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posted Jul 26, 2013, 12:10 PM by Church Office   [ updated Jul 26, 2013, 12:10 PM ]

As parents, you are the ones who make most of the day-to-day decisions in your young children's lives. In the early stages you choose what they wear, what they eat and so on. Many of you have made, or will make, the choice to raise your children within the Catholic faith. Often as parents, we don't always know what is really required of us in this task, or quite how to manage it. The following is a brief guideline to help. Some things are more important than others. In fact, some are absolute requirements, whereas others are suggestions.

At home, parents are the first teachers of their children in everything--this obviously extends to the area of faith, too. You are the role model, the example for your child. Do you talk to God regularly? Does God have any place in your life? Do you have a relationship with God? This may be an area you have neglected or are struggling with, but it's an area that needs your attention. Sometimes working at the same level as your child, i.e. simple conversations with God and saying traditional prayers, can renew your own faith life. Even young children can begin to pray with your help. They can be encouraged to thank God for the good things in their lives, and turn to Him in times of need. They can begin to learn traditional prayers and the Sign of the Cross. Prayer can also become a regular part of their day, at meals and bedtime for example.

It is helpful if each child has a copy of the Children's Bible so they can become familiar with simple stories and characters. They more they hear about God, the more they will begin to see Him as a real part of their life.

It is SO IMPORTANT that Catholic parents bring their children to Mass each weekend. They are not just the future of our Church, but through Baptism, they are members of our Church! Obviously, parents with very young children need to be sensitive to the needs of others to pray and worship without interruption, but even small children can be accom-modated through the use of an available Cry Room.

Children should also be encouraged to participate actively in Mass. Once again, your example is crucial. If you don't sing, they probably won't either. If you don't appear to enjoy or value the Mass, they probably won't either. If you want your children to get more out the Mass, then once again, you need to lead by example. Perhaps invest in a Missal so that you can follow the Mass and try to understand it a little better.

As Catholic parents, you are the natural leaders of your children to the faith. The parish and the school help you to fulfill this task, but ultimately you have to be involved in the faith life of your child. This is not something the parish, or the school, or the CCD classroom can "do" for you.

One of the most important things that you can do as a Catholic parent is to support and prepare your child to receive the Sacraments. This begins with living an active faith life in your family, and enrolling your child into CCD classes so that they can more fully understand and prepare for the reception of the Sacraments.