Thursday, 24 March 2011

School Confessions . . .

I've commented before on this topic I know, but I think it's worth repeating.

Last week and this I've been hearing Confessions in some of our local Catholic schools, both primary and secondary.

I always find this a great joy. It's so encouraging to hear the honest, direct Confessions of our children. We adults could certainly learn a thing or two from them about how to approach the sacrament.

There is however, one thing that affects my delight in this experience.

When chatting with our children whilst visiting schools, I am saddened by the number of times I hear them say, 'I couldn't come to Mass on Sunday because my Mum/Dad/parents didn't go' or, 'I couldn't come to Mass on Sunday because I was at a friend's sleep-over' or 'I couldn't come to Mass on Sunday because I had to go shopping/visit someone/go to football/rugby etc.' I hear this several times during the week.

Naturally, we wouldn't expect our young children to come to Mass on their own if their parents are not coming themselves. What sort of an example are these parents giving to their children?

Parents are the first and the best educators of their children in the ways of faith (as it clearly states in the Rite of Baptism).

Long before they start formal schooling, in many homes, parents are doing a grand job of passing on the faith to their children. They are saying prayers together at bedtime, sitting down together for meals which begin with grace and reading their children bible stories. During our Sunday Masses, I have observed many families engaging their children, explaining to them in simple terms what is happening during the Mass.

We can do so much to encourage our children in the practice and understanding of their faith. This is why it is all the more disappointing when it doesn't happen.