From a reader…
Do you have any advice on catechizing children who have an apathy for the faith, and whose family come to Mass, but that’s it there is no teaching going on in the home. The kids I teach at the church are in 5th-7th grade and don’t even know how to make the sign of the cross. I am some what demoralized by this.
RESPONSE OF FR. TIM FERGUSON
I’m hearing this constantly – people are reluctant to get involved in teaching catechism at the parish because the kids are so uninterested/unprepared, or the parents undermine ever lesson the teacher tries to get across. I think what’s needed in many places is a shift in focus – CCD teachers need to think of themselves as evangelists – almost imagine that they’re introducing kids to the faith for the first time, and that they’re the only one’s from whom these kids will learn the faith. I think of the opening scenes of the movie “The Mission” where Fr. Gabriel goes up into the mountains to the pagans who’ve just crucified the last missionary sent to them. Yet, he doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t run away – he draws on the strength of the Holy Spirit and dives right in. We truly are in a culture that has largely shrugged off it’s Christian identity. We can no longer think of handing on the faith the way our grandparents and great grandparents did. We have to think like missionaries.
ADDITION BY FR. Z:
I wonder to what extent interest is being squelched by the power of the little screens kids stare at all day long.