Catechesis for the whole family been something that has been talked about in catechetical circles often in the number of years. How do we get our families more involved? We know that the faith formation of children relies more on families than it does on our religious education programs. This year I’ve organized a plan to incorporate the family each month in our religious education program. On the last Wednesday (the day we meet for faith formation) of the month instead of meeting in the classroom we have programming for both kids and their parents. We make sure that this programing is engaging, a time of learning something about our faith and a time where both parnets and child can experience the faith together – have common experiences in relation to faith formation. Here is what we have done the last two months:
Our Theme was Divine Mercy. We spoke about the message of Divine Mercy (and polish saints) and showed images of the Divine Mercy, St. Faustina’s convent. We also involved the kids in this where we brought them up front to give answers. In addition we spoke of the Divine Mercy Image and how it is believed that on the palm of Jesus’ hand is written all the names of humanity. We had kids and their parents go to a station (we had about 5 spread throughout our meeting space) and sign their name on the hand of Jesus. Then an adult traced a cross with oil that was placed on the grave of St. Faustina on the palm of their hand saying “Jesus I trust in you” or “May the Mercy of God continue to be with you”. Another activity that everyone did was make a decade Rosary where we prayed and encouraged them to often pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This was a beautiful evening and very well received.
We gathered and shared about the Joyful Mysteries. Our speakers had been to all the actual sites which the Joyful Mysteries speak of and showed pictures of those places. They spoke of the Church of Bethlehem where there is a narrow door called the “door of humility” where people enter to see the site where Jesus was born. Students and parents filled out a prayer petition. They then went to one of 5 stations around the room where we had replicated a door of humility where they had to bend down and then go to place their petition in the place symbolizing where Christ was born (see picture below). We actually had some dirt from Bethlehem that they were able to touch as well. Here are some images.
It has been wonderful to involve the family in our catechetical program. We are getting a lot of great feedback as well as helping families grow in faith together.
This is just one of the programs we offer. We also offer a Family Formation Program where both parents and kids come once a month (kids in their grade level classroom and parents in one location to learn at their level what the kids are learning in class) and then parents are given lessons for the next 3 weeks to do at home with their children, thus equiping them to be primary educators of their children’s faith.
How are you involoving families in your catechetical ministry?
I'm married and have 3 children and continually feel blessed because of them! I've been in ministry for the better part of 18 years. Currently I serve as the Director of Religious Formation at a parish in Overland Park, Kansas. I'm passionate about catechesis and love to empower catechists through formation and outside the box lesson plans helping others draw students into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church! I have a BA in Theology and a MA in Theology and Catechetics from Franciscan University.