Before I do two posts on the latest First Communion workbook lessons, I want to give some big kudos to our parish for the supplemental material they used in class and sent home this week.First, they gave out Halloween candy! No, the candy wasn't the good part. The good part is the paper attached to every bag of candy. It reads:
"Hallows Eve" sounds like Halloween.
Halloween is celebrated on the "Eve" or
night before "All Saints Day."
All Saints Day used to be called "All Hallows."
Candy given today on Halloween comes from
An old-time practice of eating "little cakes"
On "All Hallows" and then praying for
The souls of all our Catholic ancestors
Who died and are in Heaven.
Say a prayer this week for all the souls in Heaven!
I have never seen a parish explain where Halloween actually came from. Okay, so now you have a cheap tool for evangelization to give out with every piece of candy on Halloween.
Secondly, my daughter's teacher explained what Holy Days of Obligation are and reminded everyone that they needed to go to Mass on All Saints' Day.
Thirdly, the teacher is supplementing the religious ed workbook with My First Catechism, a great, inexpensive catechism for little kids.
Finally, and best of all, is the religious education newsletter that was sent home with all religious education students today. The newsletter starts off with information about a "teaching Mass" that is required for all confirmands. This Mass is going to be a step-by-step walk through of the Mass with explanations given by our pastor. The next page provides a list of recommended movies for family viewing. The list gives ratings, a brief description and warns if the movie is too mature for young children. The list includes:
- Enchanted April
- Chicken Run
- Lilies of the Field
- The Bicycle Thief
- Cheaper by the Dozen (the original)
- Trip to Bountiful
- The Incredibles
- Roman Holiday
- The Incredible Journey
- March of the Penguins
- Shindler's List
- Babette's Feast
- Singing in the Rain
- The Pink Panther
- National Velvet
- The Tree of Wooden Clogs
- Around the World in Eighty Days
- Chariots of Fire
- Citizen Kane
- Modern Times
- Stand and Deliver
- The Blue Angel
- The Bear
- Born Free
The best part of the packet is a five-page essay titled "The Catholic Family". The essay comes from the Association for Catechumenal Ministry. We carry this company's RCIA program and recommend it for every parish. The student book is $300 BUT you only need to buy one for the entire parish because once purchased you have unlimited reproduction rights for the entire book making it a great investment for the parish.
The essay starts off this way:
In the latter part of the twentieth century, a breakdown in the family occurred that had not previously been experienced. Divorce rates, which had been roughly stable except for a brief period after World War II, began rising and are more than twice as high as forty years ago. Many millions of children are victimized by the breakup of their parents' marriages, and themselves grow up wary of committed relationships. Each new break with the law of God has brought additional havoc to the family. Not only divorce, but also contraception, cohabitation, and abortion have devastated marriage and the family. A huge variety of social pathologies exist that seem to rise as the number of intact, stable, two-parent homes falls. And, although children may manage to develop into healthy, happy adulthood, more who might have done so, do not. Yet there is a better way to create a home and raise children, to avoid these tragedies and rebuild the foundation of human society.
What a Catholic Family Looks Like
In God's plan, the family is a community, founded upon the marital consent of the spouses, and the children they bring into the world or adopt. Marriage exists for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of the children with which God blesses them. The education and nurturing of their children is the right, responsibility, and privilege of parents. With this wonderful privilege comes accountability to God for its responsible fulfillment.
I would love to reprint the entire essay but since it is copyright, I'm not going to. I will say that the essay goes on to quote Ephesians on the roles of husbands and wives (both the bit about mutual submission and that part about wives being submissive that priests tend to leave out of the Gospel reading). The essay also talks about the Holy Family being the example to follow.
The section on raising children is also quite good. It starts:
Raising Catholic Children
Before God, before themselves, and before society, a husband and wife as parents in a family have awesome and indispensable responsibilities. First, they must know that they live not with but for each other; for happiness here and hereafter. They are responsible for living in such a way as to assure that they will be forever together in Heaven. They have a reciprocal responsibility for each other's sanctity and salvation. To fulfill this obligation of mutual love and to provide the proper environment for wholesome Catholic living, parents establish a home characterized by respect, tenderness, fidelity, forgiveness, and self-sacrificing service. In this Catholic home, virtue can grow, for it is fostered by self-denial, solicitude, and just judgment as well as by a spirit of faith through which the things of God are given priority over the lesser things of daily concern.
Th next section gives a list of four things that are essential to religious education and says that these things need to begin in preschool:
- Children must learn to pray.
- Children must learn to worship in community. They insist that taking all your kids to Mass is vital and that teaching them to behave and pay attention is critical.
- Children must learn Catholic attitudes.
- A sense of the sacred
- A sense of family
- A sense of the good
- A love of truth
- A sense of service
- A sense of hope
- Parents must help their children learn to avoid and resist sin. This section is interesting because it ties in the Bible passage about a millstone around the neck to not only overt attempts to get children to sin but also to the failure of parents to teach their children right from wrong.
I hope your parishes provide wonderful material like this. It gives me hope that the next generation of the Faithful might actually have a clue about what the Faith is.