Here are five of Bishop Mario Grech's faith sharing ideas for parents to use with their children from one of his homilies entitled - a renewed catechesis.
1. Believe in your own imperfect family and connect faith to life
Bishop Mario felt sure enough to say that “even the most dysfunctional family is good enough to cultivate the seeds of the Kingdom of God.” When a son he sees his father trust in God during an illness, a thankful mother in front of an act of providence, or two parents forgiving each other or a third party, we are passing on the faith. “Faith does not depend on learning abstract truths by heart”, but one starts to believe when s/he passes through certain experiences and starts seeing patterns of how God works. “When a person is encompassed by the beauty of God, one will then look for knowledge.”
2. Nourish yourself, even if you’re busy
Bishop Mario encourages us to realise that in our daily life, we are in a relationship with God. “Faith is the fruit of an encounter with Christ. “Nourish yourself with his word” and realise that you as a parent have a role to play in the Kingdom of God. Whether through a bible verse newsfeed, a support group, a spiritual director, or simply some moments of quiet or prayer you will soon realise how regular spiritual nourishment gives you life just as much as good food and air.
3. Find your own creative ways to pass on the good news
We can experiment with various styles to discover how our child prefers to pray or learn. Is it through singing/dancing to a religious song from YouTube, a spontaneous prayer, a bible story, a favourite prayer s/he knows by heart? Bishop Mario states that those who believe have been entrusted with “the mission to pass on the Good News”.
4. Become an accompanying parent
Whatever our family type – single, blended, traditional etc we are called to be “a protagonist – an accompanying parent in the faith journey of your child,” says Bishop Mario. In accepting this role, the mother or father will soon realise that they themselves are also growing in their life of faith. Passing on faith cannot be imposed or presented as a should, but rather as another resource in life. Respect the child’s way of prayer, un/belief, doubt etc and being there lovingly.
5. Feasts need faith to be meaningful
“Religious activity without faith will become meaningless.” Bishop Mario explains how important feasts in the Judaic tradition are, presented in a way that parents relate how “God worked in the life of the people, what He had done with them, so that the child can realise God’s ways of loving and mercy.” It is only after these kind of experiences that we set stage for faith to mature, for questions to be asked. It is only then, that we can move on to pass the content of faith, and for prayers and feasts to be meaningful according to the Bishop.
Embarking on taking these steps can be much more enriching than simply delegating this role to catechists. The catechists role is to supplement rather than replace the role of parents. “The parents should be the protagonists to accompany their children in their faith journey”.
Article compiled by Universe of Faith
Published: May 2018
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