Friday, November 14, 2008

Christian Education in Our Parishes

The conversations going on in the comment section of the previous article have made me curious about the types of Christian formation or education that are occurring in our parishes. Perhaps in this thread, readers of this blog can comment on the types of programs your parish offers and whether they are successful in teaching about the Catholic Faith.

If you name specific programs, please explain a little about their content. Some of us may not know these programs. Give us your success stories or what you consider failures. I invite people from other dioceses to add their comments also. We can learn from each other. Include programs for both children and adults. And describe your parish.

My own parish is a small one and has many elderly people. Several times each year there will be a Christian education week for adults in the parish. Speakers are brought in to speak on many different subjects; primarily on peace and justice issues. There is a yearly parish retreat that is very well attended. There is also at least one scripture-sharing group that meets on a regular basis. Homilies are a teaching tool in our parish.

The few children we have, receive formation pertaining to the sacraments as they reach the appropriate age. There is a newly formed youth group where prayer, participation in ministry, and scripture reading is encouraged. We have lost many of our young people to other Christian churches because we have not been able to provide a consistent Catholic education program for them.

It is really quite sad. One problem is that we did not have clergy available for many years and so our priority had been simply to keep the church open. We look to have some relief in the future.

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