First Teachers of the Faith
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First Teachers of the Faith

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Parents are the first and foremost teachers of the faith in any religion. Yet some parents struggle with passing on the faith effectively to their children. This presentation discusses the foundation ...

Parents are the first and foremost teachers of the faith in any religion. Yet some parents struggle with passing on the faith effectively to their children. This presentation discusses the foundation of parents as first teachers of the faith, but extends the discussion to include ways the faith community can respond to support parents in that role of first teachers of the faith.

This presentation is offered for viewing by Roger Jay Schroeder of Comprise | Consulting and Enrichment. Contect Roger

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  • INTRO: Master of Arts in Pastoral Administration - Basically a Degree in Theology, and HOW TO APPLY theology in the community, or workplace I’m currently trying to use this degree to minister to the Church in the ways that I am able. Still have a full-time job, but slowly exploring the options of shifting gears to doing this full time.
  • PLEASE !!! Do not hesitate to ask a question, or make a comment. This presentation is for you, and the way for you to get the best out of it is for me to tell you what you NEED in order to get the best out of it.
  • JESUS : Ultimately… why we’re having this discussion PATIENT PERSISTENCE : Preserving the Faith INVITATION : Why e-mail & Facebook don’t work
  • Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, - MT 28:19 In a word… Evangelization
  • I’d like to outline ONE way that Jesus shapes Evangelization Remember that Jesus did a lot of teaching in a short amount of time. But His teaching ended up being a precursor to the formation of "The Way" as the early Christians were known. The full-scale revolution of this ideological faith-shift (from following Judaism to following Christ) did not take place until after His death. Maybe this explains in some way WHY Christ "had" to die. - Mel Gibson’s Movie… Scourging CHRIST’S DEATH & RESURRECION Violent culture Victory over Death Fulfillment of the Scriptures God Walking the Talk Coming through on promise FEELS GOOD Coming through on promises gives others hope Coming through on promises gives others Faith in You As we progress through our conversation (essentially on Evangelization) about supporting parents as first teachers of the faith, lets keep in the background that THROUGH JESUS, GOD FULFILLS HIS PROMISES AND GIVES THE PEOPLE HOPE.
  • PERSISTENCE & PATIENCE PERSISTENCE ISAIAH’S PEOPLE IN EXILE BIT Generations had passed – People in Exile Core of people held on to the faith Preserved “GOD” for the people (like holding onto family tradition) “ This is what the Schroeder’s DO!” Gives US an identity GOD did not need to be preserved, but the people needed GOD to be preserved because GOD gave them hope We only gotta put up with this crap a few more generations, and then our ancestors will have it MADE! When we persist in our faith we give hope to others “ Look, the Schroeder’s… go to church as a whole family, Have seven kids Only have one vehicle, and a small house Don’t talk about being too overcommitted, too busy, and too tired PATIENCE In order to persist, we often need patience Any of you have teenagers? (NEED I SAY MORE) Sometimes I wait for DAYS for the right opportunity to push my teenagers on things they ought to consider changing Sometimes I wait for DAYS to engage them in lively conversation I need to constantly be aware (persistence) and wait (patience) for the right moment A SECOND THEME to keep in the background through this conversation is that WE CANNOT GIVE UP. AND IN NOT GIVING UP, WE NEED TO BE PATIENT
  • This is why Newsletters, Email, and Facebook DON’T work as INVITATIONS to events. More than 90% of the people who respond positively to event invitations through email/Facebook/etc. ALREADY PLANNED TO ATTEND This is not to say that these forms if communication do not have their place. But they are best used to INFORM people, not to educate, solicit information, or invite. God gives us [almost] continual opportunities to draw closer to God Through Prayer In the Mass Following the 2 greatest Commandments “ Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. - (Mk 12:28-30) SO… THE THIRD THEME to keep in the background while we’re having this conversation is that of INVITING RELATIONSHIPS.
  • We can use these three ATTITUDES to support the core of our efforts to evangelize THROUGH JESUS, GOD FULFILLS HIS PROMISES AND GIVES US HOPE. WE CANNOT GIVE UP. (AND IN NOT GIVING UP WE NEED TO BE PATIENT) INVITE [new] RELATIONSHIPS TO FORM.
  • Let’s keep these ThreeAttitudes in mind as we discuss the topic of supporting parents as first teachers of the faith.
  • And we can trace this statement back through Vatican II, previous Popes, the Saints, all the way back to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”, and even into the old testament and the Jewish faith tradition.
  • Well… the ones that do it are doing well… - it’s the one’s that are NOT teaching their faith that capture our attention
  • Which brings us to Reality 2 Despite Parents Best Efforts…
  • We’re going to spend a little time on this one because it also helps us to understand the dynamic relationships individuals have with God and the Faith Community
  • 1. Similar statement to Pope John Paul II 2. You might be the best teacher in the world, but… 1. HOWEVER, back to the 1 st quote… if you DON’T …. Faith life of the adult could be impacted
  • REVISIT THIS IDEA FIRST
  • Much of Catholic Life and Religious Literacy (what we KNOW about our faith) is interconnected. Ex: How we come to KNOW God affects Mass Attendance. Our attendance at Mass can influence how we come to KNOW God. 1. Knowing the Oldest Man in the Bible probably does not influence Catholic Life 2. Attending the Lenten Fish Fry likely does not influence our knowledge of the Faith.
  • Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Survey of…. 1 in 3 said we TRY to go to Mass once a week Lumen Gentium = Dogmatic Constitution on the Church What Do We Mean By "Source and Summit"? To say the Eucharist is the "source and summit of Christian spirituality" means at least two things. Christian spirituality flows from the Eucharist as its source, the way light streams forth from the sun. Christian spirituality orients us to the Eucharist as its summit or highpoint – that to which all of our actions should ultimately be directed…. To RECEIVING CHRIST! (We are Spiritually wired to want to have a relationship with God)
  • Presence of Jesus is less visible
  • There are people we go to Mass with that may fit into this category… … there may even be people in this room who fit this category… … FOLKS, loving our neighbor as Jesus asks us to love involves “Care the Soul” of others - Chicken Soup for the… ????
  • Despite Parents Best Efforts
  • These are actual statements from actual FF teachers I have spoken with. Before we get to NEGATIVE in response to these statements, let’s revisit our ThreeAttitudes Think about the realities of our world?
  • Remember the Three Attitudes THROUGH JESUS, GOD FULFILLS HIS PROMISES AND GIVES US HOPE. WE CANNOT GIVE UP. INVITING RELATIONSHIPS.
  • These are actual statements from actual parents I have spoken with.
  • If this is true… Parents (and Grandparents) feel a LOT of STRESS from the responsibility of passing on the faith. That’s WHY they bring them to FF programs That’s WHY they don’t do much at home between Thursday and Tuesday That’s WHY they’re angry about Mandatory Meetings and Tuition Cost That’s WHY they blame the Church for…. ????? ( things that they shouldn’t) Parents/Grandparents KNOW they are expected to pass on the Faith, however: Many forget, and need to be gently reminded. Many think they made that promise to ___________ Parish, not to the Church Universal, and to God When people KNOW they are supposed to do something, and they don’t do it, what is their response (internally) Guilt/Shame/Regret/Disappointment/Anger Internal Feelings directly influence their External Response
  • Despite Parents Best Efforts, our society is RIFE with CDC
  • These represent additional realities facing Parents as First Teachers of the Faith & of Catholic Life in General. TIME: Many things – good and bad – compete for our time. (Why does God have to compete for our time?) VOLUNTEERS: Volunteers do good things, but is over-volunteering good for the community? ACTIVITIES: Sports, band, arts, etc. frequently go year-round, and are often organized by a community. (Our faith is year-round too, and is also organized by a community). SOCIAL CHANGE: American Culture has long tried to push the edge of the moral cliff in order to grant “freedoms” to everyone for everything. These often conflict with Church teaching – teaching which is rooted in Scripture & Tradition, and which has provided the best social benefits for society. Don’t believe me? What have been the pros and cons to our American Culture as a result of American Culture winning a victory over Church teaching by re-defining when “life” starts, and thereby declaring that abortion is not murder? POSITIVE DIALOGUE & DISCOURSE: As modeled by Fox News, MSNBC, politicians, and talk shows…. If you and I disagree on an issue, If I win the “debate” I’m right, and you’re wrong. (BTW: winning the debate is often decided by who can talk the most/loudest over the other, and NOT by who has the most compelling, academically defensible position.) And not only are you WRONG, but because you’re WRONG, that also makes you my newest ENEMY, and furthermore means that you are EVIL because your way is going to ruin the country. DECLINE IN RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: We (all religions) are losing members, which means we’re losing a PRESENCE in society. Fewer Christian/Jewish/Muslim devotees means fewer of these people are present in decision-making rooms in business and government. ATTENTION SPAN: regardless of whether or not the average attention span in people is shortening, most individuals daily life includes more opportunities for attention distraction than it used to. (e.g,. Driving 10 miles has more road signs, more drivers, more intersections, more vehicle controls, etc.). TECHNOLOGY: Technology has allowed more people to DO more. Is this always good? CHOICES: From paint to toothpaste the number of choices continues to increase – feeding our desire for individualization, and customization. (Does this make identifying with ONE church teaching more difficult?). More choices takes more time, and more thought energy and concentration, which takes away from other things in life.
  • Questions thus far? Comments ? Ready to move on?
  • SUMMARY THUS FAR
  • ThreeAttuitudes Support Evangelization We can use these three THEMES to support the core of our efforts to evangelize THROUGH JESUS, GOD FULFILLS HIS PROMISES AND GIVES US HOPE. WE CANNOT GIVE UP. (AND IN NOT GIVING UP WE NEED TO BE PATIENT) INVITE [new] RELATIONSHIPS TO FORM.
  • We have our ideals, but also must acknowledge the realities of the situations we’re dealing with.
  • Last chance???
  • Who better to respond to the needs of the Community… than the Community?
  • When considering a response, change, course of action, etc, “Nothing” is always a valid option. There are legitimate reasons to choose nothing as an option. (e.g. our parish is in the middle of a renovation project)
  • FOUR Core actions (that we as Christians express) that show an INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE toward Evangelization (e.g. toward Parents as 1 st Teachers of the Faith) Many of these are no doubt already occurring Prayer – During Eucharist, Spontaneous Support – Parents talking to parents of young children (after church, @ FF night) Modeling – coming to Mass (e.g. Summer Sunday Morning) Mentorship – Small Christian Communities, Prayer Groups, Mom’s Groups, Retreats Although Good and Beneficial, these represent individual, uncoordinated efforts. As such, these action may only be reaching a fragment of the Faith Community – the fragment that is visible. (e.g. talking to young family after Mass). I believe that is what is happening in our Faith Families, because these actions Are usually directed toward those expressing “like” qualities as our own BECAUSE They’re usually directed at those we SEE Do we see the non-church goers? Do we know all the Catholics on our street?
  • The most involved layer of response
  • SAME core actions shown through a COMMUNITY RESPONSE, but with different Scope and Emphasis Prayer – MAKE IT A FOCUS through Community Petitions, Specific Prayer Events, etc. Support – 1 st Teachers Support Group (TOPICS: Resources, Discipline, Purpose of FF) Modeling – Parents as 1 st Teachers SEMINAR SERIES (e.g. here’s how to develop a rhythm of learning) Mentorship – Teaching Teachers How to Teach
  • The Choice on how to respond DEPENDS on the abilities of the Community Ability of the Community to Respond may be impacted by: - Distractions - Building Project Staff Changes Priorities Apathy Lack of Consensus about the Problem
  • I threw out a few “ideas”, and have briefly jumped ahead to formulating a community response, but even before the community would decide how to respond, it must decide IF to respond.
  • It all starts with asking the right questions.
  • three general, but critical questions to ask… AGREEMENT Do we agree? … a significant number of its parents are in need of additional assistance in passing on the faith to their children? … the faith community should respond? … we can do it!? (that the faith community have the capacity to effectively respond to provide parents assistance in educating their children in the faith) (The Faith Community has a role to play?) SUPPORT ***THE PASTOR MUST BE ON-BOARD*** - PASTORS TAKE NOTICE: - Three layers of Pastoral Support may be granted. - Neither Rome, nor Christianity were build in a day - The best process will move in a slow, and sustainable manner. ***Important that the Pastor understands the possibilities from the start.*** LAYERS (AND SUB-LAYERS) OF SUPPORT GRANTED Exploration of the Issue What does research tell us? Do we believe the data (should have been answered in “AGREEMENT”)? Do we have data from our own parish? Do Response Models exist in other parishes, or other settings (e.g. education, healthcare) that may be applicable Developing a Proposal to Address the Issue May include hiring a consultant FYI: I have developed a process by which faith community can follow to discern how to respond Proposal should outline and answer 5 questions (3 questions) What is the intent and goal of the response? What support do parents of the parish need to effectively serve as 1 st teachers of the faith? What is the best way to respond to the needs: from INSIDE the Parish? (Staff & volunteers) from OUTSIDE the Parish? (Community programs, guest events) What is the ideal TIMELINE/PROCESS COMPLETION LINE? How will the impact be measured to ascertain effectiveness? e.g. Mass attendance, FF participation, giving, Happy-Meter The BEST proposal will have alternatives related to levels of involvement/intensity REMEMBER: THE PASTOR MAKES THE DECISIONS. It’s a PROPOSAL 1 st , and a PLAN 2 nd IMPLEMENTATION Proposals can be modified upon review (but be careful of time-consuming, over-modification) Implementation should think long-term, and be sustainable for the faith community. Must avoid burn-out You may only have 1 chance to do it right REMEMBER: THE PASTOR IS STILL IN CHARGE CAPACITY How are we called to respond? - “Go therefore…” - “Baptism is the Sacrament…” ***It is my belief that EVERY faith community has the capacity to respond. “ To each individual…” Talented people exist in your parish. This is an opportunity to bring them forward e.g. marketers, event planners, educators, writers, psychologists, IT professionals
  • EXTRAS OTHER –DEEPER- QUESTIONS MAYBE the Church needs to review what is mandated, and cut what is unnecessary? Are ski-trips really necessary? MAYBE the Church needs to reshape FF so that FAMILIES are spending more time together learning Faith? We have a call to educate parents as well. I PROPOSE your faith community evaluates the benefits of incorporating support for Parents as 1 st Teachers

First Teachers of the Faith First Teachers of the Faith Presentation Transcript

    • Preserve the Faith | Invest in the Future
    A Community Response
  • Jesus, Patient Persistence, & Invitation
  • Realities we deal with regarding Parents as 1 st Teachers
  • Levels of Involvement
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  • Jesus, Patient Persistence, & Invitation
  •  
  • The Reason
  • Death Resurrection Fulfillment Faith-Trust-Hope
  • Preserving the Faith | Investing in the Future
    • Is 8:23-9:3-1
    • First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles.
    •   Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
    • The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
    • You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils.
    • For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
  • All Are Welcome…. Aren’t They?
    • Which image are you drawn to?
    • Jesus Commands us that its all about Relationships
      • With God
      • With Others
  •  
    • Preserve the Faith | Invest in the Future
    A Community Response
  • Realities we deal with regarding Parents as 1 st Teachers
  • Good, Bad, or Ugly, they always will be.
    • Pope John Paul II
    • “ parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children .
    • Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.”
    Familiaris Consortio On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World
  • How Well Are They Doing?
  • “ Not knowing the Faith”
    • John Cavadini - “Ignorant Catholics” (Commonweal 2004)
      • 1 / 2 Number of natures in the Trinity
      • 1 / 3 guess at the number of Gospels
      • 1 / 4 Immaculate Conception ?
      • 1 / 5 knew what the Exodus referred to
    • John Cavadini - “Ignorant Catholics” (Commonweal 2004)
      • 1 / 2 Number of natures in the Trinity
      • 1 / 3 guess at the number of Gospels
      • 1 / 4 Immaculate Conception ?
      • 1 / 5 knew what the Exodus referred to
    • John Cavadini - “Ignorant Catholics” (Commonweal 2004)
      • 1 / 2 Number of natures in the Trinity
      • 1 / 3 guess at the number of Gospels
      • 1 / 4 Immaculate Conception ?
      • 1 / 5 knew what the Exodus referred to
    • John Cavadini - “Ignorant Catholics” (Commonweal 2004)
      • 1 / 2 Number of natures in the Trinity
      • 1 / 3 guess at the number of Gospels
      • 1 / 4 Immaculate Conception ?
      • 1 / 5 knew what the Exodus referred to
    • John Cavadini - “Ignorant Catholics” (Commonweal 2004)
      • 1 / 2 Number of natures in the Trinity
      • 1 / 3 guess at the number of Gospels
      • 1 / 4 Immaculate Conception ?
      • 1 / 5 knew what the Exodus referred to
  • … and more than just Catholic Life
  • Barna Group (2009) “ Childhood religious education is central to continued adult Faith” National Catholic Reporter 2005. “ Understanding the Faith, and agreeing with the tenets appear to be two quite separate processes.”
  • Effectiveness of parents is critical “ Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.”
  • Mass Attendance Knowing God Oldest Man in the Bible Lenten Fish Fry
    • Mass Attendance
    • Religious Life
    • Spreading the message and mission of Jesus
    • Mass Attendance
    • Religious Life
    • Anecdotal Stories
      • “ Free Babysitting”
      • “ The Church will do it… why should I?”
      • Single Mom working 2 jobs
      • Severe stress
    • Mass Attendance
      • “ try ” to go once a week
        • Remember the Sabbath
        • “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (MT 22: 37)
        • “ Source and Summit” (Lumen gentium, 11)
    • What happens when Mass attendance declines?
    • less $ collected for the mission of the church
    • The Church loses its presence in the community
    • Fewer people are nurtured in their faith
    • society pressures are harder to fight
    • don’t know what’s going on in the community
    • don’t see your friends
    • fewer people worshipping God.
    • Mass Attendance
    • Religious Life
    • Spreading the message and mission of Jesus
  • 1965 2010 % change Parish Priests 35,925 27,182 - 24.34% Religious Sisters 179,954 57,544 - 68.02% Religious Brothers 12,271 4,690 - 61.78% Lay Movement (3 rd Order) ? ? ? %
    • What happens when the number of people seeking religious life declines?
    • same amount of work done by fewer people
      • teachers, nurses, other professions
    • presence of the Church is less visible
    • combining parishes & closing parishes
      • less “personal” service
    • Mass Attendance
    • Religious Life
    • Spreading the message and mission of Jesus
    • There are people in your community that:
    • do not know that God loves them
    • do not know about salvation that Christ offers
    • feel hopeless
  • Mass Attendance Knowing God Oldest Man in the Bible Lenten Fish Fry
  •  
    • “ Every research topic starts with a question about an observation.”
    • Some kids don’t know how to pray.
    • parents don’t come to meetings.
    • I never see that family at Mass
    • Some kids don’t seem to care.
    • Why don’t my 2 nd graders know ?????
    • Are they even teaching their children?
    • Parents need to stay – not “Drop-off” kids
    • Wednesday night is ‘ Free Night’ for parents
  •  
    • “ Every research topic starts with a question about an observation.”
    • Some kids don’t know how to pray.
    • parents don’t come to meetings.
    • I never see that family at Mass
    • Some kids don’t seem to care.
    • Why don’t my 2 nd graders know ?????
    • Are they even teaching their children?
    • “ Drop-off” kids
    • Wednesday night is ‘ Free Night’ for parents
    • “ I don’t know my faith?”
    • “ What am I supposed to teach?”
    • “ I’m a Single Mom with two jobs doing the best I can.”
    • “ I don’t know how to talk to my teenager.”
    • “ We don’t have enough time to do this.”
    • Struggle & Anxiety
  • “ the subject of parents instructing their children in the faith was met with a universal theme; which spoke to the struggle and anxiety of parents and grandparents in passing on [the] faith to their children and grandchildren.” - “Not Easy, but Full of Meaning (91).” Bishops of England and Wales
  • More Often, and More of them
  •  
  • ?
    • Preserve the Faith | Invest in the Future
    A Community Response
  •  
  • Realities we deal with regarding Parents as 1 st Teachers
  • ?
  • Layers of Involvement
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  •  
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  • Ask the Right Questions
  • Agreement Capacity Support Exploration Develop Proposal Implementation "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (MT 28:19-20) "Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers". (CCC 1253) "To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.". (1 COR 12:7) Response of the Community
  • Roger Jay Schroeder email: [email_address] http://rohair.com