The Catholic Family and the Parish Community: Partners in Faith Formation
As the Church teaches us, “family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2226).
Given this knowledge, how is the local parish to respond? The answer is, by fostering a proper partnership between parents who are the “first educators” of their children, and the larger Eucharistic community which is made present in the local parish. This is the mission we at Holy Cross have taken with utmost seriousness. Together with our catechists and our Faith Formation staff (Morgan Smith our Coordinator of Family Catechesis and Caroline Lyngdal our Coordinator of Sacramental Formation and Family Life), Fr. Howe and I have embarked on the reformation of our children’s sacramental preparation program according to the model of “Family Faith Formation.”
As Morgan Smith has put it, Holy Cross Family Faith Formation springs from three central concepts that give birth to three fundamental goals.
The three concepts are:
Holistic: The program involves the whole parish, the whole family, and the whole person centered around Christ and His Church.
Active: The program runs on a 4 week cycle, each week different from the next to ensure engagement and energy. We utilize time in the school gym before classes, Family Nights with Mass and dinner, and "labs where the children and adults can act out and live out the faith.
Intuitive: The program uses a “Catholic Studies” approach that calls upon Sacred Scripture, great literature, solid theology, and an emphasis on personal experience and living out life with Christ.
The three goals are:
To foster a real and true community of Roman Catholic believers who know how to live out their faith.
To help families educate their children in the faith in a solid, faithful, interesting, and active way.
To prepare children in the parish to receive the sacraments appropriate for their age and/or readiness.
So we’ve given you some information here, but we also want to emphasize that Family Faith Formation at Holy Cross involves the whole parish. You, the parishioners of Holy Cross, have an integral role in helping families to enter more deeply into the Christian life and therefore into local parish life. This means that you are all invited to attend certain aspects of our Family Faith program.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for regular postings about the Adult Formation aspect of Family Faith on Wednesday evenings during the school year. Come to enrich your knowledge and experience of Catholicism, and to meet and foster relationships with those families who need deeper incorporation into our local parish community. Parish growth is not merely the responsibility of your pastors, but belongs to all of us, together.