The religious education of our children is a very important concern of mine.
What is frustrating to the religious education teachers, to the priests and to others involved is the disconnect that often is present when it comes to formal religious instruction and to the living out the faith on a daily basis. Too often, students are dropped off for class but are not present in church on a regular weekly basis. Let’s face facts. We do not see anywhere near the same number of children in church as we may see coming for religious education classes. This gap is even more apparent during times like summer vacation.
What do we do? An hour or two of religious education each week for several months each year is not and has never been an adequate solution. The Church has said continually that parents are the first educators of their children when it comes to religious faith and practice. When we bring a new life into the world we realize that we have to feed, clothe, and educate our children. Hopefully we realize that we are also responsible for an immortal soul and the eternal salvation of a person as well. We cannot leave this responsibility to chance in an often amoral--if not immoral--world.
What has been said for students in religious education programs is also true for our students who attend a Catholic school. The must be a connection with the local parish and with the every day living out of the Catholic faith.
I always welcome your ideas and suggests on how we can continue to close this gap and have our young people more active and involved in the life of the Church.
Fr. Ed Namiotka