Winding Down & Winding Up
Apr 29, 2018
There is a sense in which the year is winding down. Earlier this month, several youth from both Parishes celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. Next weekend, May 5th & 6th, a number of children in both Parishes will be receiving Holy Communion for the first time. We are approaching the end of the year for structured classes of religious formation for our children and youth, and yes, even for adults.
Danger lurks when and as the process of Christian formation is aligned with the academic school year. Many associate religious formation classes with academic classes that we take in school. As students or as former students, we welcome the summer break. It’s good to get away from formal learning for a time.
While Christian faith formation has material to be learned, growing in our faith life embraces a whole lot more than becoming familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as important and as essential as this is.
Growing as a Catholic Christian can be likened to experiencing family life in an ever fuller way. What if, as individuals, we were separated from day-to-day participation in family life and activities for 3 months at a time every year? This would affect us as individuals and as families in significant ways. A lot can happen over a three month period that would influence our development. If family life is to be the source of strength and support that the Lord designed it to be, we need to be present to one another in our families at all times during the year.
This pertains to our lives as Christians. The Faith of the Church that we celebrate at Mass has implications for all aspects of our lives, both as individuals and as members of the groups to which we belong. As we take this to heart, we will want to grow in our faith life as fully as we can during the coming summer period as we do during the other three seasons.
I offer the following as ways in which we might plan now to do this: 1) continue to participate at Mass at least each weekend and on Obligatory Holy Days; Homilies try to indicate how the Scripture Readings relate to daily living. 2) Make time and room each day for prayer individually and with our family. 3) Pray grace together before meals with our family both at home and in public places, such as at restaurants. This is a practical and easy way to witness to our Faith. 4) Take advantage of the variety of resources that the “Formed” program makes available. 5) Plan to participate in Vacation Bible School. 6) Let others help us in our neediness. 7) Reach out in service to others on a regular (12 month basis). 8) Discuss how current events support and express Christian values. 9) Stand up for persons who are being exploited or bullied. 10) Participate proactively in community groups that promote the common good. 11) Act as a good sport, both as a participant and as a fan in athletic/competitive activities.
As important as is what we do is why we either act in certain ways or avoid acting in given ways. Sharing this provides a natural opportunity to express how faith relates to life and to offer a witness to others.
Vital goals of our religious formation programs are to help us to understand the Faith that we celebrate and to point to directions in which we might live this out. When we are away from structured opportunities for Christian formation, we are challenged to live our Faith in a manner that will invite others to want to experience with us in ever-fuller ways the One for Whose Presence all persons are yearning.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor