“100 years from now, the only thing that will matter is our relationship with Jesus Christ.”
There are 940 Saturdays from when a child is born to when they turn 18 years old. As many of you probably already know, this time flies by. We want to make sure that families get the most out of each week together, and we believe that what happens on Wednesdays and Sundays can have a dramatic influence on what happens on Saturdays, or Mondays, or any other day of the week.
For the past two years, my wife Nicole and I have been able to attend the Orange Tour. This is a conference that travels the U.S. to help church leaders learn to better support families. The concept is simple: if we take the light of the church (yellow) and combine it with the love of the family (red), we get orange. As Catholics, this is something we’ve been valuing for a long time now—but haven’t always done the best job of actually supporting families. Last weekend was “Catechetical Sunday”; this weekend we have the blessing of our Acts 29 peer ministers; and last week, in the midst of blessing our Catechists for the year, Fr. Brian reminded us that: “parents are the primary educators of their children.” (General Directory for Catechesis, USCC, 1997) But what does this mean? And how does our parish support families in the passing of faith to children and youth?
Passing on the Faith
Luckily, we’re in a season of new beginnings. As the school year gets underway, so do many of our wonderful ministry opportunities at our parish. First, we have our Adult Faith Alive! opportunities. Booklets with programming information should be available in the foyer beginning this weekend. Pick yours up after Mass if you haven’t already—look for your name on the back cover. One of the best ways you can pass on your faith is to outwardly show your kids or grandkids that your faith is important enough to you that you will dedicate extra time to growing in it each week. Another way we hope to support families is through various parent nights as part of our Wednesday night programming throughout the year. We hope to utilize these events as ways to inform and equip parents. We also will be holding two all-parish events this year: November 16th with Jeff Kaster and “Closing out the Year of Mercy” and February 1st with Archbishop Hebda. We hope that these will be opportunities for spiritual growth for all ages. If you have a child in, or are interested in, youth ministry for grades 6-12, you can sign up for our monthly Youth Ministry eNews on our parish website. Each month, we try to include at least one parent resource that can help parents minister to their kids. We also have great Sunday ministries like Sunday School and Children’s Liturgy of the Word, which have messages geared towards younger ears, but also allow parents to more fully engage in Sunday worship themselves.
Youth Ministry: Grades 6-8
This year, our Youth Ministry Program will look a little different. We’re expanding it from grades 9-12 into grades 6-12. We’ve hired Nicole Smalley as a 20 hour per week Coordinator of Youth Ministry and Catechesis for Grades 6-8. She comes with a background of working with middle school students for over eight years! We think that this staffing change will help us to continue to grow our youth ministry program to new heights, but we won’t be able to do it alone. We will need your help. If you value the Church and think that it has something to offer future generations, or if you think younger generations have something to offer to the Church, we ask that you prayerfully consider volunteering to help with youth ministry in either middle or high school. We promise to try and make it easy for you—all you need is a heart that loves kids. If this sounds like you, please email me at email@example.com. Be on the lookout for more on how this ministry is changing throughout the year!
Faith Formation Kickoff: THIS WEDNESDAY!
If any of this sounds interesting to you, I would like to invite you to our annual Faith Formation Kickoff Event this Wednesday (September 28) from 6:30-7:45pm to get a feel for what faith formation is like at our parish. It is meant for those families who are registered in faith formation for the year, but we would love to have anyone come! If you’d like to register for faith formation, it is not too late, but please register ASAP on our website!
As we continue to think “Orange”, we will need your input. We hope to continue to build and evaluate each year, and want your feedback. We hope to continue to grow into a parish that supports families, especially during these first 940 weeks. Focusing so much time and energy on these first 940 weeks of life does not mean that our influence cannot be felt beyond high school graduation. Rather, we must all recognize the importance of sharing our faith with young people, especially during their most formative years. The more we can all think “Orange” the greater our influence will become in our local community.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Grades 6-12 Faith Formation & Young Adult Ministry