Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When I was a kid, I always enjoyed this time of year. Going back to school was sort of exciting– call me weird. I liked seeing my classmates and hanging out with friends. I even looked forward to my first day of Kindergarten – just ask my mom. Recently, I have been thinking about education and religious education in particular. Today, I want to reflect on the role of parents as educators of our children in the faith of Our Lord Jesus.
Our Lord wants us to take our responsibility in handing on the faith very seriously. A reminder of the parent’s role is part the baptismal rite of children in the Catholic Church. This role as main educator is something that Catholic parents commit to before God, namely, to the Christian education of their children. The rite of Baptism reminds parents (and godparents) of their duty to bring their children up by teaching them the law of Christ and His Church. This is a very serious obligation that parents have promised to Our Lord. The important part that parents have in raising their children in the faith cannot be emphasized too much. Sadly, I witnessed many parents who are asking the Church for the Sacrament of Baptism for their infant children or for the Sacraments of Confession, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation are themselves not sufficiently prepared to fulfill what the priest reminds them of at the beginning of the Rite of Baptism for children: “It will be your responsibility to bring him up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.”
In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus commands His apostles and their followers to build the Kingdom of God: “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.” To help our children to become disciples, parents must learn and accept by faith what Our Lord teaches by word and example. Their children who become disciples are then able to demonstrate by their life that they observe all the commands Jesus gave them. If parents don’t teach their children the Catholic faith, who will?
As we begin this school year, I have been praying for parents of students of all ages — from preschool to postgraduate — that for the sake of our culture, they will take their education seriously but most importantly, that they will seek to learn and to live the Catholic faith. Teaching and living the faith is in fact, the most important thing that parents for their children. For above all else, parents must prepare their children for the journey and the road to heaven, by word and example.
St. Bernadette staff and catechists work very hard to give your children a quality religious education program year after year. But remember that the work of religious education is supplemental to your efforts on the home front. In other words, the blessings of my religious education only assisted my parents in their work at home. My parents taught me to pray. My parents taught me to live a moral life. My parents instilled in me the need to serve others in Christ’s name. My parents taught me how to repent from my sins. My parents brought me to Mass and helped me to make Sunday Mass the top priority. My parents opened my eyes to a call to priestly service that in the end, has made my life most fulfilling. I pray that this parental call to teach the faith to your children is your top priorities during this year!
Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding. Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance. Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.BACK TO LIST