Why Do the Catholic Stuff?

by Matthew Fournier

This editorial was written in response to a simple question. "What do you think is important to creating a Catholic home? Why should parents bother?" I got more answer than I expected.

The season of Advent and Christmas is the beginning of the liturgical year, a good time for beginnings in our hearts and in our homes. This Advent heralds the beginning of the Great Jubilee, a call for renewal throughout the world. Now truly is the time to begin new traditions, revive old customs, begin a habit of prayer in the home, live the faith afresh.

If you needed more reason than that, them perhaps Matthew's words on the subject will convince you. They've convinced me.

Views From a Teenager

Some people think that going to church every Sunday is enough to teach the Catholic faith to their children. Some people think that Sunday school is enough. Some other people think that "that's what Catholic schools are for". Well, some people are morons.

I am a teenager. I am Catholic. And, I can't be sure until I get older and benefit from many other people's perspectives, but I strongly doubt my parents are morons.

Sure, they took us to church every Sunday. Sure they let us go to Sunday school, and religion classes. But did they stop there? Heck no. Assume nothing, my Mom says, and this was important enough that they weren't going to leave it to luck or chance or anyone else to do for them.

Prayers every night are a very big part of our life. A daily reminder that everyone in the family is still there and praying for you, too. Grace before meals, reminding us that, yes we're lucky to have it. Blessing the house every Epiphany, Jesse tree readings at Advent, St. Nicholas Day, feast days of our name saints and so on. These are the big things I remember that my parents did.

But it was really the little things that counted. I mean, if there was always a Bible on the coffee table at your house, wouldn't it have an effect? And they never left us 'in the dark' about anything. If we had a question, they'd answer it. If they couldn't answer it, they look for answers themselves and then tell us. And they didn't baby us, either. If it was a difficult question, they'd give us all the necessary information, then let us figure it out. The best learning is done by experience, you know. Then we'd talk about it.

And there was the discipline: no swearing, be polite, the "you can't have that" or listen to that song or watch that television program, the jokes, the family fun, the fights . . . it always showed that they were in charge, looking out for us, and that they thought being Catholic was important.

What did it all teach me? That not everybody's perfect. And it has to be realized. Some children need more discipline than others. Give it to 'em. Some need more love, some more food. Give it to 'em. But always hear both sides of the story. And never be too hasty. Jesus has waited 2000 years so far, you know.

And another thing. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Try to get that idealistic happy frolicing Catholic family, or whatever you dream of, but try not to expect it. Nobody ever has it that easy. They never will. Never lose hope.

On the other hand, my house has been pretty close to that image for my past 14 years, but maybe my parents improvised on me.

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