you to create accounts in and explore at www.diolaf.org/christian-formation. After much research, our diocese has partnered with the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. St. Bernadette (like other church parishes) has subscribed to the Institute at the cost of $300 per year. Instructional videos and registration information can also be found on the website.
Anyone from our parish who wants to learn from it has access to it. It is my earnest desire that every family of our parish benefit from these resources. I wholeheartedly want to encourage you, my beloved people, to use this tool as an aid to grow in your faith while walking that journey with each of your children.
I browsed some fine words which I share with you: “It is from God that parents receive their children, and it is to God they should lead them.” The best way by which you can lead them is through witnessing faith. “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” What you speak to your children and what they hear from you are very important, for their eyes are like cameras and their ears are like video recorders. “The best inheritance a parent can give to his/her children is a few minutes of their time each day.” Take a few minutes daily to pray with your children.
My hope and prayer is to empower and equip you as parents to be the first to influence, to witness to your children. This is what we need to do at this difficult time of ours. If the parents of our children show interest in this program and become part of this program in the faith formation of their children, then “you are not far away from the Kingdom of God” (Mk 12:34).