We’re getting ready to start another school year and another year of religion classes. Those who go to Catholic schools have their religion classes at school, but those who go to public or non-Catholic private schools take their religion classes here at the parish. On Tuesday, August 28, we’ll have a meeting for those parents at 6:30 pm, after the 6:00 pm daily Mass.
We used to call this the CCD, which means Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the name of the organization which started the idea of having religion classes for children at parishes. Since almost no one knows what CCD means, we, like many other parishes, normally call it PSR, or Parish School of Religion, but even this can be misleading. It is a school, and we do want to teach these children about God, about the Bible, and about the Catholic tradition. We also want to do more than that. We want to help them form a real relationship with God.
Imagine that you’re sitting next to someone on a plane. For an hour on that plane, they have a captive audience to tell you all about their children and grandchildren and show you all their pictures. If that person is a total stranger and you don’t know their children, then that would be pretty boring, but if you do know them, then suddenly that same conversation is interesting to you. In the same way, it’s not enough to tell people about Jesus; we need to introduce them to Jesus and help them form a personal relationship with Him.
We can’t do that by ourselves. All the hours that these children spend in Church and in religion classes will be useless if they’re not also living it at home. Bring your children to Mass and explain what’s happening to them. If you think you don’t know enough to explain it, send me an email and I’ll help you; that’s my job. For younger children, read them stories about the lives of the saints. For older children and teenagers, get them involved in things at Church, like being an altar server or joining a youth group. Most importantly, live the faith yourself, strive to grow in holiness, and be a witness of what it means to be a Christian and a Catholic. When you try to love God better, you’ll find that you love the people around you more as well. That’s the single best thing you can do for your children.
Next Week: Fr. Bryan Recommends
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.