Pastor's Corner 082513

posted Aug 22, 2013, 6:37 AM by Music Director

                We have completed our third week of summer Religious Education (“CCD”) and all 3 were a smashing success.  The children loved it; their parents loved it; their catechists and aides loved it; Mary Ann Exler and her wonderful staff loved it; and I loved it!  And why not?  What’s NOT to love about it?

               Sure, it takes a lot of work, a lot of effort to put a program like this together.  Religious instruction for the young outside of a Catholic school has never been easy.  After a long day at school, followed by sports or cheerleading practices, music or dance lessons, homework, and family and other extracurricular activities, what kid wants to or even can focus on learning the lessons of our faith?  Parents are exhausted after a long day at work and then have to shuttle kids all over creation!  They get cranky, the kids get cranky, and that’s what gets dropped in a volunteer catechist’s lap!  Good luck trying to teach them about the dual nature of Christ or the mystery of the Holy Trinity! 

               Is it no wonder that there are several generations of Catholics who know precious little about our faith?  The old model of religious instruction on a weekday or evening during the school year just hasn’t been very effective.  How could it, given all that families must contend with?  In summer, however, there are no other distractions competing for a child’s attention.  In fact, many children get bored after a few weeks of vacation from school and welcome the opportunity to see their friends and classmates.  Their minds are fresh for learning, it’s only a week out of summer recess, and we end up having not just more quality time with them, but more quantity of time with them (35 total hours, verses about 22 for the average academic year CCD program).  This enables us to offer them experiences and opportunities that we can’t offer during the academic year.

               Every day of the week in our summer program, for example, the children, their catechists and aides, and even some parents attend the 9:00 AM Mass, which helps them to become more familiar with Mass and its practices.  They tour the church and learn about the different aspects of worship.  They pray the Stations of the Cross, experience Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, go on field trips to major area shrines.  These summer sessions enable us to do all these things and more, including each and every lesson of the curriculum, and the children ENJOY it!  They come away with a much more positive attitude toward Catholic faith, and want to learn more about it.  Some of them who attended the July session even asked if they could come back for the August one!  Did you EVER hear a kid ask for MORE CCD classes?  In 31 years of priesthood, that’s a first for me!

               Why more parishes don’t do this is beyond me.  But I’m so terribly glad we do.  We owe a great deal of thanks to Mrs. Exler, her staff, and all those wonderful volunteer catechists and aides, many of them teenagers, many of them Moms and Dads who are not professional teachers but are giving of their time, energy and effort to help the young come to a better knowledge and understanding of our faith, and I can’t help but envision a great big smile on the face of our Father in heaven!  God bless them all!

               Summer is rapidly passing now, but we’re also on the verge of one of my favorite seasons…FOOTBALL season.  My Eagles still have a lot of work to do, but I’m getting amped up for them.  But for now, I’ll just say…

 

In His Love,

Fr. Mike

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